When it comes to shopping (whether for groceries, clothing, home goods, or anything else), there is often a disconnect between what we plan to buy and what we actually end up buying. This can be particularly problematic if you’re trying to save money, cut spending, or stick to a budget, so it’s important to discover where the disconnect is happening and why it’s leading to overspending.
And few things can derail your best laid shopping plans like spending triggers. When you’re shopping, spending triggers informed by consumer research are waiting around every corner to trip you up so that you’ll buy more, spend more, or both.
Today we’re going to explore 6 common spending triggers that are all too easy to fall for if you’re not careful! This is far from an exhaustive list, but even being aware of these 6 spending triggers will help you spend less and save more from now on! :-)
6 Sneaky Spending Triggers Everyone Falls For (& How To Resist Them)
1. Items You Pick Up
Research on consumer behavior shows that you’re more likely to buy something you’ve picked up than something you haven’t. That’s part of the reason why checkout stands are lined with enticing items, and why things like candy and stuffed animals are often at kid-friendly heights.
To avoid falling into this particular trap, try not to touch anything you don’t plan on buying! It’s a good habit to get into anyway, but it can also save you money that you hadn’t planned on spending.
2. A Nice Atmosphere
The longer you spend in a store, the more money you’re likely to spend. Retailers know this, so they put a lot of money and effort into making their stores as inviting and welcoming as possible.
The best defense against the allure of a nice atmosphere is to go inside with a plan in place. It’s much easier to resist the urge to hang around and browse if you know exactly what you’re there to buy!
3. Roomy Carts
Shopping carts can be a blessing or a curse when it comes to your shopping experience. Pushing a roomy shopping cart around the store frees up your hands and makes it much easier to carry everything you need, but they also make it easier to talk yourself into buying something you don’t actually need.
When you walk into the store, pick a cart or basket based on how much you plan on buying. If you just need a couple of things, grab a basket, but if you’re doing a big shopping trip, you may actually need the big cart. (Just make sure you don’t end up loading the big cart to the brim just because you can!)
4. The Long Trek For Basics
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it can get you every time if you’re not careful! Grocery stores will often have everyday basics like milk, eggs, and bread located in the back of the store, which forces you to pass by all sorts of other enticing products before you get to the things you need.
This may not be an issue if you’re doing a big shopping trip, but it can be a big problem if you just ran in for eggs and milk! In this case, the best solution is to make a beeline for what you need so you can get out before your attention starts to wander (or your self-control vanishes!) :-)
5. Word Play
Just because ads and signs inside the store make it sound like something is on sale, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is on sale. For instance, signs that say “Summer Blowout!” or “Hot Deal!” don’t necessarily mean anything will be offered at a discount, so just make sure to check the actual price before you decide to buy something.
6. “X-For-Y” Sales
From BOGO sales to 10-for-$10 offers, stores offer all sorts of different deals that are designed to get you to buy more than one of a particular item. These deals can be attractive enough to convince you to buy a lot more of something than you normally would.
From a spending standpoint, buying 10 of something just doesn’t make sense—unless it’s something you know you’ll use. Just tread carefully with these types of sales, and don’t but more than you need just because it sounds like a great deal.
At the end of the day, the best way to avoid falling for spending triggers is to take your time and use common sense. Spending triggers are easiest to fall for when you’re not really paying attention, so keep your wits about you if you want to make it out with more money in your pocket! :-)
Do you have any tips for avoiding spending triggers while shopping?