It has come to my attention that it’s hard to be a “good” Target shopper. Not everything at this massive store is a good buy. For the most part, Target furniture is overpriced for the quality (try Ikea), but just about everything else is worth a look at. After just returning home from the Target I pretty much live across the street from, it occurs to me that I should share with others the glory that is can be Target.

1. Always know the price of what you’re buying! When your items are being rung up, make sure you check that each one is the price you thought it was going to be. This can be tough if you have a cartload of items, but with practice you, too, can be anal enough to remember prices and make sure that’s what you’re paying. Sure, 30 cents isn’t going to make much of a difference, but if you’ve bought 10 items that have a 30 cent price difference, you’re handing over three extra dollars to “the man.” Sorry, proverbial-person-behind-me-in-line, the economy isn’t so hot and I don’t have three bucks to spare. They usually change the price without much argument, but don’t abuse this privilege. This afternoon I saved $5 because a pan was supposedly hung on the wrong post, but that’s Target’s problem. Not mine.

2. Bigger isn’t always cheaper at Target! I’m an avid reader of The Consumerist Blog and there have been several people who pointed out, Target sometimes tries to make you buy more without saving you money like this story where you can buy two bottles of juice for $6 on “sale” when they were originally $2.99 each. Or worse, they make you pay more when you buy bulk like this story about q-tips where the writer says “500 Cotton Swabs for $1.94 (0.388¢ per swab), or, if you buy in bulk, 750 Cotton Swabs for $3.69 (0.492¢ per swab). Wow, that’s a savings of -27%!” Do the math before you buy.

3. Buy clearance when the price ends in 4. Numerous sources have disclosed that Target’s clearance prices stop dropping when they end in a 4. (Thanks Consumerist) But, you’re probably not going to remember that. I don’t. Almost all clothing, home wares, even food and candy go on clearance at Target. If you don’t need if but you really want it, just wait a little while and it’ll go on clearance. The best part of Target really is their clearance sections.

4.Buy online! Nine times out of ten I buy at least $50 worth of craptotally necessary items at Target. Online, if you buy $50 worth of merchandise you can get free shipping and Target’s online site often makes shopping easier since all you have to do is enter a search term. Best of all, you can comparison shop amongst items your local Target store might not even carry. Like to shop the clearance clothing? The online store is a goldmine because while your local Target may have sold out of that must-have dress in your size, it’s online. Doesn’t fit afterall? Not the color you thought it was? You can return it to the store instead of having to send it back.

5. Be KIND, but firm with your Target team members! Don’t think the price is right? Thought the price was something else? Don’t be a jerk when you correct the price that was rung in. Chances are you will be returning to that Target in the future and you’ll probably want that same person’s help in correcting future prices, so treat them like a human. Sometimes Target team members seem down, it’s not their fault. I bet if you were dealing with people who think they can negotiate prices all day, you’d be down too. So if they forget to ask you how you are, don’t be afraid to ask them. It’s Target for christssakes, not Nordstroms, a little kissing up to your local Target cashier never hurt anyone. I’m sure they like a good deal as next as the next person, and they’re not “the man,” so be nice!

If you’re not already a devout Target lover like many young people today, try out some of these techniques and let me know how it goes. I’ll bet Target will win you over. They’ve got just about everything, they’re pretty clean, and they’re getting more trendy by the day.