There are certain words a man can say to a woman and he instantly has her attention. Two of those words are most certainly 'shoes' and 'clearance'.

As I sat with a group of ladies at a recent Mardi Gras function,I came to realize that shopping to a woman is the same as hunting is to a man. Sorry for the blatantly sexist observation but I am only reporting what I saw.

I suppose the difference  is that women don't have to spend a lot of money to prepare to go shopping whereas men feel the need to buy every gadget and toy on the market just to prepare to pull out of the driveway. For the ladies the ammo is loaded into little plastic cards with magnetic strips, not pellets loaded into little plastic shells.

That leads me to this, like a good tracker in the forest, a good shopper can read the subtle signs in the store that lead them right to their prey.Like the avid hunter can turn a broken branch and a fresh track into a trophy buck, the experienced tag reader can tell an awful lot about how much money there is to be saved and when is the absolute best time to buy.

Ladies and gentleman I offer you the key to reading the secret code of the price tag at your neighborhood Target store. Think of this as the Da Vinci Code for shopping at Target.

The first thing you should understand is that every price tag tells a story. A story that is a lot more than just how much something cost. I am sure each major retailer has their own system but let's focus on the Target clearance items. Any full priced item at Target will have a price that ends in "9". That is a marketing ploy that almost all retailers use because $15.99 looks a lot less than $16.00 to most shoppers.

Now let's talk about markdowns and price reduction. When an item goes on clearance at Target the first markdown is usually 15%. You can tell exactly how much the item has been marked down by looking at the upper right hand corner of the red clearance tag. If you see the number 15 it is marked down 15%. The price of the item will also end in the number 8.

If you look closely at the red clearance tag you might notice a number 30,50, 75 or even 90! The number corresponds to the percentage off that product is being sold for and you will then notice the price of the item ends in the number 6.

The next question the savvy Target shopper will want to know is this, How do I know when the item has been marked as low as its going to go? The standard store policy is to mark down items and hold them at that price for two weeks. You could set a reminder in your phone to check back and see if the item has been marked down again or you could look for the number 4.

If the last number in the price of the item is a 4 and the item has been marked for clearance, that is as low as Target is willing to go. Seasonal items, for instance anything that is branded with a holiday oriented label, back to school, or summertime theme are the only items that go to 90%. These items start at 30% and progress to 90% usually within 2 weeks time.They are not individually marked, they all take the same percentage at the same time.

You also need to know that different departments do price mark downs on different days . So look for those numbers in the price and be sure to check the upper right hand corner of the clearance tag so you will know just how much money you are saving because you are smart enough to visit 973 The Dawg's website.