How the Target RedCard Changed the Way I Shop

I remember first signing up for the Target RedCard.

We had just had our daughter Harper (gosh I love that girl to death), but she was not an easy baby. I had been so focused on delivery that I failed to think about the aftermath of having an infant in our house. I realize that sounds crazy, but you know, being born is step 1. So my focus was getting her here and I don’t know why or how, I suppose I was just lucky, but delivery was really easy for us. I was in labor for 6 hours and didn’t even know I was for the first 4. I just kept talking myself out of it, downplaying that it was really happening. Maybe this was my coping mechanism? Who knows, but I’m aware it’s not the norm.

My husband called our Doula, Lindi. She came over and, by the time she got there, I was hitting transition. We rushed to the hospital and 40 minutes later, Harper was here. They didn’t even have time to hook me up to an IV or anything. It’s not proven by research, but I’m pretty sure easy delivery translates to difficult infant. Or at least it did for me.

I kid you not, the first 6 months of her life, the longest stretch of sleep I got was 5 hours. Most nights, I averaged 2-3 hour stretches and even then would only get two of those if I was lucky. How I functioned remains a mystery to me.

Getting Harper to sleep every night was much like solving a rubik’s cube. She had to be swaddled just right, her tummy full, placed in her swing (yes, she slept in this for longer than I’d like to admit), ever so slightly on her side, my hand on her belly/simultaneously holding her paci in her mouth, sound machine on, and I’d stay in that position with her till she fell asleep. Every night this was our routine until she started sleeping in her crib.

Breastfeeding was also difficult with Harper and for me emotionally, this was the hardest one, because there is so much pressure on women now to be good at it. I felt like I was failing. I’m convinced my lack of sleep and stress made it all the harder. It’s a little known fact that stress leads to a lack of supply, so you stress out because you don’t have enough and then that leads to less, so that stresses you out, and then it’s a never-ending cycle of trying to not be stressed, which is stressful! Amen?

So, I called my friend Sarah one morning bawling–Sarah’s one of those friends you have to have in your life; A good listener, a step ahead of you in the mom game, completely judgement free and offers the best advice.  She dropped everything and came over right then, she let herself in (because we’re those friends) and came upstairs where I was holding Harper, us both crying at this point, and I was just trying to get her to eat. I knew she was so hungry.

Sarah had been in this position before with her youngest son, so she said,

“Kelsey, as long as she’s happy and healthy, that’s what you want and if it takes formula to get her there, then that’s okay.”

She was right and I needed permission—permission to be a mom that could give her child formula and still be a good mom. I had told myself for so long that if I did give Harper formula that meant I wasn’t a good mom, it all seems so silly now, but at the time it was everything to me. It was that morning that I realized me being a good mom was giving Harper what she needed most and that was a full belly.

We had a few cans of formula from the hospital, but once that was gone I knew this would be an unplanned expense for us (sidenote: I’m beginning to realize that adulthood is just a series of unplanned expenses). Target was my jam those first few months of Harper’s life. I would go there weekly, just roaming the aisles, up and down and back and forth. All moms know that drives/walks (be it in store or outside) are naptime gold for infants. Harper probably slept more at Target than at home in this season of life.

Our hospital supply finally ran out and on our weekly Target shopping/nap trip I placed the Enfamil in our cart. The feelings of guilt rushed back, I wondered if other women might see it in my cart and think I was failing or giving up. Kelsey, this is okay, you’ve done your best, I told myself as I walked up to the register.

Watching that extra $25.99 added to my bill was icing on my mom-guilt cake. The cashier asked if I wanted to save 5% by signing up for the Target RedCard. I had been asked this countless times before, but the weight of that bill and knowing this was going to be a recurring purchase for a while led to me saying yes.

The rest is history. I really love my Target RedCard and there are certain things I only buy there because I get 5% off everything I purchase.

First, some things you should know about the Target Red Card:

  1. You can stack this on top of other offers. I’m talking to you coupon queen! You have at it girl. You’ll still get an additional 5% off all items.
  2. They offer 2 types of cards, a Red Credit Card or a Red Debit Card, you choose which one you want. My husband and I were pretty adamant early on about only having a credit card for emergencies, so we have the debit card, I don’t have to keep up with payments it just links straight to my bank checking account. You can read about the Target RedCard terms to be sure it will work with your bank, but from what I’ve read as long as it’s a checking account, you should be good to go. It’s like why wouldn’t you? I get 5% off every time and do nothing.
  3. If you’re a seasoned Target Shopper, you know what the Cartwheel App is, if you’re not, welcome. Weekly Target will run deals via this Cartwheel App in all departments, all you need to do is download the app to see which items are featured that week. For instance, let’s say the deal is buy 1 pair of shoes, get a second pair half off, you’ll take your shoes up to register and have them scan the barcode on your phone for that deal. Bonus, you’ll still get to apply your 5% off from the RedCard. So basically, it’s buy one get one 55% off.
  4. Having the card also gives you the benefit of free shipping on on almost all items! So, you get the in store and online benefit, the 5% off applies to both.


And now for my cheat sheet—below are the items that I buy only at Target. (These are the items that are on my list each month, not exactly the “fun purchases,” if you know what I mean. Toilet paper and dog food can only be so exciting.)

  1. Formula –  Enfamil Premium Formula – $25.99
  2. Diapers – Pampers Cruisers, Size 3, 120 ct. – $28.69
  3. Paper Towels – Bounty Printed Paper Towels, 6 ct. – $9.19
  4. Dove Soap – Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Soap, 8 ct. – $9.39
  5. Toilet Paper  – Quilted Northern Ultra Plush 12 Rolls – $6.99
  6. Cleaning Products – Clorox Wipes, 3 pk – $9.99
  7. Dog Food – Purina Dog Food, 8 lb Bag – $10.18

Total Before Target RedCard: $100.42

Total w/ RedCard Discount: $95.40

So, I saved $5 by doing nothing. I didn’t apply coupons or any Cartwheel deals that were going on—I saved that money by simply swiping my RedCard.

As a side note, I always hear people say Amazon is the cheapest place to buy things, but, newsflash: I did a price comparison (because I’m a nerd) of the items above, and the total was $100.66. No 5% off and no free shipping (unless you have Prime) like you get with the RedCard.

There you have it! The Target Card has changed the way I shop. And this probably goes without saying, but it’s also wonderful to use on the non-chore items like their housewares, clothes, kids clothes, shoes, and makeup. Y’all, can we just agree that Target is the best?