Self-Imposed Target Cleanse


Confession: I haven’t been to Target since February 29th.  I know it’s crazy right?  How could such a thing be true?  Well this is the current truth in our household and before you think that I live remotely in the jungles of Africa let me tell you how we got to this place.

Long before I limited myself of the pleasures that is the big red bulls eye, Target and I had a lovely relationship.  Un-conditional, steadfast, and non-judgmental, Target was the perfect special friend.  We met each other often throughout the week and enjoyed our visits no matter what life was throwing at me.  Target was un-phased by my disheveled looks as I scurried to the children’s medicine aisle minutes before close in order to retrieve the necessary fever reducer for my two year old.  On another occasion Target never judged when, with the change of season, I purchased an entire set of all new outdoor throw pillows for lawn furniture we didn’t yet own.  The bottom line was that with its extra wide aisles and in-house Starbucks combined with the cute clothes and accessories all on top of necessary household items, Target was everything I ever wanted.

Except the price tag. 

It’s an under written rule in life that it is absolutely impossible to leave Target without spending at least $100.   So while Target was wonderful to me, with at least one visit a week it was an expensive relationship to maintain.  So we broke up, temporarily.

It started as a game: could I go just one week without visiting Target?  It would be hard but I would challenge myself and amazingly I could.  One week led to two and now I am on week SIX.  The detox was intense though, I found myself driving by just to see if I could inhale the intoxicating scent they must pump through the air conditioning system.  (Sadly, I could not.)  I would hear other friends say that they just had to stop in at Target to grab, “just a few things” and I found myself yearning inside that I could travel along with them.

The first test in my self-imposed Target-cleanse came when my eldest son was invited to a birthday party.  I felt compelled to shop at Target for the gift.  Where else could I find a necessary and appropriate gift for a 4 year old?   This would be my out, my breaking point; in my mind there was no other option.  Unfortunately for me, my husband was in on my abstinence and was more than eager to help me in my fight to remain pure from a nonsensical Target purchase.  I would have to choose another store to purchase the child’s gift.  I was amazed to find that there are in fact other establishments that offer multiple kinds of items in one place!  Fascinating.  These other stores weren’t as nice or welcoming as Target but they offered me what I needed and I didn’t spend extra time aimlessly wandering the aisles.  I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, purchased only what I needed, and spent significantly less than $100.

As in all recoveries it has gotten easier but the cravings still remain.  Six weeks in though and I am feeling strong.  The validation (and utter shock) came at the end of the month last month when, are you ready for this? We saved 500 DOLLARS from our household and grocery budget.  I wasn’t sure whether to be elated or embarrassed that my relationship with Target had gotten so extreme.  We gladly pocketed that extra cash and I am already half way to a whole other month of savings.

I’m sure I will return to Target.  One day.  Of course I really want to sooner than later but this little game of self-control and perseverance I have created with myself is very satisfying.  I have found other ways and stores to purchase the things I need and surprisingly enough my home (and I) did just fine without a new pillow or lamp or candle or plate…or, well, you get the idea.

When I am ready and can exhibit a little more self-control, I will be back.

Maybe I should bring a sponsor with me.


  1. Oh, you’re so much braver than I am! QQ – where did you shop for the stuff you actually needed like cleaning supplies? That’s my weakness: we need 409 and then OH I LOVE THOSE SHOES! I keep thinking I need to venture to – gasp – Walmart for cleaning stuff, but haven’t broken it off yet with Target. Oh and than darn dollar section gets me every time! $20 later of squirt guns and beach balls for Baylor’s birthday that is 2 months away…we need a support group!

    • It was hard but satisfying too!

      I purchased my household goods at Walgreens (yup, it’s true. They actually have pretty good weekly specials on paper products that you don’t need a coupon for) and Walmart.

      Grocery Shopping was and most likely will always be at Trader Joe’s and the pantry items came from Bashas or Walmart.

  2. Nice work! My Target cleanse started when my husband and I carpooled to work and he just wouldn’t pull over on our way home. I was offended at first but soon really surprised at the change in our budget! Good thing this happened too right before moving into a house 1/4 mile from a Target! Great article, Tracy! So applicable to other areas of our lives as well as other stores!

  3. I read this and thought, “$500!? No! She MUST be exaggerating!” Then I paused, looked around my kitchen and began counting up the things I purchased at Target… Let’s just say, I might have a slight addiction as well! Maybe YOU could be MY sponsor! LOVE this post! (But kinda hate it for the obvious reason of adding to my “Target guilt!”)

  4. Thanks Kirsten! It’s amazing isn’t it? I am a little afraid to go back at this point because I just got the newest mailer and I saw all the cute spring shoes! One day at a time…

  5. Your headline caught my eye because it’s my birthday next week and one of the things I’m doing for myself is breaking up with target. 🙂 it took guts to write this. thanks!


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