I recently posted this Instagram photo following a trip to Target. I've known for quite some time that females of all ages, and even males, succumb time and time again to the wonders of Target aisles. You only need new mascara? That’s nice, but except to walk out $60 poorer without mascara, because that’s what Target does to your brain.
I believe we all have the power to buck this trend. Here are some tips on how to successfully navigate your Target experience:
- Don’t you dare take a cart or one of those pesky shopping baskets. Those are DANGEROUS. By limiting yourself to purchasing only what your hands/arms/body can hold, you will be forced at some point to put down that nail polish simply because you have no other limbs to hold it. If your shopping list demands that you need a cart (i.e. you need Kleenex, toilet paper, and a complete restock of the shower/makeup necessities), you’re screwed. And that’s okay. Just accept it.
- Be cautious in the Dollar Spot section at the beginning of the store. Some of this stuff is absolute junk. Don’t buy it. But some items, like $1 thank you cards, will save you money in the long run. We all buy excess cards/stationery that fill our desk drawers, but it’s better to only spend $1 than $5 in an aisle just 100 feet away! Also be cautious of some items that may be $2 or $3. Target has started to throw these items into the fray – so just be aware of the price tags when browsing.
- Don’t walk around the whole store. It’s one thing to end up with an extra $6 necklace or $4 lip gloss, but navigating down the home furnishings or book aisle will quickly add to your bill. Target stores are functional in the way that the layout is predictable. You can easily avoid “trouble spots” by avoiding entire sections of the store altogether.
- Avoid the dressing rooms. By refusing to try anything on, you avoid purchasing unnecessary clothing. I've never shared the philosophy of “buy it, try it on later” so this is an easy way for me to save some dollar bills.
- Focus on the end-caps. This is where you can save some big bucks – or spend $10 on things you really don’t need, depending on the way you look at it. My two favorite end-caps (this may vary depending on your store) are located in the school supply and makeup section. These end-caps do not face the main aisles, but the back wall. So if you’re in the school supply section, go towards the wrapping paper wall and you’re bound to find some solid clearance end-caps. The discounted makeup end-cap generally faces the massive nail polish wall. Here’s an example.
- What day is it? Target has a markdown schedule so keep an eye out for those red stickers! Generally speaking, clearance prices will end in either a 4 or an 8 (i.e. $1.98). According to All Things Target (seriously – who knew such a site existed?!), this is the latest rundown:
|Photo credit: All Things Target.|
- Monday – Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby & Stationery.
- Tuesday – Domestics, Women’s Clothing, Pets and Market.
- Wednesday – Men’s Clothing, Health and Beauty, Lawn and Garden.
- Thursday – Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Décor and Luggage.
- Friday – Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware and Jewelry.
These tips may be helpful when you’re really looking to stick to your list, but let’s be honest, you’re going to cave from time-to-time and that’s okay! The great thing about Target is that we love shopping there. Browsing aisles at Target is never stressful to me and it shouldn’t be stressful for you either! So although it’s good to stick to our budgets and our shopping lists, enjoy the moments when Target sweeps you off your feet. Just avoid purchasing lattes at the in-store Starbucks, going home, setting the latte down while you marvel at your purchases … only to rediscover the cold latte hours later. Or does that just happen to me?