Cracking the pricing code: Price tag secrets will save you money - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Cracking the pricing code: Price tag secrets will save you money

Target price tags feature a tiny "15," "30," "50," "75" or "90" in the upper right-hand corner. Target price tags feature a tiny "15," "30," "50," "75" or "90" in the upper right-hand corner.
Kohl's price tags with a small "GV" in the upper right-hand corner signify a "Great Value." Kohl's price tags with a small "GV" in the upper right-hand corner signify a "Great Value."
An "S" in the corner of a Kohl's price tag indicates a sale. An "S" in the corner of a Kohl's price tag indicates a sale.
A Costco price tag with a “97” and an asterisk indicates a big sale. A Costco price tag with a “97” and an asterisk indicates a big sale.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

You see what you think is important on price tags; "half off," "clearance," "big discounts." Turns out, you may be looking right past the most important thing on the tag.

Shopping expert Kyle James of Rather-be-shopping.com says the real deal lies in the last two numbers of a price or with a code in the upper right hand corner of the tag.

"By being able to crack the code, you can figure out, 'is it full price? Is it markdown? Is it going to get marked down even more?" said James.  

Take Target for example.  Every clearance sticker will have a 15, 30, 50, 75 or 90 in the corner, signifying the discount percentage. But there's the secret.

"If you're shopping at Target and they have a bunch of stuff on clearance, that's 15 percent, you know every 10 to 14 days, according to the Target store employee that I talked to, they're going to mark that thing down again," said James.

According to James's research, Target marks its clearance items down every 10 to 14 days. That means if a product is 30 percent off now, it will be 50 percent off in 10 to 14 days. Good to know if you can hold off on the purchase and if there are a lot in stock.

"At Target, we use a number of different factors to determine the price for an item. The ending digit of a clearance price is determined by several factors including the original retail price and the applied percentage discount. It is not possible to determine the final markdown or timing of the price change from the item's current price," Target said in a statement.

At Costco, James says anything ending in ‘99' is full price. With no sales signs, the codes are harder to spot at the membership-only retailer.

James says to look for tags that have the 97 and an asterisk. That indicates a big sale.
"Typically it's 20 to 30 percent, sometimes 40 to 50 percent cheaper than anywhere else you're going to find it. You really don't know what's on sale, so being able to use that information, you can figure out where your best value is and in turn you're going to save the most money," said James.

Finally, James has some dirt for Kohl's shoppers. He says codes are found in the upper right hand corner of digital price tags.

"Usually they're letters, like 'GV,' which means 'Great Value.' That's typically a limited time price drop. You might see 'S.' That's a sale price that might last for a week or two," said James.  
For 'Great Value' merchandise, James advises to buy it then if you like the price. For sales, you typically have a week or two. There's also the elusive 'NM' – called the "holy grail" of code savings at Kohl's.

"The one thing you really want to look for is 'NM.' That means 'New Markdown.' The employee told me that means that either that night or the following morning, they're going to mark that product down," said James. "So, if you're shopping at Kohl's, you're about to buy something and you see that 'NM,' wait, come back the next day. You're going to save some money."

These codes aren't 100 percent fool proof, but it's a great guide. Knowing these codes allows you to time your purchases and get the best prices.

Check out more price codes and shopping tips at http://www.rather-be-shopping.com/blog/.

Download and print a pocket-sized code guide here.

We reached out to all the retailers in our story. Kohl's and Costco did not respond to our request for comment on whether customers can use these codes to predict discounts.

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Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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