Let’s face it. Shopping sure is tempting. You cruise along a Wal-Mart aisle, spot that latest version of Halo 3 you always wanted, and bam! It’s in your shopping cart. Turn an aisle, see a nice piece of pottery that might fit well with your wife’s gardening collection, and it too is in your shopping cart in a matter of seconds. Here are 9 tips to help you spend less and avoid a shopping spree.
- Store employees are hazardous to your financial health. Their job is to benefit the financial health of his or her employer, not to help you save money. A good salesman can potential induce you to spend much more than you originally planned. Back in 2008 we originally planned on just buying a flat screen TV. But the salesman we met was so good at persuasion that we ended up spending $2000 more on surround sound, TV stands, etc. Case in point: avoid store employees!
- Avoid advertised goods. Products always look great in ads, simply because the manufacturer presents them in the best possible light. Plus, advertised goods are usually more expensive (they tend to up-sell you).
- Avoid the stuff near the checkout line! Stores know that the shelves near the checkout line are the last chance to get you to buy something extra, such as an expensive $1.50 pack of gum or an Archie Comic for $4.
- Create a shopping list and don’t deviate from it. It’s far too easy to be sidetracked by zazzy looking products.
- Avoid products that are on display. Those are usually the most expensive products (and have the highest markups).
- Avoid trying on clothes (unless of course, you’re shopping for clothes). It’s all too easy to say “Hey, that looks like a nice shirt,” try it on, buy it, and then regret the decision a month later. Statistics have proven that if you come in contact with a product, the chances of buying that product are increased by 50%.
- Don’t go shopping because you have nothing else to do. A lot of young people with spare time on their hands go to the mall just to kill time. What ends up happening is that they spend hundreds of dollars on things they’ll never use again (which of course, goes on their credit card debt).
- Avoid using shopping carts. Shopping carts add a psychological factor to the consumer: when he or she is pushing around an empty or half full shopping cart, something goes off in his or her mind that urges him or her to fill that shopping cart (we humans just don’t seem to like things that aren’t full). So if you’re going to Wal-Mart just to buy one or two things, don’t use a shopping cart. Pick up the things you originally intended to buy and leave.
- In other words, you have to be unpredictable. The store owner predicts where you’re going to be and what you’re going to buy. So your job is to be unpredictable and avoid those pricey, impulse buys.