Money & Career

4 retail tricks that get you to spend more money

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

4 retail tricks that get you to spend more money

Have you ever walked out of a store with your new purchases and wondered why you bought them? Do you ever say, "I couldn't help it!" as you stare at the bags at your feet?

Well, you'll be glad to know that your willpower didn't just collapse -- it got a little help from the store's design. Stores are built to entice customers to spend money. Yes, studies have been done to ensure that they'll tempt you out of your hard-earned cash.

So what are the tricks and how can you overcome them? One of the best ways is to make a list, stick to your budget and carry just enough money to buy the items on your list. Another way is to be aware of how stores manipulate you into spending.

Retail trick #1: Giant carts
Those big shopping carts you see at the grocery store or Ikea? They're just asking to be filled up -- and many of us are only willing to oblige.

Fight the trap:
If you have to buy only one or two items, avoid the cart. Try to carry them in your hands, which reduces the temptation to grab more stuff, or use a basket. You won't buy extra things as the basket will quickly become too heavy.

Retail trick #2: Mirrors
Mirrors and lights are tools in a clothing store's arsenal when it comes to getting you to buy. Imagine you walk past a full-length mirror. You stop to check yourself out. That could trigger a sense of dissatisfaction with your appearance and tempt you to buy a new outfit. (Related trick: Changing room mirrors that make you look thinner than the ones at home.)

Fight the trap:
Dress your best, especially if you're going to be in any clothing stores. If you like how you look in the mirror, you won't feel the need to impulsively buy that new outfit.

Retail trick #3: Music
Stores don't play just any music. They choose music that will appeal to their demographic. According to Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, the right kind of music can make a person buy up to 29 per cent more than planned.

Fight the trap:
Be aware of the music that's piped throughout the store. Knowing that the music was chosen to encourage you to spend could be enough to stop you from spending.

Retail trick #4: Sales
It's old-school, but if it's not broken, why fix it? People love sales -- Black Friday and Boxing Day are two perfect examples -- and are willing to spend more to get "great deals.

Fight the trap:
Stop and think before you spend. Do you really need it, or do you just want it? How is a 72-inch flat-screen television really going to improve your life? Ask yourself if you would buy it at full price. If the answer is no, then ask yourself why you're buying it on sale. If you don't have a good answer to that, then don't buy it at all.

By knowing the tricks of the retail trade you can enter a store confident that you're there to buy just what's on your list -- and no more. You can leave with your purchases knowing that you've remained on budget and haven't added any additional consumer debt.

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4 retail tricks that get you to spend more money

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