Target Food Shopping Hacks That Will Change Your Life

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It seems like every time someone says they're going to Target just to buy trash bags or a new candle for the bathroom, they end up leaving with $250 worth of things they didn't actually need, but so desperately wanted. Because truly, how can you go to Target and not stop by the beauty section, or walk down the wine aisle? It's also so easy to pick up the cute pair of pajamas that are just $20, and of course, the fuzzy socks that just have to be paired with it.

If you're something of a foodie, then you'll know that some of the most dangerous aisles in Target are in the food section. Gone is any kind of self-control when there are aisles and aisles of snacks and tasty treats, along with your favorite flavor of LaCroix. And for those of us that are 21 and older, you know full well that the wide selection of wine and beer is too good to be true.

But the problem with such an enticing food section is the risk of running up the costs. What can seem like a couple of dollars here and there can add up in no time, and all of the sudden, you've blown your budget for the month. So we did some digging and found the tips and tricks you need to shop at Target on a budget. Here are the Target food shopping hacks that will change your life.

Go grocery shopping at Target on Tuesdays, you'll thank us later

If you're looking for a surefire way to save money on Target groceries, and don't mind moving your work schedule around, then you absolutely have to go to Target on Tuesdays. As noted by the blog Ice Cream and Neon Dreams, Target uses different days of the week to promote their deals and discounts, and Tuesday is for groceries in particular. 

When you see any kind of sign that says that "The Market" has discounts at Target, the store is referring to the grocery section; there you'll be able to get some of your favorite products, fresh foods, and snacks at a lower cost. Want another Target Tuesday hack? As noted by Eat This, Not That, Target also receives their fresh food shipments on Tuesdays, so if you run into the store for your weekly necessities, it's likely that you'll be able to get discounts on food and get some of the freshest produce around. And of course, if you just had to pick up that great dish ware set and a couple of new wine glasses to go with your discounted food scores, we certainly won't judge you.

Target RedCard will save you money on your groceries

There are a bunch of ways to save money at Target, but one of the best ways to get your groceries on a discount is to get the Target RedCard. Unlike other stores that require you to have a credit card, the Target RedCard has credit and debit options, and there are a lot of perks. For one, if you get the RedCard, you'll save five percent on everyday Target items in-store and online. There's no annual fee, free two-day shipping, and a lot of exclusive deals. If you opt for the debit card option, it links to your already existing checking account, so there's no need to open any kind of new account or remember any more bank details. 

Want more perks? You can save an additional five percent on clearance prices — think of all those Christmas cookies that go on sale after the holiday, for example — and you can also save if you get your items delivered to your car. 

So what does all this mean for grocery savings? As noted by The Krazy Coupon Lady, the math is pretty simple: if you're grocery shopping for a family of four and you spent $200 a month on groceries, with the RedCard, you'd save $10 a month — so $120 a year! You can also stack the five percent savings with other coupons for additional grocery savings. Remember, every little penny adds up.

Buy these at Target so you can save money and skip the Starbucks line

With so many Targets having in-store Starbucks locations, it makes stopping by and grabbing a chai or a Frappuccino that much more enticing. But as many big coffee drinkers will tell you, the $5 you spend here and there on a cup of coffee can add up like no one's business. Luckily, there are a couple of Target hacks that can help you out if you're one of those people who spends $25 on coffee a week. 

When you go into the Target grocery section (on a Tuesday, don't forget), start by looking for some of these coffee options. The organic Chameleon Cold Brew is an excellent option to keep in your fridge at home, and it's got such a caffeine kick that you really won't need much to get your day going. If you're more of a flavored coffee drinker, try treating yourself to a bottle of Califia Farms' Salted Caramel Flavored Cold Brew; who knows, you might even like it more than a Starbucks drink. 

But if you really can't kick the Starbucks habit, which we definitely understand, then sign up for the Target RedCard and start saving five percent on all in-store Starbucks purchases. If you're really drinking that much coffee, then the little savings here and there will really add up.

Double up on coupons and try this hack to save big at Target

We've all heard stories of the people who save every single scrap of a coupon they find, and end up saving so much money that the store has to give them cash back (but also look at those people thriving). So while you may not have that level of coupon savvy, there are a couple of hacks you should know about that makes doubling up on savings a little easier at Target. 

First of all, you can use coupons on top of your Target RedCard savings, so add whatever the coupon is saving you to the five percent you're already saving by having the Target RedCard for credit or debit. Secondly, as noted by Eat This, Not That, "Target releases weekly deals on various goods, including significant savings in groceries. On top of this, Target also honors manufacturer coupons paired with their own, so if you score the right product, it's basically free." Great — get your free groceries, we love to see it. 

So whether you're an online coupon person, or you follow in your mom's footsteps and cut coupons out of the newspaper with scissors (but is anyone honestly still doing that?), the savings on your weekly grocery trips are waiting for you.

Go to Target the day after Halloween to score on seasonal discount candy

There's nothing more enticing than Target at the holidays. That special, seasonal section in the corner of the store seems to be overflowing with every holiday thing you'll need — from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to Hanukkah to everything in between, you can be assured that Target will have your back. And while we completely understand that there are few things in life that are more exciting than the Halloween candy section at Target, really try to resist purchasing everything in sight until after the holiday. Yes, after. 

According to USA Today, experts said that the best time of year to snag your Halloween candy is after the big day, because retailers (like Target) will typically slash the prices by 50 to 80 percent in order to clear out their inventory. At Target specifically, shoppers can qualify for buy one, get one 25 percent off deals on all of your favorite treats, like Butterfinger, Hershey's, Twix, KitKat... ok, stop us from listing all the candy in the world. But you can pair bulk bags of your favorite sweets and save big time. So use this as a test. Implore your strength, and wait until November 1st to satisfy your sweet tooth and your bank account.

Don't speed past the end caps of the aisles at Target

Some people know their local Target stores so well that they know precisely where every item is located, what the best roadmap is to follow in the store, and how to make the best use their time. For the rest of us though, Target can be the best place to just wander around in. And when you take your time, you most likely will realize that some of the best grocery deals are located in the aisle caps (the shelves located at the end of each row of endless snacks and candy). 

Unlike the grocery merchandise that is packed on the standard shelves at the going rate, most of the items in the aisle caps at Target are discounted; and after you read this next sentence, you'll always stop and see what's included on those tiny shelves. As noted by Eat This, Not That, Target starts slashing their grocery prices in small increments. They start at cutting the price by 15 percent, and then for some items, they'll slash the cost by as much as 90 percent at final sale. 

Most of us have probably sped past the aisle caps to get to the good stuff, but with grocery savings of up to 90 percent off available, it's no wonder that we'll be taking a little bit more time to see what snacks we could be saving big on.

Did you know that Target price matches?

Target price matches. Yep. It's not a widely-known thing, but Target does honor lower prices. Basically, Target will "match the price if you buy a qualifying item at Target, then find the identical item for less at, select online competitors, or in Target's or competitor's local print ad." 

And here is another hack within the hack that you have to know. If you purchase a grocery item at Target, and within two weeks of purchase you see the exact same item at a lower price somewhere else, you can go back to Target and they will price match it retroactively! All you have to do is bring in proof and they'll adjust your payment — so don't mind us while we go through everything we've purchased at Target for the last two weeks to see where we can save a couple bucks. 

Target does have the right to look at any competitor's advertised price and availability, and if the store can't verify the lower price, they can refuse the price match. Another little thing to be aware of when it comes to these hacks: items with alcohol in them can be subjected to varying state regulations. Additionally, "alcohol price matching is not allowed for online exclusive retailers (e.g., Amazon)." But bust out your phone and start looking at identical items elsewhere, because you can instantly start saving.

Keep an eye out for the sticker coupons on Target's meat products

It can be really easy to not put a lot of effort into grocery shopping. Sometimes, we just want to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, with the mentality of "who cares, it's just a couple extra dollars in spending." Well, those couple of extra dollars can add up big time in the long run. 

To that end, another Target grocery hack you have to know has to do with the meat department. According to Sunny Sweet Days, Target will include red or orange stickers on the meat cuts in the store that can save you between $1 and $5 on your favorite items. It's a great way to save, especially if for some reason, you have to buy in bulk. All you have to do is make sure that your cashier takes the sticker off the packaging and scans the coupons into the system — a piece of cake way to save money. 

So what's with the discounted meat? Don't worry, it 's not for any questionable reason. Target discounts its meat products when they need to sell the inventory quickly. As noted by Eat This, Not That, it's a tactic that helps Target avoid waste and stops the store from losing profits. So next time you have a summer barbecue or are having the whole family over for dinner, this is the hack for you.

Sign up for Target Circle and start saving immediately

We know what you're thinking — you don't want to sign up for yet another store rewards program. There are so many, and you get so many unnecessary emails from them. It's also hard to keep track of what program goes with what store. But believe us, you'll want to sign up for Target Circle. If getting a credit or debit card through Target is not for you, then Target Circle is your best option. You earn one percent off when you shop at Target, and as a Circle member, you get access to a bunch of exclusive deals that can really help you save on groceries. 

Here are just a few examples of what savings are in store for you when you use this hack: 15 percent off Chameleon Cold Brew Pumpkin Spice, 40 percent off snap peas, 20 percent off Starbucks Espresso, and 25 percent off California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas. Like come on, who wouldn't want to take advantage of this hack? Plus, you get 5 percent off your shopping trip on your birthday, so go to Target on your big day and buy yourself some cake. 

So how does it all work? All you have to do is sign up for a account. Once you're in the store, just type your phone number in, it's that simple. So get saving, what are you waiting for?

This sneaky advertising trick can make you spend more at Target

We've all walked down the candy or cereal aisle at Target to pick up our go-to after-dinner treat or morning meal, and spotted the "2 for $4" tag. So naturally, we pick up two (or sometimes four) of the same product to take advantage of the deal. Of course, the problem with this is that we end up with twice as much Rice Crispies as we need, and way more candy than we know what to do with. But there's a hack that you absolutely have to know when trying to take advantage of the grocery deals at Target. 

Don't fall for the "2 for $4" deal — all you have to do is buy one of the products, and you'll get it at the discounted rate. Literally how did we not know this until now? To think we could've been saving money all this time and not overeating candy bars. 

Thanks to The Krazy Coupon Lady, we're now aware of the differences in the these tags and what you need to look out for. "There are two kinds of price cuts, and they're both marked with yellow tags," she advised. "While permanent-price-cut items will retain their lower cost, temporary price cuts won't and will go back up in price within 14 days." So make sure you're taking advantage of these savings!

Bring your own grocery bags to Target and start saving money

By this point, you know pretty much all the Target grocery hacks — coupons, the Target RedCard, grocery shop on Tuesdays — you're an expert. You also know some of the sneaky ways that Target gets you to spend more money. But here's the reality of buying from a bulk store and the impact it has on the environment. Every time we go to Target to buy groceries, we often get a plastic bag to carry our products out of the store. But here's the thing: according to Biological Diversity, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, with the average family using about 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. Only about one percent of those bags are recycled, and about 80 percent of the ocean's plastic comes from land. 

Fortunately, our hacks to save money here and there at Target can extend to saving the earth; Target has a small incentive for those who wish to bring their own bags. Every time you go to Target and bring your own grocery bags, you'll get five cents off your total purchase. Yes, it's not a lot, but not only is it five cents more than you had before, your effort to bring a reusable bag can make a world of difference for the environment. So save money, get your groceries on a budget, and bring reusable grocery bags — it's a small step we can all do.