Cracking the price tag code could save money at popular stores - WNEM TV 5

Cracking the price tag code could save money at popular stores

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

How would you like to walk into a store and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you're getting the absolute best deal? A California man says he's figured out how to do that at 15 of the nation's top retailers.

It all comes down to the price tag.

Most of us only glance at the price tag to find out how much something costs. But it seems there are hidden clues in the price tags that can help you get the best deal if you know how to decipher them.

"If you know what you're looking for, you can really save some money. It's a really cool thing for consumers," said Kyle James, from "Rather Be Shopping."

James is a self-proclaimed coupon nerd who says he's "cracked the code" when it comes to pricing for places like Target, Costco, Home Depot and a dozen other retailers. He says what may look like random numbers and letters aren't really random at all.

"You can tell if you're paying full price, if you're paying a clearance price, might it go down even more?" James said.

At Target, for example, clearance stickers always grab people's attention. Clearance prices at Target start at 15 percent and go up to 90 percent.

"Up in the upper right-hand corner, this is what you want to look for: it says 50. That means it's 50 percent off of the original price," James said.

Costco has a different method. Prices ending in "99" are full price. Those ending in "97" are all discounted merchandise, and if you see an asterisk, better act fast because it's a close out.

"The asterisk, combined with the 97 tells you that it's a clearance price - something that's not coming back," James said.

At stores like Old Navy, PetSmart and Pier One, their clearance items are all clearly marked that way, meaning you don't really need a code.

National mom blogger Amy Harvey is familiar with code breaking and says, really, anyone can do it.

"You can kind of take the sheet and just start going through it and piecing it together just like a puzzle. And you may get more involved and in-depth than what he's done," said Harvey, from "MyMusicCityMommy.com."

For example, Kohl's uses digital shelf tags with "NM" for new markdown, "GV" for great value or "BB," meaning the price will be dropped only for a limited time.

And if you really want to get a good deal, keep this word in mind: stacking.

"If you want to fully utilize it to your full potential, you can go and find a deal and still stack a coupon, or a mobile coupon potential with that. So that gives you an even better price than just clearance," Harvey said.

For more information on cracking the price tag code, visit: http://www.rather-be-shopping.com/blog/2013/09/24/retailers-big-secret-crack-the-price-tag-code/.

And you can find printable coupons to many popular stores by visiting: http://www.couponsherpa.com/printable-coupons/stores/.

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