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Save money with retailer secret price tag codesHow have I been in the dark about this for so long?

A while ago, I wrote about Target’s markdown schedule. In looking for ways to save money at other stores, I decided to see if there were any other retailer “secret price codes.” Turns out, there are a ton. Most stores have their own system for tracking inventory and sales. Many times, this system is revealed right there on the price tags.

In case you’ve been in the dark, too, I thought I’d round up some of the most popular stores’ price tag codes. Enjoy, my fellow bargain hunters.


Check the price tag on that marked down cardigan. What’s the last number? According to CBS Pittsburgh, “a price ending with a seven is a final markdown.” So if you see a different number, chances are, the price will be marked down even more. This system applies to Old Navy, too.

In fact, Consumerist says seven is the magic number for many retailers.

More on Brokepedia5 sneaky retail tricks

Save money with retailer secret price codes

Home Depot

At Home Depot, sale prices ending in six indicate a final markdown, consumer expert Michele Ashamalla told CBS.

Okay, it’s not like I’m at Home Depot often, but it’s worth a look-through next time I’m on the hunt for, I don’t know, a hammer or whatever.

Office Depot

Yes, Office Depot has a clearance section. And it’s spectacular. I once found a bunch of adorable desk frames for 0.25 cents a piece. I used them as party favors for a 4th of July shindig we threw. I scour their clearance section like a hipster at a used record store. So this is good to know:

At Office Depot, if the price doesn’t end in a 0,9 or 5, it’s a final markdown.

More on Brokepedia:  Modcloth’s cheaper online dopplegangers 


Seems like a good deal.

Okay, I’m not a Costco member. My nearest Costco is an impossible @#%!ing madhouse, and we don’t have the room for 500 rolls of toilet paper, anyway. But I know a lot of you are members (hi, Mom!), so I thought I’d toss Costco into the mix. Here are Costco’s price tag codes, cracked, according to Lifehacker.

  • 99: Full price
  • 97, 88, 00: Marked down
  • Asterisk: Clearance
  • 79, 49, 89: Manufacturer specials


Bam. A great way to save money on already discounted goods.


I’m convinced office supply stores have the best clearance sections. A couple of years ago, I needed a new desk, so I went to Staples to consider my options. I decided to check out the clearance section, and I’m glad I did. I found the most awesome easel desk for an amazing price: $15. Yep. If you’re looking to save money, definitely check out the Staples sales rack.

And, even cooler, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s ‘Public Investigator’ section decoded the following price tag code from Staples:

  • A,I,P: Regular price
  • C: Marked down
  • F: Final markdown


Ah, I love sales. And inside information on sales? Even better.

Photos by Neff Conner,  Nic & Rich Magahiz.

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18 comments… add one

  • MelodyO January 13, 2014, 3:09 pm

    I had no idea these store codes existed! Thanks for letting us know, and congrats on your fun new blog. :0D

    • Kristin Wong January 13, 2014, 4:46 pm

      Thanks! Glad I wasn’t the only one in the dark :) The info has come in handy a few times already!

  • penny January 16, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Wow, didn’t know about these. Thanks for sharing…especially, the Costco codes, I and a lot of my co-workers just signed up for membership

  • Simple Money Concept March 2, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Yes! Secrets revealed!

  • CHRIS March 15, 2014, 6:44 pm

    Thank you, thank you Kristen

    Keep writing these awesome articles. Give us all the scoop on saving tons of money.

    Thanks again

    • Kristin Wong March 16, 2014, 8:53 am

      Aw, shucks. Thank you for the comment! And thanks for reading. Be sure to bookmark and subscribe and come on back!

  • bargain shopper March 15, 2014, 8:22 pm

    As someone who worked retail for 10 years I really appreciate this article. These are tips that can help make a big difference in the bottom line for consumers. I HATE paying full retail.

    • Kristin Wong March 16, 2014, 8:54 am

      Oh, you and I both! I’m all about bargain shopping. Glad ya liked the article :)

  • RR March 31, 2014, 4:04 pm

    Every bit of help in decoding allows for a savings. Thanks.

  • AJA April 2, 2014, 6:16 pm

    Just found your site/blog and signed up for the newsletters. The Costco pix is especially hilarious to me because that is where I met my husband. We met at a sample station and talked throughout the store. This year will be out 10th anniversary.

    • Kristin Wong April 3, 2014, 8:40 am

      Bawww that’s so adorable. That pic is perfect, then ha! Thanks so much for stopping by and signing up. Glad to have you here!

  • crochet girl April 11, 2014, 8:16 am

    Love this article. Missed the Target store. That is one of the stores that is near me.
    I never pay full price unless it is a last minute necessity.

    • Kristin Wong April 14, 2014, 9:55 am

      I’m with you! And yes, definitely check out the Target post. :)

  • Steve in CHGO May 8, 2014, 2:15 pm

    Snopes.Com (the most respected myth busting site) investigated this story in January of this year. Some of these codes are true, some are false, and some are only rough guidelines. Just because SOMEBODY posted it on their website does not guarantee it’s true. To find out the truth, you must go to a primary source. For example, ask an employee at the store in question.

    • Kristin Wong May 8, 2014, 5:05 pm

      Well, isn’t Snopes a website, too? 😉

      Yeah, I filtered out the more suspect codes and only added the ones that I’ve either experienced myself or researched from a respected source (Consumerist, Lifehacker, etc.)

      • Steve in CHGO May 9, 2014, 6:45 am

        In that case I owe you an apology. It sounds like you performed “due diligence.” The world needs more people like you. As for Snopes, they always provide footnotes listing their sources.

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