There’s nothing quite like the thrill of stocking up on barrels of your favorite bulk-items at Costco. A lifetime supply of Honey Nut Cheerios? Costco’s got your back. Blocks upon blocks of your favorite cheeses? Look no further than the hallowed warehouse walls.

And we needn’t mention the sheer joy that comes with being able to re-stock your at-home bar, while also being able to pick up a prescription or see the optician … all in one trip.

What many Costco enthusiasts aren’t aware of, however, are the secret codes hidden in the price tags. Allow us to explain.

Cracking the Costco code

When you’re looking at a Costco price tag, the last two digits are the most important.

According to Reader’s Digest, when you’re looking at the price tag of an item at Costco, the last two digits are the most important. That’s because these numbers will help you get the best bargain, and make sure you’re not spending extra money on products that could be further marked down in the near future.

Any item that ends with a nine is most likely a regularly priced product, which means you’re not getting much of a deal. Further, items ending with $0.97 are the general markdowns. You can stock up on them. And lastly, if you notice a price tag that ends in $0.88 or an even dollar, know that this is an item that’s been marked down by a local manager who wants to clear a product from their store.

Beyond Costco

Richard Levine/Getty Images

The fine folks at Rather Be Shopping compiled a list of how this works at other retailers. At Best Buy, for example, an item that ends in $0.96 was marked down to beat a competitor, while $0.92 usually indicates that it’s a one-time (great) deal. If you see a small “c” in the lower right-hand corner of a price tag, that means the item is no longer stocked — and you might be able to negotiate an even better deal. See lots more store-specific tips and tricks here.

The takeaway

Now that you’re fluent in the language of Costco price tags, you can confidently run free down each aisle with the inner solace that you are indeed getting the best deal you possibly can.

Oh and try not to take it personally when the receipt-checker stops you on your way out the door. No, they don’t think you’re stealing!

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