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9 Failproof Ways to Save Money at Target

You've heard that joke about how you can't go into Target without spending a minimum of $100, right?

Except we all know it's not really a joke.

You dash in to buy diapers and emerge in a daze carrying a new pair of shoes, two boxes of cereal, a cute serving dish and some clearance Fourth of July decorations. You probably didn't even remember the diapers.

If your wallet is begging you to rein in your Target spending, here are some tricks:

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1. Don't go

I know this sounds harsh, but really, it's the only way.

2. Under no circumstances should you Google what day clearance items get marked down

After that, every single Tuesday from now until 2067, you'll be thinking, "I probably should just stop in to see if anything good is on clearance."

3. Don't go with your children

They'll beg to stop in the toy section or spot a pair of Elsa shoes they HAVE TO HAVE. You'll probably end up buying something they tossed in the cart when you weren't looking, and then you'll also buy a slushy or bag of popcorn at the food court either on your way in or out.

4. Don't go by yourself, either

You'll feel like you can stroll down every aisle because this is precious child-free time and you need to make the most of it. How many organizational bins or picnic supplies do you actually need again?

Don't shop hungry ... or if you have a pulse.

5. Ignore those glowing orange stickers

Those radioactive little stickers are like homing beacons. Most of the time, they're: 1) something you never would have bought if it wasn't sporting that orange sticker, 2) marked down all of a buck or 3) both. But you can't help the siren call of that clearance tag, can you? (I can't either.) I mean, you're saving money RIGHT NOW.

6. Don't be tricked by the Target cart

Have you noticed Target has replaced most of their carts with these big, beautiful plastic carts? They're so easy to push and they hold so much stuff—like your entire paycheck. Grab a basket (or better yet, just hold your purchases in your arms) so you can't accidentally pick up a floor lamp, a baby bathtub and a movie that came out in 2002.

7. Don't download that Cartwheel app

It seems so harmless when you're scanning items and find out that you can save an extra 20 percent on something you were already going to buy. But then you're innocently doing your laundry at home and an alert pops up telling you about special items on sale, and suddenly you're in the car driving toward Target and ... how did this happen?

8. Think of the $1 Spot as "All Your Dollars Spot"

It's pretty incredible that before you even walk 10 feet into the store, you've already plopped $11 of things you didn't actually need into your cart. This place is designed by evil geniuses.

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9. Don't shop hungry

Or when you're tired of all the clothing in your closet. Or when your house is a mess and is in desperate need of some organizational bins. Or when a holiday is coming and you have nothing festive in your house. Or if you have a pulse. It's just too dangerous.

How do you resist the lure of Target? And more importantly, do you even want to?

Photograph by Janssen Bradshaw

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