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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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Joseph Hindy

A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

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