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5 Ploys that Get You to Overspend Comments

  • By Catey Hill
  • August 18, 2010

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Photo Source: Northwest dad's photostream on Flickr

Have you ever popped into a shop to buy "a few things"—and left with a full bag?

Get hip to stores' spend-more ploys and you can save a bundle, says Philip Graves, author of Consumer.ology:

  1. Watch out for labels
    Studies show that you're more likely to buy products labeled "sale" or "bargain price", says Dr. Lars Perner, assistant professor of clinical marketing at USC, without considering whether the item is truly a deal, and thus you end up spending more.

  2. Take your time
    Retailers use scarcity language like "one day only" or "for a limited time,” to play on your fear of losing out on something, Graves says. It's a powerful inducement to buy—but don't buy it.

  3. Beware of bundles
    Retailers often “bundle” products: For example, they’ll put buns, ketchup and charcoal by the hot dogs. You end up buying the related product because it's convenient—but not cost-effective.

  4. Listen closely
    Slower music encourages you to linger, which means you're likely to buy more. Higher-end stores often play classical music because it helps you associate a product with excellence, and thus pay more for it, Graves adds, so listen up before you buy.

  5. Look around
    Stores often place their most profitable products at eye-level, where you're more likely to see them—and more likely to buy them, Perner says. Stores also stock the shelves near checkout lines—where consumers are a captive audience—with tempting items. Look before you buy!

It's tricky. What store schemes have you fallen for?

Catey Hill is the money editor for the New York Daily News online and the author of "Shoo, Jimmy Choo! The Modern Girl's Guide to Spending Less and Saving More."

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