3 Traps to Avoid While Shopping at Target

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  • Target is a popular shopping destination for budget-conscious consumers.
  • If you're not careful, you could end up making poor choices that cost you money, like assuming Target always has the best prices.

Love Target? Steer clear of these pitfalls.

Like many people I know, I happen to be a big fan of Target. Not only do I love the convenience of being able to buy so many essential items under the same roof, but I like the fact that Target tends to offer competitive prices. 

But while Target might be a popular place for people to shop, frequenting Target could end up costing you money. And so it pays to do what you can to avoid these three traps.

1. Overspending on items you don't need

You might head to Target in search of groceries and socks, only to come out two hours later with a loaded shopping cart and a $250 credit card tab. The problem with Target is that a lot of its inventory is so darn appealing. And also, many Targets are set up so that groceries are nowhere near other essentials, thereby forcing you to roam the aisles, check out new products, and get tempted to make extra purchases.

The solution to this problem is twofold. First, make a shopping list before you head out to Target and stick to it. Secondly, do not enter an aisle if it doesn't house an item on your list. 

If your kids need t-shirts, you may have no choice but to browse through the apparel section. But you don't have to visit the toy or stationery aisle if those items aren't on your list, and that alone could be your ticket to curbing your spending.

2. Spending extra on items you do need

It's easy to assume that Target has the best prices on the items you actually need. But before you make that assumption, do some research. 

While Target's prices are known to be competitive, they're not always the lowest. And so if you have a Walmart nearby, for example, it could pay to do some comparisons before rushing to give Target all of your business.

3. Spending a lot of money on gas to get there

I happen to live in what I call a Target dead zone. The closest Target location is about 20 minutes from my house, and to get there, I have to tackle a traffic-heavy road that's frustrating to navigate. 

As such, I don't tend to shop at Target very often. But I know some people in my area who go to Target every week, even though it's a bit of a haul. And if you're in a similar boat, you may want to skip the physical trips to Target and order items from Target's website instead. 

Getting free shipping at Target often means reaching a $35 threshold. That's not a lot when you're buying a bunch of apparel or essentials. 

Of course, if you have a Target location right down the road, by all means, pop in. But given how high gas prices have gotten these days, it could pay to do more of your shopping at Target.com than in an actual store.

Many people adore Target, and for good reason. But it certainly does pay to avoid these traps in the course of shopping there.

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