How to shop the Target toy clearance in January and July

How to shop the Target toy clearance

If you want to find the best toys for 70% off at Target, you need to read this!  Last year, the winter toy markdown to 70% off was Thursday, January 17th, but it occurred on the second Thursday in previous years.  The last Thursday of each July used to be the big day for the summer 70% off markdown, but it has happened on the first day of August.

You may wish to check with your store’s manager to try for a confirmation, but keep in mind that I have been told it will be “tomorrow” and it was not.  Reportedly, the associates do not know until the morning of, just as is true with the holiday clearance sales (which can go as low as 90% off!)  To get to any Target, I have a commute which means I plan other errands around the sale, and I now always call before leaving the house to make sure it is “the” day (I have been one day early and it is a disappointment to say the least!)

A few important tips on how to shop Target’s toy clearance:


1.  Get there early to get the best items. Be up and at ’em each potential day that the markdown could occur.  I work with a family member for flexible childcare on the potential mornings, and have outfits laid out and muffins made for a quick morning exit!
2.  Make a quick pass through all the aisles for the best items, as hot name brands will go quickly.
3.  Put it in your cart immediately.  If in doubt, put it in your cart to go through and edit at the end of your shopping.   This is not a tip to get feisty and grab, but know that if you hesitate, it will likely be taken by someone else.  If there are only a few left and more than one of you is eyeballing something, please be generous and not clear the shelf!
4.  Give tips to other shoppers and they may do the same.  If someone is looking at a toy and you saw the same brand item (that you do not want) on another aisle, do tell!  I have had several shopping trips where it is a lot of fun to discuss with total strangers what finds we spied on other shelves.
5.  Go by sticker prices and/or the scanner, not signs.  If you are there during the markdown, the signs will likely still show 50% off or lower.  Use the scanner to be sure.  Also, if an associate is working, politely allow them room, but be sure to ask them if an item is not scanning 70% off.  The ‘word on the aisle’ is that the scan gun only needs to scan one of an item for all of that same item to be marked down.
6.  Edit your cart down to what you can truly use.  Have a list of gifts needed for the year and check to be sure everything you are buying helps your budget and will not hurt your closets too much!  If you can, put the unwanted items back to help associates and other shoppers.
7.  Have a storage plan.  I tuck gifts away carefully hidden in the car- and lock them in there until I can find a chance to move the loot!  We have two closets with keyed locks, which is great for storing gifts and other ‘dangerous’ items with children in the house!  Be sure to keep a record of what you purchased.

I no longer buy anywhere close to what I used to at clearance sales, but this is one example of a Target toy trip (when toy markdowns were 75% off) that scored me these deals:

$12 Playmobile sets for $3.14, $5 Thomas engines for $1.22, $16 Handy Manny flashlight toy for $3.98, $13 Transformer Max Prime for $3.24, $6 Bakugan sets for $1.48, $16 Star Wars ship and figure for $3.98, $10 Polly Pocket set for $2.48….and the list goes on and on.

My kids would have croaked if they knew I was in Target with a cart overflowing with such amazing toys! Six hundred dollars worth, to be exact, but thanks to sweet Target deals like this, my total was only $158.52!

Tune in later for tips on what to do with all those toys!

And please do share in the comments your tips and finds at the toy clearance!

For more tips on clearance sales, see

Shopping and Saving Big for Christmas Year-Round.


Linked to Thrifty Thursday


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