The Secret to Dorm Shopping at Target

Updated: July 7, 2017

Yesterday I had a prescription to pick up at Target and planned to only pick up that prescription, well, thanks to Target putting their brand new college section up front & center, there was no way of avoiding the vast land of dorm goodies. If any of you know how much I love Target, you'll know it was absolutely impossible to pass these aisles up. (Don't worry I only made a couple of purchases.)

The Secret to Dorm Shopping at Target

It's no secret that Target is a mecca for all of your dorm shopping needs. Although the superstore does an amazing job of giving you everything you need, there are a few lesser-known tricks to getting great deals while still having the dorm of your dreams.

Before you even leave your house, make a master list. Write everything you could possibly need for school in the fall, from Twin XL sheets to Kuerig K-Cups. Not sure how you want to decorate your dorm? Check out my tips here! If you have a list of what you're looking for you might just stay on track (and within your budget). Next check this comparison chart, provided by Frugal Minded Mom to get the best deal on basic school supplies. This will help you decide what you want to buy at Target and what to save for another store.

Related: Check out my freshman dorm tour here.

Now make your way to the Holy Land (Target, in this case). You'll need to be armed with these savvy tools in order for full Target domination:

1. A Target REDCard (Debit). You've probably been heckled at every checkout to sign up for one of these bad boys and you've politely declined each time. Well, now is the time to succumb to the red-shirted mavens. Target REDCards are the first step to some serious savings. Not only do the REDCards enable you to free shipping for online purchases (perfect for any college student) but most importantly, they get you 5% cash back. I know I totally sound like a Target ad but surprisingly I'm not sponsored by the big red bull's eye. (Yet. Target, hmu!!!) These savings can seriously add up if you're buying literally everything for your shoebox of a dorm.

2. Cartwheel App. Only true Target shoppers have Cartwheel on their handy dandy iPhone. No this isn't a gymnastics move, it's the best money-saver a Target lover like me could ask for! Cartwheel deals are often more secret than the Sunday morning paper's cut-outs, providing deals that only downloaders have access to. All you have to do is scan the barcode of your goods with the app and flash it at check out and viola! instant savings.

Related: Are you mini-fridge ready? Check out how to survive your mini-fridge here.

3. Pay Attention! No this isn't some app you've never heard of- it's exactly what it sounds like. Pay attention! There are always deals on the shelves of Target- from $5 off storage cubes to BOGO deals. And always remember to check the endcaps of aisles. This is where Target hides clearance items and sales so less people see them. Who knows, you could snag an extra deal or two! Pay attention to these sly deals and they will surely add up, especially if you're using tools #1 and #2!

Now that you have the Target tools in your tool belt (wow, way too many metaphors) use these extra tips to finish off the deal:
  • Don't limit yourself to the 'college', 'dorm' and 'school supplies' sections. Although these areas are tailored specifically to your needs, there may be sales lurking in other necks of the woods. Be sure to check out the home & office sections for items similar to the college sections. You might just find something better than you thought!
  • Many items often have many different uses, you just have to see them! For instance, use a dish drying rack as a necklace holder! Or an ottoman as a step stool. You never know what you'll get if you're just creative.
  • Price match! This is what Target's website says about their price matching policy: "We'll match the price if you buy a qualifying item at Target or CityTarget stores then find the identical item for less in the following week's Target weekly ad or within seven days at,,,,, or in a competitor's local printed ad." 
Now go out and shop, shop, shop! I know dorm shopping can be super overwhelming but if you're prepared with a list and you're ready to scope out some deals it will be easy as pie!

Related: Don't limit your dorm shopping to Target! Find out how I found great discount decor here!

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