California Dad Says He's Cracked the Code to Smart Shopping

Catherine Woodling, a spokeswoman for Home Depot said the information in James' blog about the do-it-yourself store is not accurate. She said that if you’re looking for the best buy in the store, customers should look for the “New Low Price” tags, which remain at that price for 90 days. She also recommends you keep an eye out for “Special Buy” both in store and online, which is "as low as the item is going to go."

"Green tags are returned special order items, so there won’t be anything else like it in the store, but they're not necessarily close-outs or discontinued products," she said.

James acknowledges “none of this stuff is an exact science,” and only one store, Costco, has confirmed his information, he said.

He said Home Depot’s green tag was indeed in place when he in fact worked at The Home Depot, but he said he is constantly learning about new pricing systems from employees.

James founded Rather-Be-Shopping.com in 2001 and began working on it full time in 2003. The goal of the site is to help consumers save money with online and in-store coupons, the father of three children said.

He said he discovered pricing systems when he heard of a local news story about Target and its pricing systems. After more research, he said, "Then I hit the stores and started talking to employees and was able to crack the code at even more stores."

The Costco price tag code was first discovered back in 2009 by a writer named Len Rapoport, and he updated his findings last month after his article was widely distributed online.

In general, James advises looking for coupons online, but he never recommends buying something just because it's a good deal or on clearance.

"That surely is a recipe for a life of over-spending and credit card debt," he said.

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