I wouldn’t say that Target Toy Clearance is my greatest joy.
Obviously, my greatest joys are my husband and three wonderful children.
My second greatest joy is Target Toy Clearance.
The feeling of anticipation as you approach the toy aisles. The exhilaration when you find the toy your child has been begging for at a fraction of the price. The sense of satisfaction as you check off one special occasion after another: birthday, Christmas, Arbor Day, you’ve got gifts for them all! The feeling of preparedness as you stock a few more great deals into your gift closest. The knowledge that you were able to stretch your money and save for whatever needs saving (Disney, a house, a car, a car and a house at Disney) while still providing gifts to the special small humans in your life. Ahhhhhh, is there a greater collection of feelings? Target Toy Clearance, you guys.
And guess what? By this time next week, we will be IN IT. I can hardly wait.
For those of you who are new to my second greatest joy, here’s the sitch: a few times a year, stores clearance specific lines of merchandise to make way for new product. Target does this with their toys twice a year. Once in January, to get rid of all toys from last Christmas, and once in July right before all the new product lines appear in stores.
And guess what next week is? July!
If you, like me, are counting down the days until Target’s Toy Clearance here are a few tips to keep you busy and help get you ready.
Make a List. Check it Twice.
I’m a sucker for a deal, even if the deal is on something that none of my children particularly want or need. Sometimes I’m such a sucker I get swept away on a tide of deals I don’t particular want or need and it is hard to come back to shore. To combat this, I’ve taken to making lists for each child of what I am keeping my eye out for. It not only keeps me from spending unnecessarily, but it helps narrow down the field of items, since there will be a lot on clearance.
Schedule Your Trips and Vary Locations.
Okay, so summer toy clearance usually (usually) lasts the entire month of July. Items will start at 15% or 30% off, gradually move to 50% off around the middle of the month, and end at 70% off right before we hit August. I have never seen toy clearance go to 90% off. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying I’ve never seen it. As such, 70% off is the one I wait for on most items. In my experience, prices won’t get any better than that.
I schedule one trip a week in the beginning to the middle of the month, and towards the end of the month, a trip every few days. The rumor is that Target clearances toys on Thursdays. I have seen it once with my own eyes, on a Thursday evening I shall never forget. Ah, magical. So I try to go on Friday mornings, when the clearance drops are fresh. Here is my tentative schedule for July 2019.
- Friday, July 5th- Local Store
- Friday, July 12th-Fancy Store
- Friday, July 19th-Local Store
- Friday, July 26th-Fancy Store
- Monday, July 31st-Local Store
- Wednesday, July 31st-Fancy Store
- Friday, August 2st- Local Store
You’ll notice my two different store designations. You probably already know this because you’re an expert clearance chaser, but sales will vary from region to region, store to store.
I have one Target about 20 minutes away, my “local” store. They discount slower and less steeply than the store an extra 15 minutes away in the next town over, my “fancy” store. I’ve gotten great steals at both stores. For January clearance, my local store, long the clearance underdog, gifted me with the greatest toy clearance haul of my clearance chasing career. I check out both because you never know what you’ll find.
If you have multiple Targets nearby, be sure you’re visiting all of them at least once, as they’ll have different stock and different markdown schedules.
Visit Before the Sale..
…To get familiar with the layout, scope out the goods, and if you’re feeling extra brave, bring your kids. Let’s break this down.
Get familiar with the layout. So, clearance can happen one of three ways. First method, they leave all the toys where they are, and sticker them accordingly. This is the most annoying way, as it causes you to have thunk through all the aisles. Alternately, it’s the most thrilling way, if you’re hardcore into tracking down those deals.
Next, they could take all the clearanced items and put them on the end caps-the shelves at the end of the aisle. This is nice, because all the clearance is in one spot, still segregated by toy type. This is not nice because the end caps have more depth than width, causing you to have to dig to see all the available toys. And the person who was digging before you left it all a mess, and now you’re having to dig through a deep mess.
Lastly, and my personal fave, all the clearance toys will get their own aisle at the end of the toy section. Best of all worlds here: enough room to peruse, all the clearance items in one spot, more space for multiple deal seekers. But who knows which method your store will go in, so scouting before the sale is never a bad idea.
Scope out the goods. I like to do this to give myself an idea of what stock is looking like, what prices are currently set at (to temper expectations) and to see if there are already items on sale. If I’m really getting the thing done, I’ll bring my list and take pictures of items that fall into my desired categories.
Bring your kids. So, I actually did this just yesterday when I went to scope out the goods. Not only was I scoping, but my kids were scoping. Kids’ tastes chance so quickly and it is a shame to buy a ton of clearance toys your kid will have no interest in by Christmas. This from the woman with, like, eight PJ Masks toys in her closet that none of her kids want. Maybe I can pawn them off on the baby.
Take the kids to the toy aisle and let them be free. Make a note or take pictures of what interests them so you can keep an eye out for it when the time comes.
Speaking of which. I followed my own advice and hit up my fancy Target yesterday with my list, my kids, and a dream. And guess what? There are already items on sale. I am super psyched and had to grab a few pre-sale things because the prices were that good. Here’s a little taste of what we’re in for.
Lots of Nella the Princess Knight was already discounted. My Glass Slipper picked this out for her birthday list and it was already 50% off! $9.98, discounted from $19.99.
Peppa sets were at 15% off, with this awesome one being $29.74, originally $34.99. The rumor is that prices ending in .98 can still be discounted further, but I’m not sure the trajectory for .74.
Fancy Nancy accessory sets at 50% off, $3.98 from $7.99.
30% off Vampirina, she’s just like you! Now $9.08, was $12.99.
You can always tell I’m a girl mom on these posts because I’m like, “Rusty Rivets! This very popular character who…rivets things?” Anyway, he’s 50% at $7.48, which seems like a great deal, even for a know nothing like me.
50% Paw Patrol Blind Bags. I normally like to wait for 70% off Blind Bags, but I’ve got a Skye obsessed little, so these were coming home with me! They were even on the list!
This awesome Black & Decker Tool Kit comes with a backpack! And it’s 30% off! Win-win! $10.48.
A bunch of Marvel Rising dolls at 50%-70%. More things from the list! There were two Quakes, both at 70%. The less elaborate one comes with me, because while the Glass Slipper likes Quake, what she’s really waiting out for is…
…her pal Squirrel Girl. Hoping Doreen Green will be with us by the end of clearance as well.
30% off Hatchimals. Would be great to stock up now for Easter.
Paw Patrol Blind Bag (2)-$2.96. Originally $2.99 each, $5.98 total.
Marvel Rising Quake Doll-$3.88. Originally $12.99.
Total Spent: $6.84
Original Retail: $18.97
Total Saved: $12.13
And we are off to the races! Are you as excited about summer toy clearance as I am? What toys are you hoping to score at a great price? What have you already found? Show me in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!