If you’ve ever stood in line at Costco, wondering how your “quick trip” for one thing resulted in an overflowing cart, then you might be excused for wondering if saving money is more of a metaphysical concept than a reflection of the real world.

But before you reconsider that mega-box of organic protein bars, you might want to know that there are a few secrets to getting the most out of your trip to the famous warehouse store. Crack the code to the price tags, and you’ll know that you’re really getting a deal.

According to Country Living, the clues to the best bargains at Costco are right there on the tag. For example, while most products you see will have a price ending in “9”— as in $9.99 or $5.49 — if that number is different, you could be looking at a secret sale.

Costco Insider says that items with a price ending in .97 have been marked down for clearance in an effort to sell that product as quickly as possible. If necessary, the price will continue to be cut — though always ending in .97 — to try to move it off the shelves.

Another sign of a bargain is a price ending in .00 or .88.

Those are indications of manager’s markdown, which not only means a good deal, but makes it a good bet that they are the last items in stock.

If you have a favorite product that keeps bringing you back to the store, you’ll also want to look out for a star on the tag.

That little asterisk in the corner means that the product is leaving Costco and won’t be stocked again. If there’s ever a time to justify buying three cases of your favorite lotion, this is it.


Of course none of this can help you figure out what possessed you to buy ten pounds of avocados, but at least you’ll know when there’s a great deal to be had.

If only there was a secret to scoring the best free samples before the other shoppers beat you to it.

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