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10 Ways Fashion Stores Manipulate You To Spend More

10 Ways Fashion Stores Manipulate You To Spend More

Fashion stores always seem to be at their peak, particularly around the change of the seasons. When spring turns to summer, out come the shorts and peasant tops. When it turns cooler, the big knits and comfy jeans make their triumphant return.

However, it’s a little-known fact, that fashion stores – heck, the majority of stores – are actively trying to play mind games with you so that you’ll spend more time and money in their establishment. Turns out some fashion tricks are good all year round.

So, if you want to be a little bit savvier about your spending habits, and more importantly keep an eye out for signs that your local fashion store is trying to get you to spend an exorbitant amount more than you need, then check out our top ten sneakiest fashion store tricks being employed.

1. The Clothes Are Designed To Feel Slightly Out of Season

Here’s a doozy of a trick that the fashion stores employ – the clothes there are always designed to feel slightly of season, ensuring you buy more through pressure. Despite the established spring/summer and autumn/winter seasons of clothing, industry insiders have confirmed that micro-trends exist on a weekly basis, transforming the way fashion stores and their shoppers operate on a weekly basis.

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This means that shoppers are pressured, week-to-week, to constantly update their looks with new products. They are pressured into feeling always on the verge of being outside of modern fashion. Our suggestion? Focus on style, rather than fashion – besides, everything always comes back around again, anyway.

2. They Advertise Discount Clothing To Sell Lower Quality Products of the Same Brand

One of the most commonly used fashion tricks used to get people to buy more is the ‘discount’. Many of us think we’re picking up a bargain when we head to a store that specialises in cheaper clothing of the same kind we hanker after in bigger, more expensive stores. However, what many are unaware of is that the clothing – while of the same brand, for example – is not the same, and in fact the clothes manufactured for the discount stores is inherently made cheaper and at a lower quality.

This ensures that you see the chance to ‘grab yourself a bargain’ and so spend more money, rather than if you’d spent a little bit more on an item or garment that would stay the course and be of a much better quality. This is one of the most scarily common fashion tricks of the trade, so next time you find yourself tempted by something at a seemingly obscenely low price, make sure you’re buying it from a proper store, and you’ll be getting the product you actually pay for.

3. They Use Alluring or Pleasurable Scents to Make You More Likely To Spend

This one is certainly one of the most unusual fashion store tricks employed, but in stores, they often use particular scents to evoke a positive feeling, which therefore makes it much likelier for you to buy stuff in the store. The effect of scents on human emotions and behaviour has long since been documented – for example, the smell of baking bread in a house makes a strong emotional connection in the brain, eliciting a positive reaction to that house.

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In stores,scents can evoke powerful memory and emotion associations. However, getting the right scent for the right product is practically a science in of itself. Too much scent is off-putting and artificial, while not enough will have no effect on the store’s patrons. Fashion stores dig into your pleasant memories and uses them to induce you into being more open into splurging on a shirt or skirt. Remember that next time you walk into a store and find yourself filled with a warm and fuzzy feeling that has nothing to do with finding the right shirt in your size.

4. They Prey On Your Movement Patterns to Entice You To Buy More Stuff

This is more prevalent and noticeable in supermarkets, but fashion stores use this trick to great effect as well, by placing all of the bright attractive clothing at the front of the store, so that when you walk past, you are immediately enticed inside and find yourself drawn to those particular, brand new and probably at full price. One of the most common fashion store tricks is placing small, cheap items by the cash register where you go to pay for your purchases. These impulse buys are much easier to sell, due to people generally being on a shopping high’, and more likely to pick up something cute like gum, candy, or cheap brand paraphernalia, rather than advertising right in the heart of the store itself. Stop before you buy those little purchases and think, “am I actually gonna use this?”. If not, put it down, and save yourself some money on stuff you won’t use or won’t need.

5 They Use Shiny Objects and Surfaces to Make Their Products Seem Better

Yes, humans are indeed like magpies. We like shiny things, something left over from our hunter-gatherer days and something that continues to reside deep in our reptilian hindbrains. We associate the shiny and the sparkling with something attractive, something we want to own and possess. However, while in those days it was usually some weapon of some kind, rather than a cute sparkly top or the glimmering mirrors in your favourite clothing department store.

We’re meant to be attracted, instinctively, to shiny, reflective things, and fashion stores take advantage of this. They deliberately make their stores as bright and reflective as possible, to entice you inside and make you believe that whatever is inside is worth of purchase. Don’t be blinded by the shiny things people: after all, not all glimmers is gold.

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6. They Encourage Trying On Clothes To Make You Want Them More

This one is an unusual fashion trick rooted in psychology, but actually physically touching a product makes it much likelier for you to want to buy it. Obviously, this is a big selling point and a fashion trick employed in physical clothing stores. Touching can lead to lingering and prolonged feelings of ownership, particularly in clothing stores when you usually physically put the items on to assess them.

In fashion stores, it isn’t uncommon to see an abundance of changing rooms and ‘try before you buy’ incentives offered. While you should always try your clothing before you buy it to help make the best decision for your shape and fit, make sure that you actually like a piece of clothing before buying it; don’t buy it just because you’ve worn it once and feel like you have to buy it because you know ‘own it’. You don’t.

7. They Try and Ride The Wave of Endorphins That Comes With Shopping

Okay, so this is pretty basic stuff, but extensive research has found that shopping releases endorphins and mood-boosting chemicals, making shopping a pleasurable experience. Therefore, stores are more inclined to try and keep you in their stores for as long as possible, so that they can rely on you to ride that endorphin wave and buy more and more to stay in that pleasurable state. This is a good general tip to think about when in a fashion store: they want you to stay as long as possible and spend as much as possible, so ignore that happy little thrill and be objective as possible.

8. They Create Clothing That Is Designed to Be Disposable and Fall Apart

Many of the big industry names in clothing actually engineer clothing to fall apart and be more disposable. Sounds pretty despicable, right? Well, it’s the truth. One of the fashion stores’ most deceitful tricks is using clothing in their stores that is cheaply made and produced, so that when it rips or tears or breaks, you don’t see it as much of a wasted opportunity and go ahead and buy more. In fact, it’s more likely that you spend more money on several copies of the same, cheaply-made garment, rather than a more expensive but infinitely better made version of that product. Be smart and invest in something classic that will last longer.

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9. They Play Songs Exactly Picked to Make Their Products Seem Cooler

Music is a huge part in how we go about our daily lives, and so it’s not too much of a surprise to learn that fashion stores use songs and particular musical moods as one of their top fashion tricks. Studies have found that music, whether listened to consciously or not, elicits an emotional response from the listener. It has also been found that store owners create exact playlists in order to induce moods more likely to be associated with big sales and shopping.

Certain kinds of songs have been known, in a store environment, to cause people to stay longer, make impulse purchases, or even affect the kinds of products the shoppers buy. Next time you’re in a store and hear a catchy little pop song over the intercom system, just remember that not only was it picked to be cool enough to make you think highly of the store, it was designed to make you buy more, so maybe save listening to the song too closely for when you get home.

10. They Trick Your Minds Into Buying More Through Brand Recognition

Finally, one of the most mainstream fashion store tricks is to use the big brands to sell clothing, despite the actual quality of products being debated. In big, high-end clothing stores. When we hear the big names of fashion, we automatically associate them with quality and with something worth owning. In fact, in our celebrity-centered culture, it isn’t at all hard to find coverage of brand name clothing everywhere in our mainstream.

However, sometimes paying for a brand is not a solid purchase in itself, and a lot of the time, the same level of quality in a product can be found in another, lesser known brand. What you are, in effect, paying the extra money for, is for the association that comes with the brand. A handbag with a famous name can be worth $5000 while another, just as good, and without the name, can be $50. While it certainly can be tempting to go with the grain and buy the big names, make sure you do your research, and save yourself some money whilst not having to sacrifice your personal style at the altar of high fashion.

Featured photo credit: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Touchstone Pictures via media.portable.tv

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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