If you’re a Target shopper, you know that the retail giant has some awesome deals. But not everything in Target’s aisles are bargains. In order to save money at Target, you need to know what to buy as well as what to skip.
GOBankingRates asked savings experts to reveal their own Target hacks that give customers the most bang for their bucks. Check out these 10 best and worst Target deals.
Related: 10 Best and Worst Deals at Walmart
10 Best Target Deals
Compared with other retailers, Target is a great place for affordable prices on your favorite and much-needed items. For example, a recent GOBankingRates.com study found that you could save more than $30 on back-to-school items by shopping at Target instead of Walmart. But school supplies aren’t the only good deals at Target — click through to see 10 other items you should buy at Target.
With its large selection of cosmetics, Target can help you look your best without breaking your wallet, said Jon Lal, CEO and founder of BeFrugal.com. At Target, “it’s easy to find quality makeup and hair products no matter what your budget,” he said. He added that Target allows you to combine manufacturer coupons with their own to maximize your savings.
2. Generic Pharmacy Items
We all know how expensive medicine can be, but Lal said one of the best Target deals is in the pharmacy. “Target has reportedly done very well during comparisons with pharmacy drug prices,” he said. “Their generic version consistently costs less than most other drugstore brands.” Feeling better yet?
3. Fan Gear
Want to score a great deal on your favorite team jersey, mug or backpack? You’ll find some of the best deals at Target, said Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert with Coupons.com. “For example, right now you can get a kid’s NFL jersey for $27.99,” she said.
4. Wedding Registry
“If you have the option to buy for a couple off of a Target wedding registry, do it,” said Pavini. It comes with perks for both the giver and receiver. After the event, newlyweds get a coupon for 15 percent off remaining items on their registry. Givers get free shipping on all orders of $25 or more and can take advantage of coupon codes like the one Coupons.com found for 20 percent off when you spend at least $100 on a wedding registry, said Pavini. Maybe it is better to give than receive after all.
Sometimes it seems as if wrapping your baby in dollar bills would be cheaper than using diapers. But shopping at Target might help, said Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNews.com. “Diapers are generally a good buy from Target, especially if the specific type that you need isn’t available for an Amazon Mom discount, which typically cuts 20 percent off,” she said. To get the best value, she suggested looking for promotions that snag a free $10-$25 gift card with your order.
6. Threshold Furniture and Home Accessories
Not all furniture is a great deal at Target, but the Threshold line is the exception, said Regina Conway, consumer expert with Slickdeals.net. One example she offered: Double gourd lamp bases at Target range from about $16-$40. Comparable designer lamps can run well over $200-$300. “While the items may not be an exact match, the quality and style of the Threshold brand is a great way to dress up your home without blowing the budget,” said Conway.
7. Name-Brand Baby Items and Formula
Babies require a lot of gear, and fortunately, moms and dads can find some of their best deals at Target, said Lori McDaniel of Offers.com. “Target carries Burt’s Bees organic cotton products, Aden & Anais, BOB strollers and more for less than you’ll usually find elsewhere,” she said.
And don’t forget the baby formula. “Enfamil almost always offers a $5 off coupon. And sometimes when you buy two containers at Target, you’ll get a $10 Target gift card,” said McDaniel.
8. Workout Clothes
Need to save money on your workout clothes so you can pay for the gym membership? Target deals will help. “Get the same high-quality workout clothes for less with Champion’s C9 line from Target,” said McDaniel. “You’ll save as much as 50 percent compared to the regular Champion line on items like leggings.”
9. Purses, Scarves and Wallets
Target savings also extend to accessories like purses and wallets. “For the trendsetter who always wants the latest style, purchasing accessories at Target is a smart investment,” said McDaniel. “Target has great designer knock-offs, and the quality is such that the items will hold up at least until the next trend crops up.”
10. Toilet Paper
If your tush likes the good stuff, Target is the place when there’s a sale, said Conway. “Over the past year, about 18 percent of Slickdeals Frontpage toilet paper deals have been from Target,” she said. Most recently, Charmin Ultra Soft Double Plus toilet paper rolls were featured, with the breakdown coming out to approximately 32 cents per roll. “The same paper at Walmart is about 84 cents a roll, and a comparable brand at Costco sold for 95 cents a roll,” she said.
Related: 10 Best and Worst Deals at Costco
10 Worst Deals at Target
Although Target has some great deals to offer, there are some purchases you should refrain from making. After all, avoiding bad buys is just as important to your bottom line as finding good Target deals. Here’s a list of 10 items you might want to steer clear of at this retailer.
“Target’s Chefmate Aluminum Set came in 12 out of 13 in a Consumer Reports test,” said Conway. “The cost may seem low at face value, but compromising on quality cookware can cost you in the long run by having to replace it.”
Instead, she advises consumers to look for coupon codes for higher-quality cookware sets, particularly around three-day holiday weekend or Black Friday sales.And McDaniel recommended Cooks.com or Macy’s for better quality cookware at comparable prices.
2. Big Furniture
When it comes to home furnishings, Target can be hit and miss. “You won’t find a lot of the big items like couches and dining room tables,” said Pavini.
Even if you do, it’s better to skip those items. “Shop sales at department stores or even at IKEA for better-quality furniture at similar or lower prices,” said McDaniel.
If you still read books the old-fashioned way, don’t look for literary deals at Target. You’re better off buying books from Amazon, said Conway. “For example, ‘The Girl on the Train’ will cost you $18.86 at Target, whereas its price point at Amazon ranges around $16, and the Kindle version will cost you under $8,” she said. So, maybe it’s time to trash the paper.
“Unless you’re opting for styles that are made for comfort, shoppers should probably avoid shoes at Target — especially when it comes to women’s heels and dress shoes,” said Sakraida. She said that is especially true for tight styles meant to be worn without socks. “It’s worth investing in natural leathers and better design quality, otherwise you’ll be left hobbling with blisters,” she said. Sakraida suggested checking shoes sales at places like 6pm.com.
5. Sporting Goods
Sure, you can find great fan gear at Target, but when it comes to hitting the court or field yourself, McDaniel said give Target a miss. “Better to go to a sporting goods store and use coupons. You’ll have higher-quality items, better sales and better selection,” she said.
With the exception of iPads during the Black Friday season, Target is not a great destination for electronics, said Sakraida. “Case in point: Over the past two months, less than 1 percent of the price-checked electronics deals that we posted on DealNews.com were sold by Target,” she said. “That means your chances of finding a good deal there are dismally low.” She advised visiting Dell, Amazon or an electronics specialty store instead.
Target doesn’t impress savings experts when it comes to many food items. “It’s smart to purchase many staples, like milk or meats, at a warehouse,” said McDaniel. “Costco often has prime meat for a great price, as well as packages of kids’ snacks for less.”
The one exception might be frozen foods. “Target has an extensive inventory of frozen foods, with frequent sales and discounts,” said Lal. “Even if the prices aren’t always the lowest available, the variety and quality of their offering is impressive.”
8. Jewelry and Watches
When it comes to shiny stuff, it might be better to spend your time shopping at another store. “You can often get jewelry with real metal and nicer watches with online coupons for the same price or slightly more,” said McDaniel. “Even trendy pieces are usually better purchased at a place like CharmingCharlie.com,” which has a huge selection and good prices.
Planning a party? Target might not be the spot to stock your bar. Instead, McDaniel said you’ll find better prices on alcohol, especially wine, at a warehouse. “Kirkland-brand wines at Costco often are made with grapes from known vineyards but bottled under the Kirkland brand,” she said. “You get a lot more for your money.”
10. Paper Towels
Need to clean up after the party? Don’t look to Target to help with the paper towels, said McDaniel. Instead, go back to the store that got you into this mess. “You’re better off buying paper towels at a warehouse like Costco or Sam’s Club,” she said.
Keep reading: 10 Best and Worst Deals at Whole Foods