My love of Target is well documented.
The love affair began many years ago, when as young mother with no savings experience I stumbled upon a fancy teething ring originally $14.99, marked down to $1.50. The teething ring was, confusingly, in the Home Goods section, haphazardly strewn across a pillow cover in what I would later learn was called an “end cap.” And it was here, among the end caps, that I learned how to chase clearance.
My Target pros know all about end caps. Discounted and clearance items are moved to the end of the aisle, on a separate shelf that faces away from the main merchandise, hence the name “end cap.” While end caps tend to be sorted by departments, depending on the season it can be a free for all. Many shoppers avoid the end caps, and I’ll admit that at times it can look a little like the island of misfit toys. But if you’re couponing to Disney, you know that a little work can yield great rewards. Sorting through those cast offs, I have found some treasures on the cheap. So much so, that I’ve made that clearance chase part of my shopping routine.
We’ve talked about specific clearance sales, but chasing clearance is a little different. It is a habit to be incorporated into your regular shopping routine. While I use this most at Target, I’ve used it at other stores to great success, so make sure to try it at your favorite spots.
The Four Steps to Chasing Clearance!
PLAN. First, make sure to schedule a little extra time for your shopping trips. I always plan my Target trips to be an hour, even if I am only going for eggs. I like knowing I have plenty of time to chase that clearance.
STUDY. In the Savings to Disney course workbook, there is an entire section dedicated to identifying upcoming costs for gifts and holidays. As you add items to your gift closet, you’re also making note of these items on your worksheet. Before you head out for your shopping trip, check in with your worksheets. Identify gift and home needs.
BROWSE. During each shopping trip, after you’ve gotten what you initially came for, make a round of all the end caps, or clearance sections, of the store. Make sure to do a full rotation and not just heading to the sections labeled clearance. Most of the time clearance items make it their designated areas, but sometimes they stow away in the other areas. Keep your eyes peeled.
CHOOSE. This step should really be called “make good choices,” which will be easy if you’ve done that study step. Those clearance diapers may not seem like something you need, until you remember you’ve got your cousin’s baby shower in two months. You might think that your husband needs another flannel shirt, until you remember your worksheet stated you’ve already purchased him three flannel shirts. Chasing clearance is a way to avoid budget busters and grow your fund by purchasing things you need at times when they are most cost effective.
Check out the picture up top. That’s my latest clearance chase. I’m always buying clothes for my little in the next size up when I see them well priced, so I couldn’t say no to those $2.50 leggings. And $3.50 for a Duplo set?! Get out of here. If there had been more, I would have snagged them all! Clearance chases usually aren’t big hauls, like the seasonal clearance. Instead, they are smaller purchases that help me save little by little. Some trips, I find nothing I need and that’s ok. Like so many of the Savings to Disney strategies, the goal here is not to spend money, but spend smarter when you do.
Are you a clearance chaser? Do you have any tricks that yield great rewards over time? Share them 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 three 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!