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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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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