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  • Better Than Coupons: How To Save Money In Target

    December 23, 2008

    Everyone is tightening up their budgets these days and I am no exception. However I have a unique system for avoiding spending which I’m willing to share with you as a service to humanity.

    When I go into Target, but I really don’t want to spend any money, I get a cart. There are no guarantees in life, except for this:  If I push a wonky germy cart all over the store I will find nothing. Nothing. And then I will abandon the cart somewhere in housewares and then leave the store having not spent one dime (except for the regular coffee with room for cream and the petit vanilla scone at the in-store Starbucks – which is sustenance people, not spending per se.  And for the record per se means “true in circumstance” which means somewhat not true.)


    If I don’t get a cart, I will find everything I’ve ever been looking for, for 75% off.  So if you are in Target and you see someone making her way towards the registers with her arms overflowing and attempting to carry stuff on her head and you are wondering why she just doesn’t get a cart – that’s me working out the details on my new economic theory.


    Now you may be thinking, why not just stay home, why not just not go to Target.  Haven’t quite worked out that part either.


    1. Sarah at themommylogues says:

      When I go to Target and get a cart, I will undoubtedly toss in a few clearance items from here and there, that I forget I’m purchasing by the time I get to the register. “I put THAT in my cart?” “I thought THAT would be good for $4.98?”

      * * * *

      I know. Shopping is rife with “seemed like a good idea at the time” moments. In fact, my whole closet an example of those shopping moments. ~ AM

      December 23rd, 2008 at 9:59 am

    2. Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt says:


      Then why do I always have a cart and always end up spending too much money? 🙂

      December 23rd, 2008 at 9:59 am

    3. Julie at Elisharose says:

      Because Target is, well, it’s just Target. They have some secret electromagnetic device that pulls us in. We love Target. We NEED Target. So we go to Target. And I wished the cart thing worked for me. I seem to find something cart or no cart.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:01 am

    4. Ortizzle says:

      LOL. So true. The nearest supermarket to my home is a Walmart. I’ve tried going shopping on a full stomach so as not to buy *capricho* food items. But that doesn’t stop me from sidling over to the kitchen gadget aisle and thinking that my cutting boards really need replacing. Or if I could do with one more plastic storage bin that I have nowhere to store.

      Yes, it is very hard to keep from spending money at the discount stores. Because they ARE discount stores. The mall? No prob. Haven’t spent a dime there in years. This is also because I haven’t BEEN there in years. 🙂

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:13 am

    5. Kelly @ Love Well says:

      Yeah, the cart trick doesn’t work for me. I find something EVERY TIME I GO. Such is the siren call of the red bulls-eye.

      But here’s one thing I do: When shopping a sale or clearance rack at Target, I look for the price to end in 8 ($12.88, $3.68, you get the idea). If it doesn’t end with an 8, Target WILL be marking it down more in the future. The 8 is Target’s internal sign that this item has hit rock bottom.

      Maybe the world already knows this. I think here in Minnesota, which is Target HQ, it’s common knowledge. But I’m not sure it’s so well-known elsewhere.

      (Also? When I was shopping last week at T1, the very first Target in the country, the mothership as it were, I found an end cap full of Valentine’s stuff. Posted the picture on my blog. Coming soon to a store near you!)

      * * * *

      That “8” thing? I had no idea. That there is some good insider information sister. Thanks for passing that along. ~ AM

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:13 am

    6. Kay says:

      But it’s TARGET.. that’s why we go. I heart my Target! : )

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:15 am

    7. fern says:

      Such good, and timely, advice. My plan is to brave the snow and go to Target after work today. I have coupon for $10 off if I spend $100. So now, I must step into the snowfall, spend $100 (in order to save $10), with no cart, to ensure that I will find the best deals.

      Sounds good to me.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:52 am

    8. monica says:

      We could have a nice savings account if it weren’t for Super Target. Yeesh! Everything in there is “cute”, even the plungers I tell ya. It’s an addiction……….

      December 23rd, 2008 at 11:15 am

    9. NancysLostandFound says:

      Same thing happens to me at the grocery store. I go in to get just the items I need to make dinner that night so I think I don’t need a cart. Turns out chicken breasts are buy-one-get-one-free and cases of Coke Zero are two for $5. And it’s always the freezing cold stuff and extra heavy items that happen to be on sale, making my armload nothing but misery.

      As for Target, I can’t ever seem to get out of there without spending $100.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 11:59 am

    10. Heide says:

      So true, but for me it happens in KMart. Fortunately, I hate shopping, so I’m not tempted even to enter such stores unless I’m in desperate need of a lampshade or a cutlery tray.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    11. Joni says:

      My mother called that the SHOPPING CART THEORY. She used it in the 50s and 60s and it is fool proof! I’ve found it true also.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    12. Quirky says:

      How do you feel about the baskets? Because I’m a big fan of those little shopping baskets. Except that it usually means I’ll only want to buy big stuff, like a 50lb bag of dog food, or a bean bag chair.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    13. Jaime says:

      I have another strategy. Take my 2-year-old. By the time he tires of throwing items out of the cart, then you will quickly tire of trying to keep him in the cart and you will abandon the cart with or without any items in it and leave, vowing never to take said child to any store every again. I should be rich by the time he’s 4 or 5.

      On the other hand, when I really did need only a few items at the grocery last month, he walked docilely beside me and even helped me carry a box of cereal. I couldn’t carry much as I had to hold his hand, so I wasn’t tempted to buy anything not on my list!

      December 23rd, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    14. beth says:

      I’m sorry, I just got stuck at the point where you said “in-store Starbucks”. How…civilized! You’ve just confirmed that our Target is of the low-rent variety. Sometimes I suspect it’s really a K-Mart in drag.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    15. Happy Geek says:

      Thats a good tip.
      Another one. Move to Canada. No Targets to tempt you at all.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    16. Iota says:

      What about online shopping? How does the virtual cart fit into your theory?

      December 23rd, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    17. Kathy says:

      Ha! I don’t take a cart when I want to *force* myself to only buy the things I came for; if I cannot carry it in my arms or a basket, I am not allowed to buy it.

      That works sometimes.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    18. Beverlydru says:

      Glad to see your funny bone is working well today. This is my kind of tip.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    19. Carrie says:

      I used your logic in reverse today at Target. I didn’t know what to get my husband for Christmas so I purposefully decided NOT to get a cart or a basket. Lo and behold, within 15 minutes my arms were full of things I knew he wanted. I know I wouldn’t have found anything if I had used a cart. So, thanks!

      December 23rd, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    20. Becky says:

      Great advice. It helps that I’m done for the holidays. 🙂 Happy and merry!

      December 23rd, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    21. Kathy says:

      It’s a sound theory. It belongs with your blog entry about “chances are….” since the stats on this one is close to 100%.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    22. Susan says:

      I wish the cart/no cart theory worked for this shopaholic.

      No matter how I enter that store, I am always, always poorer as I leave.

      December 23rd, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    23. Amanda says:

      I like your style, lol… very clever way of thinking 🙂

      It’s always the way, when you want something you can never find it. When you don’t, you find it at every turn of the shopping centre…

      December 23rd, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    24. Larrisa says:

      LOL I’ve tried your therory of ecomomics too and have had the same results!
      What draws us in – it’s cleaner quieter folks are nicer than the “evil empire” Plus Target does have that snack bar with Starbucks… 🙂

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    25. Aleesha says:

      My girlfriends and I don’t call it the “hundred dollar store” for nothin’! 🙂

      December 23rd, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    26. Marian says:

      Apparently the in store Starbucks are known to some as “Stargetbucks”. Cute, but it works better printed than spoken. It doesn’t exactly roll off of the tongue.

      I firmly believe that someday someone will uncover the insidious truth about the mind-control devices embedded somehow into each and every red and white bulls-eye. (However!I went into Target tonight with a 3-item list and a 4 year old. I came out with the three items and ONLY the three items. Can I get a high five on that?!)

      December 24th, 2008 at 12:18 am

    27. Marian says:

      Oh! And the 4 year-old. I came out with the 4 year-old, too. Don’t want to alarm anyone unecessarily.

      December 24th, 2008 at 12:20 am

    28. Staci says:

      Lol. I am the same way with Wal-Mart and Costco. I’ll go in looking for 1 thing, just 1, and end up with no less then 10 extra items. And most of it will be from the clearance rack (from Wal-Mart).

      Keith says I’m dangerous that way.

      December 24th, 2008 at 9:41 am

    29. Jean Stockdale says:

      You may have cracked the code for turning this whole economic down turn around! Blessings.

      December 24th, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    30. Fiddledeedee says:

      THAT WAS YOU! Carrying armloads of Halloween costumes a couple of months ago. At 75% off, how could you pass up a deal on 124 costumes in assorted sizes and pieces. And I was envious.

      I’m afraid to venture out the day after Christmas. I cannot be trusted.

      December 24th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    31. Faerylandmom says:

      I think you’re onto something…

      December 26th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    32. thatgirl says:

      I’m that way at the grocery store. Have dented some cans in my time…

      December 28th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    33. Roxanne says:

      I am so glad to hear that I am not the only this happens to. Every single time I go into my favourite store without a cart I find everything I have ever wanted to pick up. When I go in with the cart – Nada. So now I plan, if I really want to just window shop I take a cart. If my savings account is in need of some draining then I don’t even make eye contact with any carts.

      So far it is working 🙂

      Hope you and yours have a wonderful new year.

      December 29th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    34. pendy says:

      Count your blessings. I live an hour away from the nearest Target…so sad.

      December 30th, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    35. Kara-Noel says:

      Found your blog while blog hopping. Ha… to funny… especially the last line. That is our strategy… we did a Crown Ministry class and that was great advice to save money… don’t go shopping, get catalogs or watch commercials… it works.

      December 31st, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    36. Christine says:

      That’s a very true statement! The best way for me to avoid spending money in Target is to just not walk in! Considering I have little to no willpower when it comes to the Big Red Bullseye, that strategy is rarely successful!

      January 2nd, 2009 at 1:33 pm

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