Can you add to your travel budget on a grocery run? Here’s how shopping at Target helps us save for travel.
Saving on Groceries equals Savings for Travel
Let’s face it, travel is an expensive hobby, and it can be hard to squeeze money out of your budget for a hobby. No matter how much you like to travel, groceries and household supplies take priority. But it’s always nice to save a little bit, and to have some extra savings when planning a trip.
Hopefully, it goes without saying that you should be clipping coupons and using apps like Ibotta (see our story on using shopping apps to save for travel), but there’s more you can do when you shop at Target, as we do. With its consistently clean stores and great service, it’s our preferred store. While many say you can save anywhere from two to ten percent by shopping at Wal-Mart, we haven’t found that to be true. For name brand items, the stores in our area are generally within a few cents, if they’re different at all. (Though certainly, your mileage may vary.) But the kicker for us is a trio of tools that help us save for travel every time we shop.
The Target App
If you’re not using the Target App while shopping, you’re leaving money in their till. While you’re shopping, use the app to scan everything that goes into your cart. If there’s an eligible coupon or store offer, it’s added to your app and taken off your bill at checkout. (Note: You must remember to scan your app at checkout to get the savings.) We routinely save at least 5% using the app on every shopping trip. Individual savings can be as much as 50%, so scan everything. Every. Thing. It’s always a nice surprise when you find that unadvertised special that you can save for travel!
We even use the app when we’re shopping at other stores. How is that? Scan the barcode to get a product’s price at Target. True story: We shopped for Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner and Pantene shampoo at a local drug store, because we ran out and it was close by. We scanned them using the Target app just to see, and discovered each one was a dollar cheaper at Target. Comparison shopping doesn’t get any easier.
Target Gift Cards
Like most grocery stores, Target has a weekly circular with the latest sale prices. You can find it in your local paper, and in the Target app. Pay attention to the “stock up” sales, where you buy multiples and get a target card. Sometimes, you can mix-and-match. The example below is pretty common: buy any two featured products and get a $5 Target gift card. Be sure to scan the whole circular, because gift cards are often offered with everything from appliances to vacuums, also.
While you can’t use the gift cards to purchase travel (Unless and until Target opens an in-store travel agency!), you can use the cards on future shopping trips (in-store or online) to bring your bill under control. The promise we make to ourselves is that every dollar saved with a Target gift card is put into a an account that we save for travel. (Be sure you’re getting the best interest rate you can on that savings account, too!)
The Target REDcard
If you shop at Target regularly, you’re probably sick and tired of telling the cashiers that you’re not interested in getting a Target REDcard. But wait…have you gotten one yet?
We have a real love-hate relationship with the REDcard. It earns no points or miles, and we have a real hard time swallowing that pill. On the other hand, it takes 5% off of your bill at Target. So let’s think about that. If you spend $200 a week on groceries, that’s $10 per week you can save for travel. (Again, be sure you put that savings into your Travel Savings Account!)
Most points- or miles-bearing credit cards give you up to two points/miles per dollar. Let’s assume our card earns two points per dollar. That’s 400 points a week. According to The Points Guy, miles or points are worth as much as 2.7-cents apiece. That math works out to as much as $10.80, which is competitive with the 5% savings with the REDcard. However, that’s the best-case scenario; the low end of the scale works out to just $2 in value for your $200 grocery bill.
For us, the value of the REDcard is certainly there. The next question is which REDcard, credit or debit? We lean towards the debit version, simply because there is no additional benefit to having the credit card, and the interest rate is really high should you carry a balance. (Which, of course, you shouldn’t.)
Do you use any of these tools to keep your household budget in check and add to your travel savings? If you have other hacks – at Target or elsewhere – we’d love to hear them! You can share your thoughts with us in the Comments.
Note: TravelLatte is a Target affiliate. We receive a small commission when you apply for a REDcard or buy from Target using our links. Of course, your costs remain the same. As always, we appreciate your support!