We all know that a $19.99 shirt is not $19—it's $20. But somehow, prices ending with .77 cents and .88 cents set off a different reaction in our mind. When our brain sees those numbers on a price tag, it thinks we're getting a spectacular savings (and we might be...but we just as well might not). Retailing expert Mark Ellwood
, author of the forthcoming book Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World
, says this is neuroeconomics at work. Something about such a specific number suggests that the price has been calculated exactly against the cost of making that item, but it's really just a selling tactic, says Ellwood. You may not necessarily be saving money.