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15 Sneaky Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More (Stop Falling For Them!)

15 Sneaky Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More (Stop Falling For Them!)

Like any other business out there, retail stores exist to take your money. You go in, you spend money, you get things, and everyone walks out happy. Where there is money to be made, there are tricks up their sleeves to get you to spend it. Here are some retail tricks that try to coerce you into spending more cash.

1. They’ll use gigantic sales signs

We’ll start out with one that’s fairly obvious. When stores put giant sales signs in their windows, it attracts your eyes. You’ll wonder what’s on sale exactly and go in to scope it out. There, you may buy something on sale or you may buy something at full price. Either way, they got you inside and made you spend money.

2. They put shopping carts at the entrance

At grocery stores this makes sense but at retail stores? Well there is a psychological reason. In the 1930’s, they started putting them near the entrace to inspire you to make larger purchases. You can’t buy a 50-inch TV if you don’t have anything to carry it in, right? You’re also less likely to buy a large, expensive item if you have to go find something or someone to carry it for you. Thus, they make it nice and easy to find transportation for your large purchases.

3. They put the high profit items in the front of the store

Have you ever walked into the grocery store and immediately seen things like baked goods, floral items, and stuff like that? There’s a reason. Bread and flowers make grocery stores the highest profits. They draw your eyes to these items because they smell and look good in hopes that you’ll buy them. Not all stores practice this but most grocery stores will. It’s all about putting your biggest money maker up front first!

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4. They will put the essential items toward the back of the store

That way you have to walk through the entire store to get to them. That’s why milk, meat, cheese, and similar items all rest almost exclusively against the back wall. You have to walk down various aisles to get to them and to get back to the registers in the front. This exposes you to a bunch of the store’s inventory. It doesn’t take a study to know that if you look at enough stuff in a grocery store that you’ll probably buy something else other than what you came in to buy.

5. You are being conditioned to walk up and down all of the aisles

A study has shown that stores try to condition you to travel down all of the aisles so that you’ll continue doing it even after you get everything on your list. Each aisle has only a part of a meal in it. To get all of the meal, you have to travel down multiple aisles. Since no store has a standardized set up, you have to travel up and down all of the aisles to find all of the ingredients. Eventually you’ll start doing it out of force of habit even after you’ve completed your shopping list.

6. The most profitable items are put on eye-level

Looking up and down in every aisle the entire time you’re out shopping is something most people just don’t do. It’s about time you start even if it’s tedious and time consuming. Stores will put the more desirable and profitable items at eye level so that you’ll see them easier. This increases your chances of buying the more profitable items. They also do this at the eye level of kids so that they’ll try to talk you into buying even more things.

7. The sample stations are meant to slow you down

Sample stations give away free samples ostensibly to expose you to new products. That is actually true (and another trick stores use but you knew that one already) but it’s also meant to slow you down. If you’re rushing through a store to pick up a few things, some free food gets you to stop, stand still for a moment, and look around. This increases your chances of spotting something you want to buy.

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8. They keep things in reach

Studies have shown that people who touch things are more likely to buy them than those who do not touch things. This is especially true in clothing stores. You put your hands no a shirt and feel the fabric. You may pick up something in a store to look at it. All these things help you make your decision to buy something. That’s why very few stores have things that are out of reach. If you can touch everything, that’s higher odds that you’ll buy at least some of it.

9. They play music to put you in the mood to have fun

People who are having fun are also spending money. That’s why stores will often play music inside of their stores. It puts you in a better mood (assuming you like the music) and encourages you to buy things. It’s an amazingly easy tactic to understand and pull off. Even grocery stores will play a radio station these days.

10. They put their stores in huge buildings to make you more comfortable

Crowded stores make people uncomfortable. It’s no fun trying to shop when you’re shoulder to shoulder with dozens of other people. Everything gets hot, it’s stifling, and you can’t really see everything. Thus, stores put their locations in huge buildings so that everyone can fit. It also lets them fit a larger inventory which improves the number of choices you have. That also happens to improve your chances of buying something.

11. Every single holiday is a huge sales event

Holidays are happy times. People are off of work, they’re having fun, and they may have gotten a bonus at work. That’s the kind of stuff that stores want to hear. They use holidays to create huge sales events so that they can take advantage of your good mood. We talked earlier about how happy people spend more money. Holidays make people happy and that means they’re primed to spend money. The sales are meant to get you and your happy self into the stores and spending that paycheck on discounted stuff and maybe some non-discounted stuff, too.

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12. They use customer rewards cards

Lots of different places use these. Gas stations, restaurants, and retail stores all use this tactic. You may pick up a rewards card, swipe it at checkout, and you get points. Those points seem like a good idea but it’s really all a ploy. What they are really meant to do is inspire you to continue shopping at that one store chain. After all, if you spend all your money there, you’ll get rewards points which you can redeem for other stuff. As it turns out, by the time you get enough points for those nice things, you’ve already spent so much money that they’ve made a good profit off of you. We’re not saying they’re bad but you now know why they exist.

13. The domination effect is your enemy

Sources have said that people are actually more likely to spend $100 when they’re broken up in smaller bills ($1, $5, $10, and $20 bills) than if they were carrying a single $100 bill. The reason why things like magazines and candy are at the checkout lines are because they cost a dollar (sometimes less) or a little over that. When you’re forking out $0.75 for a candy bar, you don’t really feel like you’re spending any money. However, you likely won’t break a $20 to buy that candy bar. Stores know this and that’s why they only put these items at the checkout line. You’re going to spend money anyway so why not spend an extra buck? That’s a buck you probably wouldn’t have spent with a $20 in your pocket if you’d seen that candy somewhere else in the store.

14. They invented vani-sizing

Vani-sizing is a real thing that stores do. They make cloths bigger but put them in a smaller size. If you look here you’ll see that a size 36 pants (men’s) actually measures a 41 when you buy them at Old Navy. When you try on a size that you think is too small and then it magically fits, you feel good about yourself and you’re wildly more likely to buy that clothing item. Practically every retailer does it so if you measure a 40 and you fit into a 36, rest assured that 36 is actually a 40.

15. They put arbitrary limits on goods you wouldn’t buy that much of

You’ve seen this on coupons before and it’s usually phrased as “limit one per customer.” Sometimes in sales, stores will put limits on things to make them seem more appealing. You may go to buy a shirt, see that they’re discounted, and then see that the discounted rate has a “limit of five per customer.” Seems like a good deal so you buy five shirts right? Well, you only went in there to buy one. They win.

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Retail stores aren’t evil for doing things like this (except maybe the vani-sizing). Like any business they need money.

Featured photo credit: CBS Dallas via cbsdallas.files.wordpress.com

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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