Cracking the Price Codes: How to Interpret Sale Price Tags

(WXIA) -- If you like bargains, chances are you love hitting a good clearance sale, and you hate paying full price!

There are some ways to decipher price tags so you'll know whether to pounce on what seems ike a bargain or wait till it gets even better at Target,Costco and Home Depot.

At Target nearly all items that are full retail price end with the number 00 or 99. The big savings are on clearance items, which are usually displayed on shelves at the end of the aisle called endcaps, or in the rear of the store, according to Buckhead store manager Ron McCoy.

"Anything that ends in the number eight is a clearance price," he said.

Target's clearance sales usually start at 30 percent off, then go to 50, then 70 and sometimes even 90. Each clearance price tag has a tiny number in the upper right hand corner indicating the percentage off the original price.

McCoy said the markdown schedule varies depending on what is selling well in each particular store.

At Home Depot some of the best bargains in the store are those with bright green price tags. They are often brand new, specially ordered items customers have returned, or models that are from last season. They often sell very quickly, according to Buckhead Store Manager Matthew Mattiace. If you see a sign in Home Depot that reads "New Low Price" it's a temporary markdown that' will last for anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

For items marked "Special Buy," get it while you can! "Special Buys are exclusive items that are brought into Home Depot that are only going to available for a limited time. We get them in limited quantities and once we sell all the limited quantity we are sold out," said Mattiace.

Len Rapoport is a Consumer Advocate, Journalist and Publisher of the online magazine in New York who says he has figured out Costco's markdown system. "You can easily save 90 percent off original prices," he said. Rapoport said at Costco, most regular priced items end with the number nine.

"If it ends in 97, 88 or 00 it's a markdown price. If you see an asterisk on the top of the price tag that means it's a discontinued item they're not going to get back," he said. Rapoport warns not all markdowns are created equal. He said some items may be marked down by only a few dollars so before you purchase even a closeout item, use your smart phone or iPad to comparison shop with sites like Amazon. For more details about Rapoport's Costco secrets click on this Hub Page Article.

We contacted Costco's Corporate Office in Seattle, Washington to try to confirm Rapoport's research but didn't hear back from them.


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