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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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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal 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. 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 to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

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

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal 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’s for. It could be anything, including your child’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 that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals 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 beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as 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.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

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

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a 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.

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

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-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.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, 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 spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

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

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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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 manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

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. 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 counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

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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5. 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.

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

6. Maintain a Journal

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

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.

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

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s 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.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

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[2].

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 compared to equity instruments.

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3. 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.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

    4. 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 and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    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

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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