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IMG_21012014_181203We were all new to couponing at one time or another and I can remember just feeling overwhelmed in the beginning. But I hope this page helps to explain things a bit more and gets you started on the road to keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Saving money by couponing goes way beyond simply clipping a coupon and using it on something you need. The best way to maximize your savings is to wait to use your coupons against a sale or a special deal and to buy several of the item if the price is right.

While I do maintain a stockpile, I don’t believe in letting my stockpile overtake my house. Sales usually cycle around every 3 months, so purchasing enough to last you through to the next sale is a good bet, especially if you are short on space. Be patient- building a stockpile takes time, it does not happen overnight, but little by little you will find yourself being able to grab something from your stockpile when you normally would have to run out for something.


coupon-insertsNEWSPAPER COUPONS: One of the most popular resources are the coupon inserts that can be found in the Sunday Newspaper. There are 4 main types- the PG- usually put out once a month by Proctor & Gamble, the RMNE or RetailMeNot Everyday insert and the SS or Smart Source Insert both usually found in most papers every Sunday, and the GM or General Mills which can usually be found every 4-5 weeks.

Every Saturday I post a Sunday Newpaper Insert Preview with highlights of what will be coming in the Sunday paper and I also list resources for obtaining inserts and coupons that come from them. You can go HERE to check out the most recent preview with a list of Resources.

PRINTABLE COUPONS: Another popular way to get coupons is to print them. There are several sites that consistently offer printable coupons: Coupons.com, Red Plum, Savings.com, & SmartSource are good places to start. Lots of manufacturer’s sites also offer coupons and a good way to check and see if there is a printable coupon for something you need is to check My Coupon Database. If there is a printable– there will be a link provided to lead you to where you can find the coupon.

OTHER COUPONS: Coupons come from many many sources. Many manufacturer’s place Hangtag Coupons or Peelie coupons found on products on the shelves or Tearpads usually located on a display or shelf near the item.You may even spot coupons in magazines or at the office of your doctor, dentist, pediatrician, vet and more. Once you start looking for these valuable little pieces of paper, you will be surprised at just how many places they turn up!


We couponers use lots of abbreviations and terms, and you will catch on soon enough, but if you are just getting started- here’s a few terms to familiarize yourself with…

$1/2 etc: One dollar off two items. (1st # = Discount/2nd # = Quantity required for discount)
B1G1: Buy 1 Get 1 FREE, or B2G1: Buy 2 Get 1 FREE and so on
PSA: Prices Starting at
GC: Gift Card (Target offers Gift Cards as a reward for buying specific items, see Special Deals Page for extended Gift Card deals)
ETS: Excludes Trial Size or , or ESS: Excludes Single Serving
MIR: Mail In Rebate (You can check my Rebates Page to see current offers available)
TMF-Try Me Free. Another form of a rebate or sometimes a satisfaction Guarantee
OOP: Out of Pocket. The amount you actually spend.
Q: Coupon, MQ: manufacturer coupon, TQ: Target Coupon
WYB: when you buy
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary-this means that it may or may not be the case in all instances.
x: Expiration Date of a coupon


There are several different ways to keep your coupons organized so you can easily find them. Many people use a binder method- where you can split up your coupons into pages with pockets and organize how it works best for you. Sometimes people organize by item type- ie Frozen, Snacks, Canned, etc, or some prefer to alphabetize. You have to do what works best for you. Some people like to just grab baseball card type album sleeves fitted into a binder to keep them organized. A binder is very nice in that it’s a way to have your coupons with you at all times which comes in handy for Target Clearance- it can be a time-consuming method- but wonderful if you can keep it up.

You can also use a filing system for your inserts. You can use either drawers or a filing box meant to hold the complete insert and file them by date. Since I and other sites you may start to follow usually list where you can find a coupon- it is just as easy to go find what you need and cut when you are ready to shop. So for example – if I list the following coupon as a matchup-

-$1/3; .50/2 Campbell’s Microwaveable Bowls or Soup At Hand 1-8-12 SS x3/15

it means it can be found in the January 8th Smart Source Insert. The different amounts in the front mean that some areas will have a $1 Off 3 and some areas will have gotten a .50 cents off 2. The x followed by the date is when the coupon expires. But finding the best way to organize is a process – and you may go through several different ways before you figure out what method works best for you.


multi_coupon_nobleedTarget can be a great place to save money in several different ways. For starters- Target allows you to stack coupons- this means allowing the use of one manufacturer’s coupon AND one Target Store Coupon AND one Cartwheel Offer on EACH item. Target Coupons can be found in a variety of places….

TARGET INSERT COUPONS: Target store coupons can sometimes be found in the regular Sunday inserts on occasion. Target Insert coupons are always regional though and not everyone will get them. I do maintain a Target Coupon Page with a list of the available Target Coupons with matching manufacturer’s coupons you can stack.

MOBILE TARGET COUPONS: Mobile coupons are Target Store Coupons that can be sent to your phone to be used for in-store purchases at checkout. You can pull them up on your phone’s screen and the cashier can scan the bar code. These coupons are meant to be used only once but can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. You will need to have an internet-capable phone in order to retrieve the coupons. Keep in mind- text messaging & data charges will apply depending upon your phone’s plan. We don’t see many of these any more, but you can see a current list on my Target Coupon Page HERE.

cartwheelTARGET CARTWHEEL OFFERS: There’s also a savings program called Cartwheel by Target offering even more opportunities to get great deals! You can get as much as an additional 50% off, occasionally even higher, on items at Target including grocery, health & beauty, baby, clothing and much more. You can redeem all offers on your Cartwheel in one transaction and an identical offer can be applied up to a maximum of four times in a single transaction. You are allowed one Cartwheel offer with one manufacturer’s coupon and one Target coupon for triple the savings!

You can sign up thru email or your Facebook account and you will need a smartphone to redeem savings in stores, although you can bring a printed bar code with you in lieu of a smartphone. This bar code never changes, no matter what you delete or add to your cartwheel, so if you laminate it or find some other way to protect it, you can use it over and over.

IMG_21012014_181327OTHER TARGET COUPONS: Target also sends out various mailers with coupons – home mailers are random – there is no 100% fool-proof way to get one. Sometimes having created a baby or wedding registry may help, or spending on a REDcard helps, or filling a prescription, and the list of theories goes on. But none of these things are a 100% guarantee you will start receiving them and unfortunately there is no definite mailing list to get on. When you check out at the register you can check the coupons that print from the Catalina machine that you get with your receipt. Sometimes they are Manufacturer coupons, but sometimes they are Target Coupons!

You can always see a complete list of ALL Types of current Target coupons on my Target Coupon Page.


cash-rewardsThere are a couple of great savings apps out there for both iPhone and Android users to earn cash back for shopping in-store. The first one, ibotta, is a fun & easy way to earn extra money while shopping for buying products that most likely you were going to buy anyway. Plus, the Ibotta app offers lucrative Bonuses. The second one, Checkout 51, is also a fast and easy way to earn cash back on the brands you love, yet it also has some unique features and… you do not need to have a smartphone to take advantage of this great app! Watch the blog for new offers and matchups to be posted, plus you can read about each of them in more detail as follows…. for more info on ibotta, go HERE and for more info on Checkout 51, you can go HERE.


IMG_21012014_180857Another way to save at Target is by taking advantage of their Gift Card Deals where a Target Gift Card is awarded at checkout in return for buying a specified product or products. Gift Cards cannot be used in the same transaction you earned them, however they can be rolled into the next transaction. If you do more than one Gift Card Deal in a transaction you WILL receive both Gift Cards. There are usually several Gift Card Deals in the Target Ad every week, that usually only last that week. However sometimes quite a few Gift Card deals remain unadvertised and extend for longer periods of time.

Target also offers Special Purchase Deals. These are usually a B1G1 Free type of deal or instant savings when purchasing 2 or more of a specific product. Again several of these are advertised each week, but some are not and last for 2 or more weeks. I do my best to keep track of as many unadvertised longer-term Gift Card & Special Purchase Deals as possible on the Special Deals Page. On that page you can find the details, coupon matchups and some Deal Ideas so be sure to check it out.


Target has a price matching policy which they refer to as a Low Price Promise. This can be another way to save Gas, money & time, since Target will honor local competitor’s ads, however there are quite a few rules and restrictions. You can view Target’s official price matching policy HERE.


You can find the official Target Coupon Policy HERE. It’s always a good idea to print it out and keep with you when you shop.

387211_10151581781563120_690736138_nTarget will accept printable coupons with a scannable bar code except one that is for a FREE item when no purchase is required. Target does not accept competitor’s coupon or expired coupons.

Target does not give cash back – if the coupon is for more than the value of an item, the coupon amount may be reduced to meet the cost of the item. Target also has specific rules about using B1G1 coupons. You can check out this post HERE for more details and examples.


I hope you have found this page helpful, but if you have more questions or you have a deal you would like to share with me, you can contact me at [email protected].

680 Responses to “FAQ/Basics”

  1. Kerry says:

    HI Katie- you can use it in the very next transaction. The only thing you can’t do is use a gift card in the same transaction you earned it in. hth

  2. Christina says:

    Can you use a coupon on a free item? For example a buy 2 get 1 free sale, can I use 3 coupons or only 2?

  3. Kerry says:

    HI CHristina- against a sale item is a ymmv. usually the register will accept MQs- whether or not the cashier does or will is a ymmv. hth

  4. Kelly says:

    Word on the street is that Target is no longer accepting manu coupons….please say it isn’t so!

  5. Sandy M says:

    Do you know if Target would allow me to use a coupon along with a rebate check? The rebate check was issued for Purina Dog Chow, and is treated as a check at the register. Any advice would be great. Thanks!

  6. Kerry says:

    not true Kelly

  7. Sandy M says:

    FYI, I did use the rebate check with coupons, and it was not a problem. The rebate check is handled at the end like a check, so it doesn’t affect coupon usage. That was awesome! 🙂

  8. Teneya says:

    Hello I am SO excited to find your site, it is so helpful. I have a question about the catalina coupon printer. I have gone through the process of trying to download it about 7 times for 3 days straight. I even tried on two different computers. It will say its installed successful. Once I try to print it will just prompt me to repeat the whole process. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m so excited to start printing but just cant get it to work 🙁

    Thanks for any advice you can offer!

  9. Kerry says:

    Hi Teneya- unfortunately it is tricky for some people. I have not had an issue- but I can say that you may want to try completely deleting it first before you try reinstalling. You may also want to try using a different browser to print- so if you are trying thru IE try thru firefox & vice versa- hth & you get it worked out!

  10. Mae says:

    Is Target now accepting competitor’s catalina coupons? I used a Shoprite one today by mistake and the cashier took it. I don’t know if she took it by mistake or because it is allowed now.

  11. Tom rossi says:

    Does Target offer a discount to either active or
    Military veterans/ personnel

  12. robin says:

    How many times can you print the target coupons from their site. It only allowed me one before it said I had met my max.. i’m sure I have been able to pront before at least 3 times

  13. Kerry says:

    Hi RObin- usually 2.

  14. Beverly VanCamp says:

    Hi, I have a quick question. Is there a limit of 2,on each specific gift card deal? For Example I want to do the Unilever Gift Card Deal. I was going to purchase (6) of the Clear and (6) of the Simple Facial Wipes. In this example would I get 2 Gift Cards? or 4?

    Thank you very much in Advance!

  15. Kerry says:

    HI Beverly- there is no set limit for gift cards earned in a transaction- but any store does have the right to limit what you purchase. That being said- the limitations fall on the coupons themselvves. Target has a limit of four identical coupons per visit- unless otherwise stated- and in this instance unilver brands have a limit of 2 identical coupons per person. so as long as you mix and match your coupons and products you should be ok. hth & makes sense

  16. Beverly VanCamp says:

    Completely makes sense. Thank you very much!

  17. Jessica c says:

    I had a question regarding the handing over of coupons to cashier. So in the past I have always given the cashier my coupons at the end and last week I paid at customer service and the lady said I had to give her the coupons as she scanned each item. She said that was in their policy. So this is how she had me do it….. she would scan candy bag and then have me give her the coupons i had for that item, she would scan coupons and then move on to scanning my next purchase. I hope this makes sense. Is there a certain order for example, cartwheel, then manf. coupons, then target printable or mobile. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thanks

  18. Amanda says:

    Is there a way to sign up for emails or blog updates to be sent through email? I see the feed option but didn’t know if that’s right. Thank you for all you do!

  19. Kerry says:

    Hi Amanda- yes you can sign up at this link for e-mails

  20. Nancy says:

    In regards to the Target Mobile Coupons… like the current -1.25/1 Palmolive 25oz, if I purchased (4) bottles… Will the Target Mobile Coupon apply to all (4) items?

  21. Kerry says:

    HI Nancy- no only to one bottle and only one time. hth

  22. Veronica says:

    Hello I have a question: can 2 target coupons be use at the same time? I have a $20/$50 target coupon and a $5/$25 Clorox products can I use both in the same transaction?

  23. Kerry says:

    HI Veronica- imo these are both threshold coupons and should not be used together. jmo

  24. Linda says:

    Hi, I was at my Target today and they would NOT take my “MANUFACTURES COUPON” Stated right across the TOP of Coupon, that I printed out, BECAUSE it had in small print….(redeemable at Walgreens) on it. I asked “Since When?” They said they changed the coupon policy about a month ago, if it has another stores name on it they will Not accept it. I totally understood when it read…”Redeem at ______ Only”
    WELL, this is NEW to me! Is it just my cashier…(ahgrrrrrr!!) or it is a new thing now? HELP!!

  25. Kerry says:

    HI Linda- there is no new addition the the corporate policy that I see.

  26. Nic says:

    Hi, I have a question. I have a target red card and three coupons printed out. 15$ off 35$ purchase, 50% off laundry detergent, and 50% off paper item. Can I use them all together?

  27. Traci says:

    Target seems to have multiple mobile coupons. I don’t always receive all texts. I was wondering if you could create a section with the key words to text to receive additional texts from target? Thanks so much for all toy do!

  28. Kris says:

    How many gift cards can you pay with in a single transaction? Thanks!

  29. Lisa says:

    New to doing gift card deals. Can the purchases be split over multiple transactions or does it have to be in same transaction? I purchased 2 Playtex Sport boxes yesterday and thought it was buy 2 get $5gc but was informed by cashier that it was purchase 3 for $5gc. Just wondering if I go purchase a 3rd on a different trans, would it trigger the gc. Thanks so much for any insight.

  30. Kerry says:

    HI Lisa- unfortunately it won’t keep track of your tansactions like that- you could try bringing your receipt up to GS with another box and explain the situation and perhaps they would do something for you. hth

  31. Kerry says:

    as many as you want Kris

  32. Maria says:

    I am new to price matching at Target. I would like to price match 3 Tides (from CVS) using coupons. My question is will I still be eligible for the gift card that are advertised in the Target ad if I price match? I read the policy and that particular question doesn’t seem fully addressed. Thanks!

  33. Sarah says:

    Say I have two Target mobile coupons each with discounts on products I want; however, they both have the same product listed but for different discounts, one has $1/1 of the item the other has $.75/1 for the same item. Does it automatically use the higher value one? Does it matter the order I have the mobile coupons scanned? Can I buy two of the product and use both discounts? For example this week both SPRING and THANKS have wheat thins but they are different values. How does that exactly work when you scan the code? Hope my question makes sense!! Thanks

  34. Kerry says:

    Hi Sarah- the mobiles only apply to one item- so if you are only buying one- use the barcode for the value you want 1st
    if you buy 2 items it will take off one from each set.
    I am thinking you are talking about Wheat Thins coupons
    so if I am right & you buy 2 boxes of wheat thins
    and use both mobile bar codes- it will take a total of $1.75 off both- hth & makes sense.

  35. claudia says:

    Hi my question is if i price match and item that is part of the gift card deal can i do both??


    Pantene shampoo priced match to online price
    part of but 3 get a $5 gift card

  36. Kerry says:

    Hi Claudia – no PM on a GC offer. hth

  37. Ging A says:

    I bought two Sunday papers for the inserts. However, I noticed that the inserts in both papers have the same barcode! Do you know if WA Target stores will allow me to use these coupons each on individual items in the same transaction?

  38. Beverly says:

    This will be my first Target shopping trip but am very familar with couponing but I wanted to ask…you say “If you do more than one Gift Card Deal in a transaction you WILL receive both Gift Cards” Does that mean if you do “x” deal and “Y” deal, you will get both cards or does it mean if you do 2 of “x” deals I’ll get both cards. For instance, one of the deals right now is a $5 GC WYB 3 Starbucks Kcups. If I bought 6 boxes, would I get a $10 GC? (Or 2 $5 GC?)

  39. Carol says:

    My Target has told me that I have to scan my cartwheel LAST, after all Manufacturer and Target coupons. This is different than what you say above. I have looked for this information in Target’s online coupon policy so that I can print it out and take it to the store with me to show the associate. Can you help point me in the right direction? When Cartwheel is used last, I’m barely saving anything!

  40. Kerry says:

    Hi Carol- cartwheel is scanned last but it is calculated AFTER TQs and BEFORE Mqs. It doesn’t matter when they decide to scan it- the calculation stays the same. it always calculates the % after TQ & before MQ. hth

  41. Kerry says:

    HI beverly- yes you can get more than one GC and they come up separately- so for example- you buy 6 starbucks- after the 1st 3 go over the belt- the register will stop the cashier and prompt them to hand you a $5 GC. then the next 3 will gover the belt and once again the register will stop and prompt the cashier to hand you a second $5 GC and so on. you are awarded the GCs throughout the transaction as soon as the qualifying items have been scanned. hth & makes sense

  42. Kerry says:

    HI GIng- Target allows up to 4 identical coupons in a shopping trip unless they say otherwise. All insert coupons have the same bar code.

  43. Kerry says:

    HI Maria- you cannot price match & get the gift card. hth

  44. Beth Ciola says:

    Hi, I am newbie to couponing. reading the faq page has helped me a lot so far. I was wondering if anyone could explain how the badges work on cartwheel. how do you get them to unlock ?? isn’t there a way to share with your friends ??

    thanks in advance for any help :))

  45. becca says:

    Hi, just wondering what the little boxes are that can be checked on your site as you list the deals for the week. How does that work? can a list be made by somehow checking the deals I want to do? Thank you Rebecca

  46. Kandice says:

    Hey Beth, http://www.totallytarget.com/2013/05/09/cartwheel-a-new-way-to-save-even-more-at-target/. Kerry does a great job of explaining how it works – also, if you go into your cartwheel and click on the badges that are gray, they will tell you how to unlock that badge. hth!

  47. SuzeeQ says:

    Becca – yes! Just check the ones you want and then go to the bottom of the post and click on print my list – hth!

  48. Melisa says:

    I was wondering if anyone knew the typical cycle for sales on baby furniture. Need to buy nursery furniture, but don’t want to jump the gun if Target has a “known” cycle for good sales. Thanks for any input!

  49. Joanna says:

    Kerry, I have a question in regards to these purchase off specific dept. total qs ex. $50 off baby dept purchase. Its no clear on Target’s coupon policy, but would i be allowed to use a purchase $ off target q, plus target q for specific items plus mq?

  50. Kristin says:

    Can I use the $5 off beauty coupon more than once from my phone?

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