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Friday, July 31, 2015

my favorite Thursday of the year - TARGET summer clearance TOYS SALE!

I still recall the first time I shopped the Target summer toys clearance sale. It was about 4-5 years ago when my friend told me about it, and I was ecstatic about the savings! I could not believe what I found for so cheap! When she told me this happens every year, the last Thursday of July, when Target marks down many of the toys to 70% off, I could not believe I'd never heard about it before! I felt like my friend let me in on some secret club that only savvy #thriftymamas knew about!

Now that I've been going for a few years, I realize so many moms still do not know about this great savings! I'm here to shed some light on it so you can save money big time next year. I literally mark this sale in my calendar every year so I don't forget.

Basically what the big sale is all about is Target making room for new inventory and getting rid of items they've had. They start in the beginning of July marking items down various percentages, getting to 70% on the last Thursday of the month. This means BIG savings for you!

Who should shop the Target toys sale?
  • MOMS - If you buy gifts for your children for birthdays, Christmas, etc. or if you're invited to birthday parties, have nieces and nephews or friends who you shop for during the holidays, this is for you. Moms can also stock up on potty training prizes, board games for camp, or toys to keep your little ones busy on an upcoming trip on an airplane. You could even find little treats for holidays like Halloween and Easter if you feel like saving items that long! A deal is a deal, right?! 
  • GRANDPARENTS- My mom gave me money this year to shop for her. I found items my two kids and niece and nephew would love, got them 50% off, and my mom will wrap them up and give them to the kids for Christmas. A win-win! This sale is also good to get a second item that you already have so you can keep it at the grandparents' house for your kids to have something to do there.
  • DAYCARES, SCHOOL WORKERS- I found so many great toys that daycares and providers would love - for cheap! I also work as a school counselor and could use some of the board games in my office. 

Not all toys are marked down, it's about every few toys on a shelf that you see that are marked down. Some brands are rarely marked down- like we love John Deere tractors and I've never been able to find one of those marked down. Others are marked down each time - like a lot of Disney type items are usually marked down pretty well.

It's all types of toys though - so baby toys through girlie toys to big boy toys and Lego type items. It's not one type of toy marked down, which is nice, there is a wide range. This includes games, too!

The weird and yet fun part is that what is marked down varies from store to store. For example, at one store I found Transformers marked down, and another store had no Transformer toys marked down at all. It depends on what the store's needs are. Knowing this can drive you nuts if you are a bargain hunter, wanting to get to every store. It can also be SO fun, finding those great deals, going to various stores, especially with friends. Make an evening of it!

These Palace Pets were originally $50! Marked down to $25 we got it for!

My daughter will love getting this Doc McStuffins toy at Christmas!

I scored this princess doll for $5.64!

Can you spot the red clearance tags in the items above? You have to look!

This Batman item below you can see was marked down several time. It's originally $50! The reason it's marked down a few times is because during the month of July Target starts with marking the toys down 20%, 30%, reaching 50% the last week of July, then the last Thursday in July is always the 70% off markdown day.

The items remain marked down until they are gone, from what I have seen. It's first come, first serve. This year, I went the night before the Thursday sale and scored big on items 50% off.

Remember to check these end caps: lots of deals there that you may miss if you don't walk up and down every aisle.

This was one of my favorite finds this year: the Melissa and Doug jumbo blocks. I've wanted these for a while and now scored them for only $9! Anything Melissa and Doug on sale is my favorite!

There are some items (below) that are just on sale, not 70% off but still a great deal!

This year I found lots of race cars and remote control trucks on sale - things that were $50 were marked down to $20-25! That's an awesome gift!

Thomas the Train items are hard to find on discounted clearance, so checking for those is always something I do. These bigger sets were a big savings!

Great items from Planes and Big Hero 6!

Be sure to look high and low. There are items hanging that have been marked down, too.

Here is a great game on sale that didn't have a clearance sign under it on the rack, but rather a red sticker on the item. These stickers are always in the upper righthand corner from what I have found so it's easy to look for.

At both Targets that I shopped at, I found more toys on clearance that were in the summer aisle for some reason. I found great deals here! Make sure you walk around all of the toys, summer, sporting goods aisles.

Tips for shopping the sale:
  • Arrive early but not too early. I usually am there by 9 a.m., and typically the workers are marking things down as I'm there... so I just walk around them, then go back to the areas they just marked down. 
  • Go slowly. You have to look. It takes time. Plan for an hour.
  • Don't bring kids! No room in the cart, they are distracting, and you'll want to shop for them so they can't see what you are buying. 
  • Think ahead to upcoming holidays and birthdays to buy for. Don't just think of your own kids or nieces and nephews. Consider activities like Toys for Tots at Christmas or the holiday swap party you attend, or birthday parties for friends you know you are invited to every year. Stock up on stocking stuffers or potty training prizes. It's a good time to have a supply for cheap money. 
  • Don't just look for big red clearance signs. Look at actual toys... upper righthand corner is where they typically have the red clearance sticker on them. 
  • Don't just stop in the toys section. Keep walking a few more aisles to the sporting goods and summer items aisles. At various stores I found more things on sale in another aisle of clearance items, random mix but good stuff! 
  • Visit various stores in your area. Each store marks down different items. Some items will be discounted at all stores, but many items are random based on the specific stores' needs. We have a couple of Targets near me, so I visit both if I can, it's so much fun!
  • This sale happens once (or twice, sometimes in January they do the sale also) a year, so plan for that. Budget for this sale and know that you will be spending money in one lump sum but saving in the long run - by 50-70% off the original price! I always budget about $60, sometimes I'm under and sometimes a little over. 
  • Go the next day. My friend shopped the day after and still found great deals! 
  • It's not really online. A few things are marked down online, but not as extensive as going into the store. 
  • Shop the entire row AND end caps. Those are the sides of the rows where typically you find things cheaper and marked down at Target. There are sometimes great deals there so don't miss it. 
  • Talk to your friends ahead of time to see what they are looking for, you just might find it for them! I always have my sister on speed dial, as I'm texting her pictures of items I find. If your friend does the same for you, you can both find even greater deals! 

These two baby items did not have any red clearance tag on the shelving unit, just the red stickers on the actual toys. This is what I mean by you need to walk slowly down the aisles to really check for deals. They are hidden, so only the savvy mama shopper can find them! :)

Here's what I scored this year!

This sale is my favorite thing in July! I look forward to it every year -literally writing it into my calendar! I am a school worker so in the summers when I'm home and not paying for childcare, I try to get a jump start on my Christmas shopping. I have two kids of my own and then I have 9 nieces and nephews, and a Godson and friend that we shop for... plus as many birthday parties... soooo shopping for toys is kinda my job it seems! Whenever I can score a deal, that's great news!

I didn't go all out this year but found some awesome things!

I tell my friends it's hit or miss when you shop the Target sale. Whether you love it or don't find anything is based on a few things:
1. Your effort, time and patience. If you don't have time to walk slowly through to find things, you aren't going to see the good deals.
2. What you're looking for. If you are only searching for Legos and they don't happen to mark those down, then you will think this sale isn't great. But if you are there for a random assortment of types of toys, you'll LOVE it!

I have never found a Tonka truck on sale, so I was psyched to get that for like $9! My best score this time was the Disney Princess Castle! It is typically $50-55 and I got it for $35! I've had this on my list to buy for my niece for Christmas anyway, so SCORE! I spent about $65 total, psyched!

I also went shopping for my mom. The items below were $97, originally $200!

Some great Web sites with more Target info:
  • My favorite blog and Facebook group that shows you more about saving money at Target is All Things Target
    • Here is an article from her where she shows you what people scored on the 2015 toys sale: 
    • Here is an article about tips for shopping this sale:
    • Here is the Facebook page for All Things Target:


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