One of my best frugal shopping strategies is clearance shopping at Target. I almost never pay retail at Target. After only paying 25% of the original price a few times, paying full retail is just….well, not frugal.
My family laughs at my adept skill at finding the best bargains at Target. They can laugh all they want. When I tell you about my shopping trip earlier this week, you too will be a believer in Target clearance shopping.
But first, a disclaimer. To make Target clearance shopping truly frugal, you have to abide by three rules.
Now that we have the rules out of the way, lets get on to shopping.
Wednesday I stopped by my local Target to pick up some Folgers Simply Smooth coffee. No, it wasn’t on clearance, but it’s the only brand of coffee that doesn’t make me sick. And I did have a coupon. And it was on sale. Anyway…
I put the coffee in my cart and started browsing the perimeter of the store. The outside endcaps are usually where the best deals are located. I looked at the shampoos and makeup, but didn’t find anything priced for less than what I normally pay.
Then I hit electronics. I found a lot of great stuff there, but I didn’t put anything in my cart. I didn’t need any of it, and I had no immediate plans to buy the things I saw. I moved on to automotive. Normally I don’t find anything there, but I hit the jackpot on Wednesday. There were tons of NASCAR things on sale. I picked up several stickers, decals, and flags. Sam’s birthday is next month, and he wants a NASCAR party. The little gift bags are taken care of, and I spent less than $5 total.
I scored my best deals in the garden section. Everything was marked down. I bought 4 big planters for $1.24 each. I want to plant a big garden next summer, and these will come in handy. I didn’t need them, but I did have future plans to buy them.
And my big purchase of the day? I found a gas grill on clearance for $30. Before I put it in my cart, I called my husband to get his opinion. It’s always a good idea to consult your spouse before making a major purchase. Often this will confirm whether the purchase is a good idea, or it will serve as a reality check that maybe this purchase is a want rather than a need.
In this case, my husband agreed to the purchase. Our old charcoal grill is getting, well, old. We’ve been talking about making the switch to gas for a while. In this case it made sense to spend $30 now, rather than wait until next summer and spend over $100 (the original price of the grill).
Finally, I picked up some Speedo goggles for my son. He’s been complaining that his eyes hurt when he swims, and at $2.24 the price was right.
In the end I spent $55.33. When I added up the full retail prices, the total came to $213.24. I paid 26% of full retail (and that’s including that can of coffee that wasn’t on clearance). My shopping trip was successful for several reasons.
I don’t always have such great shopping trips at Target. In fact, most of the time I walk out of the store with nothing. But it’s worth it to keep checking back, because of weeks like this one. Bargains can be had, but you have to be patient and persistent.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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