How to Read the Secret Language of Price Tags at 20 Favorite Stores

Price tags can actually hold a lot more information than just the price.

It can also indicate how long the item will be on sale and if it’s already at the lowest price.

Of course, this information isn’t supposed to be for you, the buyer, but if you learn to read the secret language of price tags that are meant for retailer’s systems, you can save big.

1. Target

Prices that end in 4 or 8 mean that the item is on clearance. (e.g. $6.24)

But there are two kinds of price cuts. Permanent and temporary.

You can tell the difference if the word “temporary” is on the tag, and this means that the price will go back up within 14 days. So grab it if you like the price!

Also at the very top right corner of the tag, you can see a number there. This means how much you’re truly saving on clearance items. If you see a tiny 30 in the top right, that means you’re saving 30% off the product’s original price.

📲 🤑 BONUS: Save even more on Target purchases when you download Ibotta, the cash back app via iOS App Store or Google Play Store.

2. TJ Maxx

A yellow price tag means that price will be as low as it’ll ever go! So if you like it, grab it as quick as you can.

3. Ulta

Make your way to the back of the store and look for products that have a red tag. These items either aren’t selling well or they’re trying to make way for new inventory, which results in clearance items of up to 75%!

Most of the time, you’ll find these only in the store versus online.

4. Home Depot

If the price ends in 3, that means the price is the lowest it’ll go.

Look at the date the tag was printed. Three weeks after the printed date, the item will be removed from shelves and then either dumped or donated.

If the yellow clearance tag shows a price ending in 6, that means the price will drop again in 6 weeks!

5. Costco

Most of the items at Costco end in a 9 but some will end in a 7 or 0.

7 or 0 mean that they’re either being discontinued or they’re manager markdowns so buy if you like the items.

Even more to consider, if you see an asterisk in the upper right corner of the tag, that means it’s on the chopping block, so you may never see that item again!

6. Macy’s

Look for the Last Act clearance racks that are dispersed throughout the store.

If you see a white tag in the Last Act clearance rack, be sure to get a price check because they’re usually cheaper than the price marked.

Blue tags ending in 3 are second-to-last markdowns (usually in the mid 70% off range) and yellow tags ending in 6 are final markdowns. If blue tag items don’t sell, then they go onto being a yellow tag.

7. Kohl’s

Their LCD price tag screen show what you need to know in the upper right-hand corner.

A square symbol indicates that this item has reached the lowest price of the season and won’t go back down again unless it goes on clearance.

Here are the rest of the codes:

  • BB = Bonus Buy
  • BGH = Buy One, Get One Half Off
  • PP = Product Placement: The sale price is fixed and not a % discount.
  • S = Sale: The item will be on sale for 1- 2 weeks.

8. Gap

Items that are final markdowns and non-returnable end in .97. If that item doesn’t sell for at least a month, more markdown stickers will be slapped on top of it.

Discontinuing items or ones that won’t be made again will end in 7.

9. Old Navy

Clearance tags always end in 7 or 9 but if you see a tag that ends in .47 that means it’s final markdown and it won’t go any lower.

10. Whole Foods

Even though the price tag may say “Buy 2 for $5” you don’t have to buy two items. You can just buy 1 and still get the individual sale price!

11. IKEA

Yellow “Last Chance!” tags mean just that. That item won’t be carried in the store anymore to make room for new inventory. Grab it ASAP if you like it!

12. JCPenney

Anything ending with a 7 means that it’s at an all-time low price. Get it!

13. WinCo Foods

Look for the green “Extra Savings” price tags. These sale prices tend to last approximately three weeks and based on the quantity purchased from the store.

14. American Eagle Outfitters

Items ending with a 0 or 9 mean that the item is on clearance.

15. Michaels

Orange clearance stickers mean that the item is at final markdown or near it.

Green stickers mean it’s a new clearance item and will be marked down to an orange eventually.

16. Banana Republic

Prices ending in .47, .49, .97, or .99 indicate the prices are on clearance.

17. Dick’s Sporting Goods

Clearance items have a price tag ending in .93 or .97.

Full price items end in .00 or .99 so use a coupon for these!

18. PetSmart

If the price ends in a 7, it’s on clearance but may not always mean it’s final. If you can wait, there’s a possibility it can get marked down even further.

19. Office Depot

Full price items end in .00, .50, or .99. Any other variation means that the item is on clearance!

In some cases, you might see an item marked $9.03. The 3 cents isn’t random. It just means that it’s been marked down 3 times. It might also be marked down one more time before it gets taken off the shelves.

20. Sear’s

Note that this is for the store and not the online site. Before buying a big purchase, like electronics, patio furniture, appliances etc, be sure to check for clearance or final markdown.

Avoid prices that end in .99 as that’s full price.

Items that end in .97 is the price of a discontinued item on clearance. It could go down further!

Your best deal is to look for items that end in .88 as that’s the final markdown price.