Cracking the code on store's price tags

HOUSTON -- A professional shopper says he's cracked the code to getting the best deal at popular department stores.

He says you can know if you're paying the lowest price or if something is going to be cheaper the next day.

The key information is right on the price tag.

Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping, a coupon website, says the amount of cents will tell you if what you're buying is on sale, clearance or full price.

"It's great to look at the dollars, but sometimes if you look at the cents, it can tell you what kind of savings you're getting," said Kyle James of Redding, CA.

For example, James says at Target if the price ends in .99 you're paying full price, .98 means it's a markdown and .04 usually means it's a final markdown.

"They will put a bunch of stuff on clearance, and it will be 15 percent off. If you don't need it right away, come back. In a week or two they're going to mark it down to 30 percent and then to 50 percent," explained James.

James says stores like Costco, Home Depot and JC Penney all use the same method.

According to James, at Sears, if a price tag ends in .88 it's the best price and .97 means it's a discontinued item on clearance.

"If I go in and see it, and it's a good deal, that's great, but I'm not going to carry some code in my purse and pull it out," said shopper Julie Hain.

James insists it's not complicated at all once you figure it out.

"Every nickel, dime, penny adds up to a dollar," said shopper Vanessa Smith. "I'm all about saving money in my pocket."

James says, in some cases, you can tell if you'll get a better deal the next day.

He points to an example at Kohl's. The letters NM in the corner of a price tag there means new mark down, and James says the price will drop.

An asterisk in the upper right hand corner of a Costco price tag supposedly means that's the best price the store will ever have.

"Throw a coupon on top of it, and you can really save some money," added James.

These codes have not been confirmed by any major department stores. However, James says current and former employees have helped him crack these price codes.

He hasn't been able to figure out pricing at T.J. Maxx, Walmart and Ross.

Click here for more information and a cheat sheet to the codes that James has figured out.


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