Cracking the price code: how to save money when you shop

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How do you know you’re getting the best bargain when you go shopping?

One woman reports to have cracked the price code, which can potentially save consumers money.

Sandra Hanna is CEO of Smart Cookies, an online site that provides money and personal finance advice.

"If you’re looking for money advice, and personal finance help that doesn’t make you tear up in boredom, and that instead – lights your fire and inspires you to afford a life that’s worth loving, then you are in the right spot. Because we’re about giving you real tips, sparks of inspiration and advice (you can actually use) to do just that,” the website states.

Hanna posted a blog that details where the savings are according to how the prices end. Read the full blog here.

FOX 31 News in Denver spoke with Hanna and about cracking the price code. See the full story in the video above.

Hanna starts her blog by explaining what a price means when it ends in .99.

According to the blog, this isn’t a deal. These are known as “charm prices,” and the trick has been around for decades.

“Since people read from left to right, they are more likely to register the first number and make an immediate judgment as to whether the price is reasonable. So consumers think they are getting a great deal, when this is just regular price,” the blog states.

Hanna provided examples of prices she decoded from a few popular retailers. See the list below:


Regular price: ends in .99

Cheapest price: ends in .97 (or sometimes .88 or .00)

Also at Costco, look for an asterisk (*), which means the item won’t be reordered. Hanna suggests to buy these items when they go on clearance, which is when the price ends in .97. 

Gap, Old Navy

Regular price: varies

Cheapest price: ends in .*7


Regular price: ends in .99

Cheapest price: ends in .88 or .97


Regular price: price tag has letter A, I, or P

Cheapest price: price tag has letter C or F


Regular price: ends in .*9

Cheapest price: ends in .*4


1 Comment

  • miles (dave)

    forever now when i shop for food i rarely look at the price tag instead i look at the price per pound/ounce. most stores have them they are smaller but they are there, and in the rare situation where its not there ill crack the price per pound/ounce on a few items by hand. thats how i know if im getting the best bang for my buck.

    this works when choosing between different brands and different products (ie. ground turkey or ground beef) but if i care to compare stores with each other then ill check the item or a few items on the stores websites. but anymore if im going for food then its winco. i heart winco

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