It’s laughably easy to overspend during the holidays — from catering feasts and baking treats to stocking stuffers and Yankee Swaps, the expenses seem to never end.
What’s more, most stores are carefully engineered to get you to overspend. Particularly during the last month of the year, they will tug on your emotions with holiday cheer and load the checkout aisle with tempting holiday delights that are nearly impossible to turn down.
If you want to curb your spending this holiday, start by recognising these subtle yet common store tricks:
They put a big, bold 'SALE' sign in the window.
Even if there are a few leftover Black Friday sales here and there, this is simply bait to get you in the store, where you'll likely buy non-sale items.
There's also a reason they're red, besides the holiday factor: People react faster and more forcefully when they see the colour red.
They play the 'limited-time offer' card.
Stores not only entice you with sales, but they also use limited-time offers to increase your sense of urgency in making a purchase -- and it doesn't help that the holiday season already exudes urgency.
Oftentimes, stores are simply creating the illusion of an unbeatable sale. While these items may be tempting to buy on the spot -- especially with a looming gift giving deadline -- you're better off putting the item on hold, thinking through the purchase, and making sure it's really worth opening your wallet for. Keep in mind that to be a thorough shopper over the holiday season you'll have to plan ahead and start your shopping early.
Source: US News and World Report
They place the pricier items at eye level.
Anything a store really wants customers to buy is placed at eye level so it's easiest to find, and particularly favoured items are highlighted at the end of aisles.
Look above and below for similar items with lower prices and fewer markups.
They choose strategic colour schemes.
Stores draw customers in with warm hues like reds, oranges, and yellows, but once inside, cool colours like blues and greens encourage them to spend more.
There's bound to be even more red adorning storefronts during the holiday season.
Source: Bellizzi et al. (1983).
They tug at your heartstrings with a charming holiday ambiance.
The holidays are a heartwarming and special time of the year -- retailers are aware of this and tug on your emotions even more with charming decorations, cheerful holiday music, and aromatic displays.
We tend to forget to think about money logically even more so during this time of the year, and as a result, overspend.
They load the checkout aisle with tempting products.
The most profitable area of the store is the checkout line. By the time you've made the rounds through the grocery or department store, your self-control is effectively exhausted.
Over the holidays, the checkout line is bound to be surrounded with various stocking stuffers and holiday candy, and stores bank on you succumbing to these temptations while waiting.
Source: Business Insider
They price things at $0.99, rather than rounding up to an even price.
Tagging a product with $0.99 causes consumers to automatically round down. If an item is priced at $1.99, we tend to think of the product as costing $1 rather than $2, making us more likely to purchase it.
Look out for this trick when it comes to stocking stuffers and other items in the checkout line.
Source: Fast Company