Sunday, October 16, 2011

20 Days of Target Training

20 Days of Target Training

Here is where you will find all the links for the 20 Days of Target Training. I hope you learn something new, that will help you and your family save even more money.

1. Introduction
2. Basics of Shopping at Target
3. Where to find Target store coupons
4. Target coupon policy and couponing at Target
5. Deciphering your Target receipt

I will be add new links as they become available. This series will start Monday, October 10th and run through Friday, November 4th.

Target Training: Target Coupon Policy and Couponing at Target 10/13/11

Target Training: Target Coupon Policy and Couponing at Target


One of the best ways to save on everyday items is by using coupons at Target. The fact that Target will allow one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon on a single item, is what gives you the bigger savings. By combining the two coupons I was able to save big money on one of my most recent Target shopping trips. All of the items you see pictured above cost me only $2.90 (before tax), the total retail value of the items is $70.

Target not only release coupons for food and health & beauty items, but they also release coupons for toys, clothing and housewares. These type of coupons usually hit their print limit quicker than the grocery items, so if you see a coupon you are interested in, I would print it sooner rather than later.

In the shopping trip above I was able to use a toy coupons to get the Transformer for FREE, and clothing coupons to get a shirt for $ .74 and sweats for only $ .48. I combined the dollar off coupons with clothing I found at 75% off, which gave me more bang for my buck.

Target has their coupon policy posted online, so you can view the entire policy on their website. I recommend printing out the coupon policy and bringing it with you, there are times when the cashiers are uninformed and it is nice to have something to refer to.

Let’s go over a few of the specifics

• Target accepts one Manufacturer Coupon and one Target Coupon for the same item (unless prohibited by either coupon).

This is an important one, it is the rule that really saves you the most money. Combine those coupons!

• Item purchased must match the coupon description (brand, size, quantity, color, flavor, etc.).

You must follow the guidelines on the coupon. If a coupon says $1.00 off any Oral B floss, it can be used an ANY Oral B floss. Coupons usually have a photo on their coupons of the higher priced product, to make you think that you need to use it on that item. Just check the wording carefully to make sure you are using it on the proper item, size, etc and you hopefully you shouldn’t have any problems of the cashier accepting the coupon.

• Coupon amount may be reduced if it exceeds the value of the item after other discounts or coupons are applied.

This states that if the coupon amount exceeds the cost of the item you are buying, they may adjusted the coupon down to price to match the product. This does not always happen and there is a potential for overage (you won’t get money back). Sometimes you may even get a cashier that claims that they cannnot except a coupon because it is more than the cost of the item. Just politely point out the information on their coupon policy and hope fore the best.

• We can’t give cash back if the face value of a coupon is greater than the purchase value of the item.

This means that Target will not allow you to get cash back if your balance goes below zero. Like I mentioned above, Target will sometimes adjust the coupons down and other times they won’t. If there is a chance you may have overage than I would buy another item to absorb the potential overage. Let’s use the $8/2 Cover Girl coupon as an example:

You buy (2) Cover Girl Blush @ $3.74 (total = $7.54)
You use (1) $8/2 Cover Girl Face items coupon

If they coupon is adjusted down your total = $0
If they do not adjust the coupon down your total is – $ .46

If you don’t have any other items you are buying, you may want to buy something small to absorb the potential $ .46 in overage that the coupon will make.

• We do not accept Internet coupons for free items with no purchase requirements.

This rule is common for most stores. I don’t even bother printing out coupons for FREE items, they are just too hard to redeem.

buy one get one free coupons (BOGO):

Make sure you check their coupon policy regarding BOGO coupons, so you know what is and what isn’t acceptable.

Many of the Target store coupons say “Limit one coupon or offer per transaction”, which means you are only allowed to use ONE of the Target coupons on that specific item. This means that if something is on sale and it ends up being FREE with coupons, you will not be able to stock-up by using multiple Target coupons and multiple manufacturer coupons in one transaction. Lets use the Extra Gum coupons as an example:

Target has the Extra gum priced at $ .99 with the $1/2 Target store coupon and the $1/2 manufacturer coupon it makes 2 packages absolutely FREE! (love that!). Since, Target only allows one Target coupon per transaction you CANNOTpurchase the gum with the following scenario:

Buy (6) Extra Dessert Delights Gum $ .99
Use (3) $1/2 Target printable coupon +
Use (3) $1/2 coupon from 9/25 SmartSource insert
Final Price = 6 FREE

You CAN however do the following transactions, or come back at another time to use your second, third or fourth set of coupons:

Buy (2) Extra Dessert Delights Gum $ .99
Use $1/2 Target printable coupon +
Use $1/2 coupon from 9/25 SmartSource insert
Final Price = 2 FREE

Buy (4) Extra Dessert Delights Gum $ .99
Use $1/2 Target printable coupon +
Use (2) $1/2 coupon from 9/25 SmartSource insert
Final Price = $ .25 each

What I usually do, since I visit Target once a week is just save my coupons for another transaction. I have had people mention that their Target allows multiple Target coupons for the same item in one transaction, however I will not post scenario’s that require more than one Target coupon, because I want the deal to work for EVERYONE. I only use one coupon at a time, because that is what it states on the coupon.

Here is what I do to make it easy to remember what coupons I have and the deals I want to pick up when I visit Target on any give day. I have my normal coupon holders, but I also have individual clear plastic envelopes for certain stores. When I find a good deal with coupons that match up, I print the Target coupons from my computers and then I find the coordinating manufacturer coupons and add them all to my individual Target coupon envelope. I keep this in my purse at all times, this way if I make a quick stop at Target I will have the coupons handy. If we use the example of the gum that I mentioned above, I am able to pick up 2 packs of Extra Dessert Delights gum each time I stop at Target.

Do you find items out of stock? I find that Target does a fairly good job of re-stocking popular items. If an item is on sale, you can ask for a rain check, so you can use your coupons at a later date and still get the sale price. If an item is regular price no rain check it needed, just pick it up next time you see them in stock.

Every week on Monday I share the coupon match-ups for Target, so you will know exactly what coupons to combine to get the best deals. To keep up to date on the lastest Target deals and coupons, I would recommend liking Thrifty and Thriving on Facebook, this way you are able to see right away when hot new Target coupons have been posted on their site.

For more posts in the 20 Days of Target Training, click the image above.

Target Training: Where to find Target Store Coupons 10/12/11

Target Training: Where to find Target Store Coupons


You know that Target will allow you to use both a Target store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on each item you purchase. Today I am sharing all of the the places you should be able to find Target Store Coupons.

Target Website: This is probably the most common place to obtain Target store coupons, you can print them directly from You will usually be allowed to print 2 coupons per computer.

More times than not, Target will update and add new coupons on a Sunday morning. It seems to me that we get a large amount of new coupons every other week. I do my best to alert you when new Target printable coupons pop up. It’s important to print any clothing coupons right away, sometimes they only last about 24 hours before they have reached their print limit and they are taken down.

Sunday Inserts: You can occasionally find Target store coupons in the coupon inserts that come in the Sunday paper. Even though these are found in the coupon inserts, they still can be combined with a manufacturer coupon. You can tell if it a Target store coupon, because it will say “Target Coupon” at the top rather than manufacturer coupon.

Coupon Mailers: Target randomly sends out coupon mailers. Sadly, there is no magic Target coupon mailing list to sign up for, these appear to be sent at random. I have received a couple, but then I have also not gotten some when I know others did. The good news is, that a lot of times some of the coupons that are in these mailers usually end up on their website to print.

Coupons that Print at Checkout: Don’t ignore the coupons that the cashier hands you when you checkout, there can be some great coupons in there! Since these are Target store coupons they also can be combined with manufacturer coupons. I can remember when I received a Target coupon for a FREE Willy Wonka chocolate bar. SCORE!

Mobile Coupons: The Target Mobile coupons are considered store coupons. If you have text messaging on a web-enabled phone, you can sign up for Target mobile coupons. To use your mobile coupons, you pull them up on your phone at checkout, and have the cashier scan the barcode. If you have a hard time getting them to scan make sure you have your phone set on the brightest setting, they scan much easier this way.

Target mobile coupons are sent to your phone every other week, they usually arrive on a Saturday. If you deleted the text with the coupons, you can text the word OFFERS to 827438 and they will be sent to you again.

Mobile coupons can only be used once total, not once per transaction. If an offer has been redeemed it will show a message next to the item in red that says “Redeemed on 10/3/11″ (or whatever date you redeemed it).

Next up in the training: We will be going over their coupon policy, and how to get the best deals when using coupons at Target.

Target Training: Basics of Shopping Target 10/11/11

Target Training: Basics of Shopping Target


Today I am sharing the basics of shopping at Target, I will go into greater detail with the majority of the items on this list, but this will give you and overview of what you can expect when shopping at Target.

There are two different types of stores:

  • Target: These are the basic Target stores, many of these stores now have an expanded grocery department with some fresh meats and fruit, but they are not considered a Super Target.
  • Super Target: The Super Target stores have a full-fledged grocery store within the Target store. You will find a bakery, larger meat, dairy and frozen food departments. If your store is a Super Target, there will be a sign on the outside.

Prices: The prices at each Target will vary by region, in fact, the prices may even vary by city. I have 2 stores that are about 20 minutes from me, and I find that the one in Issaquah has slightly higher prices than the one in Kent.

Weekly Ad: Target puts out a weekly ad, which runs from Sunday-Saturday. You can view the Target weekly ad online. The ad is also delivered in the Sunday edition of most Sunday papers.

Price Cuts: Target will occasionally have unadvertised deals, these are “price cuts” that can sometimes last for several week. You can often find the date the price cut will end on the shelf tag. Price cuts may vary by location

Dollar Spot: Target has a dollar section that can usually be found right as you walk in the store. The majority of these items are only $1.00, however they do have a few items that are priced at $2.50. I personally just skip this section when I first come in, the items in the dollar section will still be there when it is time for me to checkout. I usually head to scope out the clearance deals first.

Coupons: Target accepts coupons, and it is a great way to save money, because they will allow you to use one Target coupon and one manufacturer coupon on each item. People have mentioned that they sometimes have problems redeeming coupons at Target. I do my best to find a cashier that is coupon friendly and I try to stick them with everytime. Likewise, if I find someone that always scrutinizes every one of my coupons I do my best to avoid their line.

Return Policy: Target has a very strict return policy, so you will want to make sure to keep your receipt. If you lose your receipt, you can ask them to do an item look-up and they can use the credit or debit card that you used to make your purchase. You can also ask for a gift receipt to make returns easy for those you buy gifts for.

Price Adjustments: If Target advertises a lower price either the same week or the week following your purchase, bring in your original sales receipt to Guest Services for an adjustment. Unfortunately, price adjustments are not made for clearance prices or prices.

Price Matching: Target will price match other stores ads, you will need to head over to the customer service desk in order to receive the price match. There are several exclusions to their price matching policy, and you can view them HERE.

Clearance: The clearance is my favorite part of Target. Each department clearances their items on a set day, the percentage of the markdown will range from 15%-75% off. Holiday and seasonal items get marked down as low as 90% off.

Scanners: The scanners are a great resource for checking prices, especially clearance items that may have been marked lower. Consider the scanners your Target BFF! If you scan an item and you get a message that says “Item not found” it usually means that the item had been clearanced and is no longer in their system. More times than not if you try to buy the item, the cashier will tell you that it has been salvaged and they cannot sell you the item.

5% off Everyday: You can save an extra 5% off all Target purchases when you use the Target Red Card or Target Debit Card

Reusable Bag Credit: Target will give you a $ .05 credit for each reusable bag you use.

Target Training: Introduction 10/10/11

Target Training: Introduction


Often, people will ask me what my favorite store is for saving money, and I always reply “Target”. In response to my devoted response, I frequently hear, “Target? I can never get out of that store without spending at least $100.” I will admit, if I shopped like a “normal” consumer my receipts from Target would be a lot bigger than they are because Target has some really cute stuff! But, as my husband likes to points out, I am not a “normal” shopper. (I am certain his characterization is a loving compliment.)

In any event, I have been bargain shopping and couponing at Target for a long time now, but I can still remember when I visited Target for the very first time. When the Federal Way, WA Target opened its doors over twenty years ago (across the street from where it is now) my love affair began. In fact, because my boyfriend had a job there, I actually got to shop at the store BEFORE it opened to the general public at a special “friends and family” event. Guess what? That boyfriend became my husband! Can you really blame me? The man got an employee discount! You don’t think I was going to let that get away, do you? (I mean my husband, not the employee discount…well, mostly).

Recently, I received an email from Faith that echoes how I feel about shopping at Target. Her email said, “I used to hate shopping at Target because I could never find any good deals. But, I realize now that I just wasn’t shopping the right way!” I don’t know that I have ever “hated” Target, but I will admit that I am much smarter about the way I shop at Target now than in the early years of my life, and it is true, to get the best deals, there is a “right way” to shop Target.

So, what is the secret to finding deals and not spending a lot of money at Target? Focus and discipline are the keys. You have to change the way you shop by concentrating your efforts. You must learn to go straight for those clearance racks and end-caps, that’s where the good stuff is. If you end up meandering through the store looking at all the bright and shiny new stuff they just brought in, you will probably end up with a full-priced comforter and matching pillow in your cart. I am not saying that getting the latest and the greatest stuff is necessarily a bad thing, but with a little discipline and training, you can usually find something just as amazing that has been marked down 50%, or maybe even 75% off!

I already share my weekly coupon match-ups with you every week, which is one great way you can save money. But in an effort to spread the Target joy, I will be introducing a new series that will help you learn some additional ways to stretch your dollars by shopping those clearance rack and thinking outside the box. Over the next month I will share some of the tips and tricks that will have you joining the Target fan club in no time. We will start at the very beginning and cover the basics for those that are new to coupon and bargain shopping at Target, and then we will move to more creative strategies. I will be focusing a lot on clearance shopping and teaching you the techniques for how to find and leverage the great deals. That is where you can save some serious money, and have fun doing it. You may even find yourself giddy and giggling after your Target trips as you leave the ranks of the “normal” shoppers, and join the ranks of the Target Talented.

Here is what is in store for the next four weeks:

20 Days of Target Training Series

  • Week One: We will go over the basics of Shopping at Target, Using Coupons, and how to decipher those crazy Target Receipts.
  • Week Two: We will learn about Price Matching, Price Adjustments, and everything you could ever want to know about Target Clearance.
  • Week Three: We will break down the clearance deals by each department and help you learn the days when things get marked down.
  • Week Four: This week will be lots of fun! I will be sharing information on the Dollar Spot and creative shopping ideas for several departments. Plus, I will share ways you can earn FREE Target gift cards.

I hope you will all join in! Whether your Target love affair is just beginning or you are a seasoned Target pro, the Target Training Series is sure to be a lot of fun! If you have any great Target tips I encourage you to share them. Of course, photos of your coupon deals are always welcome, so feel free to post them on the Thrifty and Thriving Facebook wall or email them to me. The Target Training Series is about to begin!

Target Training: Deciphering your Target Receipt 10/14

Target Training: Deciphering your Target Receipt


The Target receipts can be a little confusing! They don’t seem to consistently have the same pattern when you use a manufacturer coupon, some times is shows up underneath the item you bought and then other times all the manufacturer coupons will show up at the bottom of your receipt. Here are a few examples of some Target receipts.

Whenever you see an item with an arrow next to it, it means that this is a sale price, you will often see an arrow next to holiday markdowns as well. The holiday and seasonal markdowns are usually the ones that don’t have an individual red clearance sticker on them, they usually just have a sign announcing they are 50% or 75% off (these are usually the Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc type clearance).


  • If you buy several of the exact same item, you will find the total for all those items on the right hand side of the receipt
  • Notice, the total for the Oral B floss was $1.94 (just underneath you will see the individual cost, in this case is 2 @ $ .97)
  • The 2 blush items I bought are not totaled together, because I bought 2 different shades.

Sale Items:

  • You can see that I bough 2 packages of Skittles at $2.00
  • The receipt shows a total of $4.00
  • The receipt also shows the amount I saved from regular prices (in this case $1.18 off two)

Target Store Coupons:

  • The Target store coupons are usually deducted just under the item you purchased
  • It will adjust the price of the item to what the total would be after the Target coupon is applied
  • You can see in the receipt at the top, I bought Target tissue at $ .99, the total shows $ .49, because I used a $ .50/1 Target coupon
  • If you are to return an item you bought with a Target coupon, you will receive the adjusted price back (in the case of the tissue $ .49)

Manufacturer Coupons:

  • The decuctions for the manufacturer coupons will usually end up at the bottom of your receipt (you can see all the coupons that were deducted at the bottom of the receipt at the very top of this post).

  • Other times, you will find the manufacturer coupon is deducted just under the product you purchased, and not at the bottom of the recipt. (I have no idea why this isn’t consistent, why sometimes it’s under the item you buy and other times it is all at the bottom of your receipt).
Items that have a FREE Target gift Card:
  • The section on your receipt will be titled “Special Promotion”
  • The total of these items will be reduced by the cost of the FREE gift card
  • They add in the price of the gift card when they scan it & then it gets subtracted off
  • All items must be returned for a FULL refund (including the gift card)
  • If you return an item without the gift card, your refund will be adjusted down to the price you paid minus the gift card
Holiday/Seasonal Clearance items:
  • The discounted price will show up on the right hand side
  • You will see the amount you saved and the regular price under neath


  • Try to watch as you checkout, if things aren’t ringing up properly or the coupons are being deducted at the correct amount, politely point it out to the cashier.
  • Have patience! I know this isn’t always easy when the person behind you is “huffing and puffing” or the cashier isn’t very knowledgeable.
  • If they say they can’t accept a coupon for a certain reason and you were only buying the item because it was a great deal, have them take it off your order (I have no problem removing items that are not a good deal!)
  • If you can’t keep an eye on things at the checkout, check your receipt before you leave.
  • If you are done checking out and there was a mistake, you will need to go to the customer service counter to have it fixed.
  • Sometimes, if it’s a small mistake, I just let it go. It’s not worth 5-10 minutes of frustration just to save an extra buck.

courage quote

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, Ill try again tomorrow. - Anonymous

Friday, October 14, 2011

Some great artist quotes 10/14/2011

"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere." --Gilbert K. Chesterton

"Discipline in art is a fundamental struggle to understand oneself, as much as to understand what one is drawing." --Henry Moore

"In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing." --Vincent Van Gogh

"Creativity takes courage."--Henri Matisse

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."--Michelangelo

"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."--Michelangelo

"Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment."-- Claude Monet

"Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches." --Andy Warhol

Customer Friendly Descriptions

Writing 101: Customer-Friendly Descriptions

Tara Gentile is a business coach and blogger serving passion-driven entrepreneurs and artists of all sorts with fresh ideas about productivity, passion, and profit. She’s the author of the digital guide, The Art of Earning. Today Tara shares tips with us to help us make the right connection with our buyers in our item descriptions.

Item descriptions are a great exercise in selling psychology. You see, there are two very different mindsets at work when one considers an item description:

Example A: The Maker

When a maker considers an object, she describes its specifications (width, height, weight), its materials, and its use. She is communicating what she considers are the most important features about the object. These are the things she touched and manipulated as part of the creative process.

Example B: The Customer

When a customer considers an object, she contemplates what that object will mean in her life. She ponders how it will affect her mood, her decisions and her environment. It’s not so much an object, widget or product as it is a catalyst for a changed (even if ever so small) experience.

When you put these mindsets side by side, it’s no wonder makers have a difficult time writing item descriptions that make customers want to buy their products. Their priorities are completely different.

It’s hard to think like a customer. But it can be done! Let’s consider this quote from Roberto Verganti’s book Design-Driven Innovation:

“People do not buy products, but meanings. People use things for profound emotional, psychological, and sociocultural reasons, as well as utilitarian ones… Look beyond features, functions, and performance and understand the real meanings users give to things. “

First, start talking to your customers. Don’t just find out if they love what they bought. Don’t just ask for positive feedback. Don’t just ensure their order was processed sufficiently. Talk to your customers about how they’re actually using your product and — most importantly — why that matters to them.

If you make jewelry, you might find out that your best-selling pair of earrings is most popular because they’re the perfect long-but-not-too-long size for petite women. That means they don’t have to try on several pairs in the morning and instead are out the door faster and feeling sassy to boot! If you create lamps, you might find out that the shade you carefully craft casts a light that makes reading peaceful and relaxing. That means the owner associates the pleasure of reading with the act of turning on the lamp.

Next, translate your customer experience into the before and after.

Your product changes things for people. When they use, display, or wear what you make, their reality shifts. Try to capture that when writing an item description.

For instance, consider your customer’s life before they buy one of your products — let’s say an artisan iPhone dock. Despite her best efforts, her iPhone was rarely charged. She’d run out of batteries half way through a mad tweeting rush at an important conference. But along came your artisan iPhone dock.

She sat the dock on his bookshelf alongside his Kerouac and Fitzgerald. She admired it every time he walked in the room. And thus she regularly charged her iPhone.

These are the kind of sentiments — a little before and after story — that make a convincing description for that artisan iPhone dock. It tells the customer that you understand she goes to tech conferences, that books are important to her, and that, well, she’s a tad forgetful. By discussing your customer’s life, you create a real sense of how a new buyer will experience your product in a way that is valuable to her.

Item descriptions aren’t just a way to stroke your maker’s ego by listing process, technique, and material. Your customers care much less about dimensions and specifications than they do about how your product will enhance their life. Make sure you focus on what’s valuable to the customer.

Download her accompanying worksheet to start writing for success!

More Writing Tips | Seller Handbook