If you’ve ever left a store spending far more than you planned on, you certainly aren’t alone. It can easy to overlook the simple tactics that retailers use that cause shoppers to overspend. Recognizing some of these things can help you stick to your shopping budget and avoiding any unnecessary purchases:
Bargains, discounts, and limited-time sales
This might be one of the most common tactics that retailers use that cause people to overspend. Next time you notice any steeply discounted items that are just too good of a deal to pass up, ask yourself how much you really need or want the item. Even if it’s a fantastic deal, it’s still money wasted if it’s something you really didn’t need. And this cost can quickly add up if you’re buying a lot of stuff that’s on sale. Retailers are also known for creating a sense of urgency, and stressing that a certain product will be at an all-time low price for a limited time, and that once the deal is over, it’s over for good. Taking advantage of sale prices can certainly be a good way to save money, but only if it’s for merchandise that you already planned on purchasing.
Jumbo-sized shopping carts
Some stores will offer jumbo-sized shopping carts, which can trick shoppers into thinking they’re not purchasing as much as they are. But the reality is that by filling up one of these carts, it could be the same as filling up two or three regular-sized carts. Keep this in mind next time you’re shopping somewhere and the carts seem a little bit bigger than usual. If you’re just picking up a few things, try using a small shopping basket instead.
It’s no coincidence that some of the pricier items tend to be placed on store shelves at eye-level. Because of this, you are more likely to buy the first option you see, which can be the more expensive option. Cheaper items and generic brands will frequently be at the very bottom or the very top of a shelf, so be sure to scan all your options first before making your selection.
Engaging the senses
Most retailers will use even the subtlest of ways to appeal to consumers and get them to buy more. This includes the lighting, the songs that they play, and even the smells—often from flowers, food, perfume, and so on. This may not be an easy one to avoid, but by being aware of it, you may be able to control your urge to spend more.
Pricing items one cent short of a whole number may be a pretty well-known tactic, but it is a very effective one. After all, an item that is priced at $99.99 sounds a lot better than $100.00, but the fact is, it’s still a hundred dollars. Another pricing tactic is advertising sale prices that actually aren’t that great of deals. For example, a store may say that if you buy two of one item, you get the third free. But receiving one-third off the retail price isn’t that good of a bargain, unless you’re stocking up on something that you really need anyway.
Pricy checkout items
From magazines to overpriced snacks, the checkout area is always filled with a lot of little items for those final purchases—things that you didn’t really need or would’ve otherwise spent money on. Next time you’re in a long checkout line, focus on something else to avoid adding even more items to your cart.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, legal, or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.