Cracking the price tag code

The Internet is full of websites and blogs promising to “crack the code” and help you figure out how to get the lowest prices at popular stores.

If you get it right – you can save money!

But there is also a lot of bad information out there. To help, we talked to Kyle James who runs the website He took us store by store.


“If you see a price that ends in 99, you know you’re paying full price,” James told WINK News.
Our research shows that is true – but sometimes also includes some sale items that are slightly discounted.

For bigger savings, the “clearance” signs are a good place to start (obviously), but if they end in 98, 88, 04 or 24 cents, James says, you are getting a better deal.

To figure out how good of a deal you are getting, look at the small number in the upper right corner of the tags. It will tell you how much of a discount you are getting off the full price.

Home Depot

Kyle James says look for prices ending in 6 or 3. Those are clearance items.


James says Kohl’s uses electronic price tags with some price clues in the upper right corner. The letters “GV” and “S” stand for “great value” and “sale”.

But, he says, “NM” stands for “new markdown” and means “they’re going to mark that price down. So wait and come back.. You’re going to get a cheaper price the following day.”

Old Navy and Gap

Our research shows that prices that end in 7 are the lowest. Even if something is marked “clearance” with another ending number, it can get marked down further. An employee confirmed this to WINK News.

Best Buy

James¬†says items ending in 92 or 96 cents are bargains. 96 is “striking gold”, he says. Those are items priced to beat the competition.

Total Wine

The company tells us that prices ending in 7 are items being sold at or near cost. They are the best deals. Sometimes you can’t even use a bundle deal or coupon with them.

BOTTOM LINE: Not all of the companies would confirm what James or our research found. Stores also change pricing strategies frequently. So just because it is true today, doesn’t mean it will be true the next time you shop. But hopefully this can help you save some money.