Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How I Broke the Target Hold

For over a decade Target has been my favorite store.  Matt and I used to go nearly every Sunday, starting with when we were engaged and "shopping for the wedding" and that continued into our early years of marriage.  We registered for our wedding there and years later for Luke's baby things.  I don't want to know how much money I've given them in the last ~12 years.  Guaranteed way more than I care to know.  (Actually, thanks to my Money software I could quickly figure it out...well that's roughly my starting salary at my first real job...)

And on that depressing note, I've since kinda weaned myself from Target.  Not completely, not at all, but I don't go every week and our current Target card balance is a whole $35.77.  I'm saving time, saving money, saving hassle of returns, overall, I'm pretty excited about it.  Target, you no longer have a hold on me!

There's that Mom joke of how you go into Target for diapers.  Or toilet bowl cleaner.  Or a gallon of milk (sometimes cheaper than Aldi!) and come out with $100 worth of other things.  I've long been a stickler about mostly only buying things on sale but I still always walked out with more than was on my list (darn Dollar Spot got me almost every time).  So I decided to fix that and here's how I did it:

I used to go to Target every week, no matter what.  Sometimes more than once.  Now, I avoid it almost at all costs. If I don't go I don't see things I want/"need"!  I don't get distracted by the Dollar Spot!  I don't browse clearance!  It's not just the money suck but the time too!  It was super rare we got out of there in less than an hour.  I just like being at home too much to go to Target for a (usually) pointless hour!  (I may change my mind in the winter when I'm itching to get out of the house.)

2) Don't Look at Ad
I no longer even look at the weekly Target ad (Black Friday, of course.  I start looking for that about the day after Labor Day).  I won't be tempted to buy things just because they are on sale if I don't know they are on sale!  Spending money to save money isn't the best saving strategy!   So I don't look at the ad.

3) Don't Look at Cartwheel
Same as the above, I used to check Cartwheel at least once a week to look at new deals.  Sometimes I did get really good ones but sometimes it drove me to purchase things just because they were cheaper.  Which I know is the point.  So I stopped browsing the deals.  When I do go I scan every item with Cartwheel before it goes in my cart but then I'm just looking for additional deals, not buying just because of the deal.

4) Use Target Crush List
If you are logged into Target's website on your phone or computer (or maybe the app but I haven't had that in years) you can click a little heart next to each item to "love" it.  All these items are saved in a "crush list" that shows all the items, their price, and if they are on sale.  I will "love" anything I am looking to buy and then check the list weekly to see if anything is on sale.  From things like new underwear for Luke to toilet bowl cleaner to mouthwash or clothes for me.

This way I can know when the things I want are on sale but not have to look through the whole ad or check in the stores.  I generally wait to buy until things are sale and this is an easy way to keep track of those items! (Is Target using this data to track me?  Probably.  Am I ok with that? Yes.)

5) Online Ordering
One of the biggest things that has saved me from Target going and Target spending is ordering items online.  Not only do I get the fun of getting a package in the mail AND not having to leave my house BUT I also avoid spending money by only buying the things we need and not whatever jumps into my cart at Target.  I use my Target crush list to watch for when things are on sale and then place an order.  With a Target credit card I always get free shipping.

This past week I was sale stalking multiple items and ordered the (exciting) following:
-toilet bowl cleaner
-baby bath soap to make eye make-up remover
-Up & Up midol
-a storage box for Luke's 5T clothes

They wouldn't ship the storage box so I did an in-store pick-up where they pulled everything and I just had to pick-up at customer service, in store less than 5 minutes.  Right next to the Dollar Spot and still avoided it! Woo-hoo!

I don't see a day where I'll completely give up Target but I'm pretty excited to be shopping there less, spending less time and less money. It's been good for the bank account, good for my stress, and wonderful to have a little extra time!

What store is your weak spot?  I know I'm not the only one that Target has!

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