CLEVELAND -- What if we told you there is a trick to finding out whether you are getting the very best sale price at your favorite store? Once you know these industry secrets you will never look at price tags the same way.

Kyle James, founder of the website called Rather Be Shopping has been researching retail pricing strategies. "A few months ago, I got a tip on Target from a consumer shopper saying, 'Hey, I realize at Target if it ends in .99, it's full price. If it ends in .98, .88 or .04, that's a clearance price with a change for it to go down even further,"" James explains when we talked to him via Skype.

He said too many shoppers look at the dollars on a price tag. His work teaches you to look at the cents and symbols.

A few months of work and after making more contacts at other retailers, James has now "cracked the code" at 12 stores. Kohl's is the newest addition to the list. "If you know the last 2 digits of the price you can figure out if you are getting a good deal or wait a little bit longer and see if it will go even more on sale," says James. Here is a sample of what he showed us.

Costco Wholesale

  • Price ends in .99 = full retail price
  • Price ends in .00, .88 or .97 = markdown
  • Price ends in .49, .79, or .89 = limited-time manufacturer's discount
  • Asterisk in upper corner of price tag = best price on discontinued item

"It's all about the asterisk. If you see that asterisk it means it's a discontinued item. And 9 times out of 10 it's a clearance price," says James.

Home Depot

  • Price ends in .06 = best price
  • Green price tag = best price


  • Price tag ends in .99 = full retail price
  • Price ends in .98 = markdown
  • Price ends in .04 = final markdown

James also urges shoppers to keep an eye out for a tiny number in the top right hand corner of the Target price tag. "You see 15, 30, 75 or 90 and what that tells you is the percent off the original price," James says.


  • Price ends in .99 = full retail price
  • Price ends in .97 = discontinued item on clearance
  • Price ends in .88 = best price

Office Depot

  • Price ends in .00, .05, or .99 = full retail price
  • Price ends in any other number = best price

Old Navy & Gap

  • Price ends in .47, .49, .97. or .99 = best price

James has put together a "cheat sheet', that you can print out and tuck in your wallet. Get yours by clicking here. He's not done cracking the code and has one particular store on his radar. "The big one is Walmart. I got a couple of tips on Walmart and went into the store to verify them and they didn't really pan out. So that's a big one that I'm trying to crack," James says.

Here are links to

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