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Sticker price

Sticker price is a money term you need to understand. Here’s what it means.

What is sticker price?

Sticker price is the base price of an item, including the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the manufacturer’s installed options, the manufacturer’s destination charge and the fuel economy (mileage). It is on the Mulroney label affixed to the car window and is required by federal law. The label may not be removed by anyone other than the purchaser.

Deeper definition

While sticker price is most commonly referred to as the price affixed to a car by the manufacturer. But the term is not exclusive to the auto industry. Colleges use the term sticker price to refer to the total yearly cost of an individual’s education. This includes:

  • Tuition.
  • Books.
  • Room and board.
  • Campus and lab fees.

When a student receives a financial aid report, the report lists the sticker price and then makes adjustments, according to student need and any scholarships or grants that he or she receives.

When it comes to cars, sticker price includes the MRSP, but is not only the MRSP, as some commonly believe. In addition to MRSP, the sticker price of an automobile includes:

  • Transport fees (also known as destination fees).
  • Cost of presale preparation.
  • After-market upgrades.
  • Dealer markups.

Depending on the popularity of a certain make or model, auto dealers may mark up the sticker price significantly to snag the highest paying buyer. Dealers also may artificially raise the sticker price to make any “discounts” offered toward the final bill seem like a good deal.

Sticker price example

If you’re shopping for a car, the posted price on each vehicle is its sticker price. A sheet is literally stuck to the car window, listing the MSRP. According to federal law, this sticker cannot be removed unless you purchase the car and remove it yourself.

On the college version of sticker price, colleges offer a financial report that includes the sticker price. The sticker price, in turn, lists annual tuition, books, room and board, and other fees.

The financial report subtracts any student aid the person is receiving from the sticker price to arrive at the net price of college attendance.

Not sure whether you should pay sticker price? Learn more about how to avoid mistakes when taking out a car loan.

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