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Three Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More

College students can often times be lured by the multi-billion dollar retail giants into spending money on things they don’t really need. Each of these companies have a marketing team that spends their time attempting to devise ways to get college students to whip out their credit cards.

Spending is addicting and certain retail tricks can have you shelling over your hard earned cash in just a matter of minutes. Being aware of these tricks can help college students like you avoid overspending at the store. Here are the top three tricks retailers use to make you spend more.

Reciprocal Spending

Some retailers use the tactic of giving away something for free in hopes that customers feel obliged to return the favor. This is especially prominent in catalogues and direct mailings.

Think about it, you’ve probably gotten a letter in the past 30 days requesting you to send some organization money. Research shows that standard, generic requests generate an 18% return rate. Adding in a customized set of address labels or other free gift increases the return rate to 35%.

This phenomenon is known as reciprocal spending. The increase in sales is due to the mentality that the organization has given you a gift and now you must return the favor. You feel as if you owe the sender something in return since they spent the time to print and mail you the labels.

Impulse Spending

This is when you are presented with a deal and only have a few moments to decide. Flea markets, thrift stores and even the check-out lines at major retailers are loaded with impulse items. The idea is that you are presented with what seems to be a great deal, then given only a few moments to decide if you would like to buy or not. You buy to avoid regretting the decision not to buy later. Many people justify the situation by telling themselves they can re-sell the item or return it if they change their mind. This isn’t always the case, especially with flea market finds.

Many different stores take advantage of the impulse buyer by having a certain amount of items that are always changing. You may know these as seasonal items. When you find a seasonal item you like, you feel compelled to buy it because it may not be there the next time you come in. Seasonal items are almost always higher priced than other similar items in the store.

Emotional Spending

We all know not to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, but not many people know it’s unwise to go shopping when you’re upset as well. Studies have shown that being sad or upset increases the value people place on items. Stores take advantage of this by increasing prices in the winter, when shoppers are more likely to be suffering from seasonal depression.

Although there’s not much you can do to counter this, you can try avoiding shopping when you’re stressed or upset. If you do find yourself shopping when you’re in a foul mood, re-evaluate everything that winds up in your cart before you hit the check-out counter.

Avoiding retail tricks while shopping can save you serious cash. While there’s nothing wrong with slipping once in a while, constantly falling for tried and true retail trickery can make you part with your money sooner than anticipated.  The next time you head to the store, keep your eyes open and see if you can spot any of these pitfalls.

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