Cracking the price code: You’ll save big money with this information

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DENVER — There may be an easy way for you to stay one step ahead of retailers when it comes to getting the best price? One little number on an item’s price tag could mean the difference in big savings for you.

It’s called the price code — a system retailer have used for years.

It’s a secret the retailers don’t really want you to know about, and it’s a secret they’ve used for years as a way to monitor their inventory.

“Once you arm yourself with that information, you find yourself more conscious of it, and you`ll notice it on all the price tags,” Sandra Hanna, CEO of said. She’s made a career out of saving people money.

She spills her secrets on her blog. “Smart Cookies is a place to go for inspiration on how to save money.”

One of her more popular posts decodes big store price tags.


“You want to look for that number 4 at the end of the price tag … that`s it … it`s not going to go any lower than that,” Hanna said.

  • Wait to buy if price ends in 9
  • Maybe buy if price ends in 6 or 8, but it could go lower
  • Buy now if it ends in 4

Knowing when items get marked down can save you multiple trips to the store. “So, I can check in on Monday … and if there`s an item I really want … I see it on clearance, great. Or I can wait for the following Monday to see if it`s still there and it`ll be marked down even more.

Markdown schedule:

  • Monday: Baby items, children’s clothing, electronics, office supplies, gift wrap, stationary
  • Tuesday: Home decor, women’s clothing, domestic items
  • Wednesday: Food, health and beauty items, men’s clothing, toys, garden items
  • Thursday: Lingerie, housewares, sporting goods, shoes, luggage
  • Friday: Cosmetics, jewelry, hardware, automotive, home improvement


At Costco, look for prices that end in .97. There is also an asterisk that appears on the price tag to indicate an item is going to be discontinued, and the price will fall even more.

“If you see that asterisks and the .97, stock up and run for the hills because you`re getting the best deal possible!” Hanna said.

Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic

All of these Gap, Inc. stores follow the same pricing system. Prices ending in the following digits all mean sale — go ahead and make that purchase:

  • .47
  • .49
  • .97
  • .99

Consider it a transfer of power from the retailers straight into your wallet. “If you`re a more empowered shopper, I think that`s a great feeling. It always feels good to save money!”


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