Mind Your Money

How retailers get you to spend more money

Have you ever gone into a store with one thing on your list, only to leave the store with 10 things in your bag? Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not some lack of willpower. The entire time you’re inside that store, you’re fighting an uphill battle against mind games specifically designed to get you to spend more. Here are some of the tricks retailers use.

Mirror, Mirror

One psychological trick retailers use to get you to spend more money is making the dressing room as appealing as possible. Chances are if you’re in a dressing room, you’re close to making a purchase. So retailers sometimes darken lighting to make you look tan or even tilt mirrors to make you appear longer and leaner. The reason you sometimes feel like a new shirt looked better at the store is because it did. Avoid this trick by looking at the clothing out on the sales floor, where there’s less tampering. And if you’re just looking? Don’t get sucked into trying it on.

Bigger is Not Better

Some stores will offer you more discounts the more you spend. Don’t fall for this trick. As Money reports, if the offer is $25 off $75 or $50 off $150, the savings are the same no matter how much you spend. Don’t get tricked into spending more. Instead, calculate the percent savings and don’t shell out more than you had budgeted.

Never Ending

Another mind game used by retailers is the “limited time” or “limited amount” sale. These offers get you thinking that you have to buy the product now or you’re going to miss the opportunity to save. It’s a ruse. As anyone who subscribes to store emails knows, another sale is very likely following on the heels of this one. Do yourself a favor and just walk away. If you’re not still thinking about it — whatever it was — the next day, you didn’t want it that much to begin with.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea