How to Get the Most Out of Your Target Run

I go to Target every single day. Just about. So I know how to get the most out of my Target run. It’s information that, for me, has been borne of daily necessity. My Target runs—as I suspect is not uncommon—are almost like heist movies: get in, get the product, and get out. I maximize efficiencies. Usually, that’s because my day is already full.

Tips To Help You on Your Target Run

But I’m also not blind to the fact that the process is incredibly inefficient. Like I said, I go to Target almost every day. Think of all the time I waste commuting back and forth. That’s time that could be spent doing something else if I just happened to plan a little better.

Planning isn’t my strong suit. I know that. That’s why I’ve adopted my Target run strategy to my personality. That’s why I can help you (hopefully) get the most out of your Target run. You see, I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks.

Know What You Need

Retail is designed to do one thing: persuade you to buy stuff. Often, retailers are trying to make you buy things you don’t really need. Even the design of the store is tailored for this purpose. (In order to get what you need, you have to walk past all kinds of things that you don’t need.)

That’s why it’s so important that you know what you need to buy. The more you’re lured off track by this do-dad or that, the longer your Target run will take—and the more money you will likely spend.

There are several ways to “know what you need:”

  • Make a shopping list before every excursion to the store
  • Keep a mental list—keep in mind, however, that this method inevitably leads to mistakes (you can only juggle so many things)
  • Have a regular shopping day for each type of item you purchase (for example, Monday is Milk day)
  • Maintain a standard route—only go to those areas where you need to

Know Your Target’s Layout

There’s definitely something to be said for knowing the lay of the land. I go to the same Target every time. It’s a little mind-numbing, I assure you, but there’s an advantage: I know exactly where the milk is. I know where the bread is. I know exactly the aisles I need to go down.

I’ll admit, there are some products that still throw me for a loop (vinegar, for example—I can never find the vinegar). But mostly I’m able to zip about to those places I need to be. The better I know the area, the easier it is to zip, the faster I’m in and out.

See? Efficiency.

Use Cartwheel and Your Target Card

I know I’m sounding like one of the cashiers that you end up talking to every time at Target as you check out. I promise I’m not trying to get you to sign up for a Red card. That said, Target does offer a couple of ways to spend money that, if you’re already shopping there, can be useful.

Target offers a debit card that, when you use it, takes 5% off of all your purchases. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I literally save hundred of dollars a year because of it (this tells me I spend too much money at Target). Cartwheel, Target’s proprietary coupon app, can also help you save money.

The downside is that you end up feeling tethered to a specific store. You might feel compelled to go to Target more often because you have that stupid debit card (seriously, though, it saves you money). That said, Target is not the only retailer that offers such incentives. You can definitely shop around for the one that suits you best.

Get What You Can

Not every Target run is going to be perfect. There are plenty of other ways you can save money or increase efficiency, depending on what your overall goal is. Ultimately, it will depend on the kind of shopper you want to be. If you want to run in and run out (like I do), these tips and tricks might help you.

If you’re a more deliberate shopper, you might find more helpful advice elsewhere. After all, every Target run is going to be different, because every Target shopper will have his or her own unique goals. To find out what yours are, you just might have to go on a few Target runs yourself. Only then, when you have become a master, will you be able to get the most out of your Target run.

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