Secret to getting the best deals; Cheat sheet included - CBS46 News

Secret to getting the best deals; Cheat sheet included

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How can you tell if an item is full price or as low as it can go? The answer may be staring you right in the face.

"There's a lot of little tricks to looking at the price tag to figure out what kind of deal you're getting," said Kyle James, creator of the site Rather Be Shopping.

James came up with a cheat sheet based on insider information from 15 different retailers.

"You go into a store and tend to only look at the dollars, but this tip is actually about looking at the cents," he said.

For instance, at Costco, prices ending in 97, 88 or double zero mean the item has been marked down.

"If you see the .97, you know immediately that's a clearance item. But if you see that asterisk in the top corner, that means it's not coming back into the warehouse," James said.

CBS46 went undercover to put the cheat sheet to the test.

The asterisk strategy checked out at Costco. And at Sam's Club, you want to look for stickers with the letter "C." That means it's a canceled item, so it's the best possible price.

But a clearance sticker at Target doesn't always mean the price has hit rock bottom. You want to look at the tiny number on the upper right hand corner of the clearance sticker. If it says 50, the item is 50 percent off and the price could be marked down as low as 90 percent.

At American Eagle Outfitters, an employee said, "Anything you find in our store ending with .95 is full price. Normally, 99 cents is clearance and then double zero would be promotional."

Nothing fishy going on at Petsmart. Their clearance tags are plain as day. Prices that end in seven are reduced cost or clearance items.

And no code-cracking necessary at Old Navy or Pier One either. Clearance items at both stores are clearly marked with orange or red tags, respectively.

But employees at Home Depot and Sears were stumped. Both debunked the price code cheat sheet.

Keep in mind that even if you crack the right code, the savings don't have to end there.

"So many of these stores have coupons out there, monthly, weekly offers that you can combine them on top of cracking the code and you can really maximize your savings," James said.

One code he hasn't cracked yet is Walmart's. That's next on his list.

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