Managing Money

How to Save When Shopping Target Online

September 12, 2012

In just a few weeks my daughter, Lindsey, will be 21 years old.


That’s unbelievable to me.

Yesterday I bought a birthday present for her. I won’t say what I bought, because she sometimes reads the blog, but I can tell you that I bought it at Target and it cost $99.

I used a few simple online shopping techniques that I take advantage of regularly and was able to save over 29% on it.

Here are the details:

Step #1: Consider the way you pay.

Normally I pay for purchases with my PerkStreet debit card, which gives me 1% – 2% back on everything I buy. The PerkStreet debit card is a great source of found money for me. I just cashed in my perks for a $100 Target gift card, which I’ll use another time.

That brings the total in cash back perks we’ve earned from PerkStreet to $756 since September, 2010.

On this purchase, however, I used my Target Debit Card, which saves me 5% on every Target purchase, both in the store and online. While I’m not a fan of store credit cards, I do like my Target Debit Card, because it pulls the money from my checking account.

The Target Debit Card has other benefits too, like allowing you to designate a school to receive 1% of the purchase amounts you make with it. So this birthday present also earned my son’s high school a dollar.

Target Debit Card Savings on this purchase: $5

Step #2: Buy online and use a cash back site.

I’ve blogged often about how I’m a fan of using cash back sites when shopping online. It’s another great source of found money for me.

My favorite cash back site is Mr. Rebates, which gives 3% cash back at But another site I like and trust, Ebates, gives 4% cash back at, so I used it this time.

Both Mr. Rebates and Ebates are free to use. Better than free, in fact.

Mr. Rebates puts $5 in your account when you sign up and Ebates lets you choose a $10 gift card at signup. You have a choice of retailers for the free gift card and one of them is…guess who?…Target.

Cash Back Amount on this purchase: $3.96

Step #3: Take advantage of free shipping.

You might be thinking that the cash back for shopping online will be eaten up by shipping charges. Normally, that might be true at a store like Target, where you can walk in and skip the shipping charges.

But there are two ways to get free shipping at every day.

The first is Target’s “free shipping when you spend $50” category. Lots of items at Target online qualify for free shipping this way, including the one I purchased. But if the item I was buying hadn’t been eligible, my Target Debit Card would have qualified me for free shipping.

By the way, if you order something from and decide not to keep it, you can return it to the store, saving yourself return shipping.

Step #4: Look for a Gift Card Bonus

The item I bought has a free gift card with purchase promotion running right now. Target often runs these deals on things like electronics, vacuum cleaners, new or transferred prescriptions, and even makeup. The gift card will ship with my item.

This isn’t something you can count on every day, but Target does run them regularly enough that it pays to look for them.

Bonus Amount: $20

How It All Adds Up

By using these simple shopping techniques, I was able to save $28.96 – or 29% — on my $99 purchase. Even if the gift card promotion hadn’t been running, I would have saved $8.96, or 9%.

And there is absolutely no telling how much I saved by not stepping foot in Target when I didn’t need to. Can anyone else relate to that?

Note: This post contains referral links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

  1. These are terrific ways to shop and save. I haven’t looked into any cash back cards, but I think I’ll have to. I like earning rewards points that I use for cash rewards, but cash back sounds better. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  2. Wow — I didn’t know all of these Target savings tips! I always shop at Target, and now with diapers being a (huge!) necessity, I spend a ton of time in there. Will have to get the debit card, order online, and check out the rebates sites!

    1. Yes, they’re always looking at ways to recapture that loss tax revenue, Marie. But I still love shopping online for the convenience and savings. Sounds like you do too!

  3. Nice job on the nearly $30 savings! I’m a HUGE fan of online shopping with free shipping, because it not only saves you money (through cash-back online programs) but it ALSO eats up less of your time! It takes 5 minutes to order something online, but it takes 20 minutes to drive to the store and back. Saving time AND money, both, is a win-win.

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