10 Reasons You Probably Overpaid at the Store

By Dr Penny Pincher on 20 June 2018 0 comments

Even if you're a smart shopper, there are still some psychological factors that can cause you to pay too much at the store. After all, stores are set up to convince you to buy things you don't need. But being aware of the following spending traps can help you avoid emptying your wallet on your next shopping trip.

1. Peer pressure

If you go shopping with a group of friends and they're all buying things, you might get swept up and join in on the action, even if it means buying things you don't really need. A friend saying, "This would look so great on you!" is hard to resist. It also removes the opportunity for you to spend time comparison shopping before making a purchase, like you would on your own. (See also: 5 Friend Types That Can Hurt Your Finances)

2. Fear of looking cheap

In the eyes of some, comparison shopping, bargaining on prices, and using coupons makes it seem like you don't have much money and can't afford to buy things. But even the wealthiest people among us know how important it is to get a good deal. In an effort to protect their pride, some people skip these frugal strategies to avoid appearing broke or cheap. (See also: 7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You Poor)

3. You touched the merchandise

There's a reason stores put out neat displays of merchandise within easy reach — they want you to touch the products. Not only does holding a product make it more likely that you'll buy it, but it makes you willing to pay more for it as well.

4. Convenience

When you're at the store and the item you want is right there, it is a lot easier to simply buy it instead of going to other stores and websites to check for lower prices. For example, when you're thirsty, are you going to grab the closest water or soda? Or are you going to hit a couple stores to find the best deal for your dollar? Probably the former. Sometimes saving money takes more work than you're willing or able to put in. (See also: Here's How Much More You're Paying for These 6 Convenience Buys)

5. Force of habit

People can establish shopping habits that result in overpaying at the store on a regular basis. For example, you might have a routine of buying your coffee at a particular coffee shop, and your groceries at your favorite grocery store without even looking anywhere else for better deals. Routines are hard to break, as we are creatures of comfort. And that comfort can come at a price.

6. You're being upsold

Store displays can prompt you to buy a more expensive product than you originally intended. Picture this: You go into the store looking to buy a basic TV and come out with one of the nicer models with some advanced features (and an advanced price tag to match). When you see a range of products side-by-side, you tend to increase your expectations for the level of product that will meet your needs.

You might also have a salesperson approach you and show you some product options. You might feel pressured into making a purchase before you have finished your research or comparison shopping, and the salesperson might get you interested in a more expensive item than you would select on your own. (See also: 8 Sneaky Ways You're Being Upsold)

7. Impulse buying

While shopping at the store, some impulse items might find their way into your cart without any comparison shopping or careful thought about whether you really need the items. Shopping while hungry, tired, distracted, or in physical discomfort tends to lower your impulse control and increases the tendency to reward yourself with immediate gratification through purchases. (See also: 7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys)

8. Store design and ambience

Some stores are designed to get you in the mood to spend money. These stores have high quality furnishings, good lighting, and even use scents to get shoppers in the buying mood for certain products. High prices seem more reasonable when all of your senses are being manipulated, so you are willing to spend more in that atmosphere.

An example of this is when best-selling author and branding expert Martin Lindstrom found that when an appliance store was filled with the scent of apple pie, sales on ovens and fridges went up 23 percent.

9. You're stubborn

You decide what you want to buy before you even know the price, and no matter what it costs, you know you're going to buy it. For example, you have your mind set on your favorite brand and don't even consider other options that might cost less. Stores facilitate this behavior by promoting popular (and more expensive) brands, making it easy to overlook less expensive choices.

10. Payday shopping

The psychological effect of having more money in your bank account after a payday makes you more likely to spend money. Even if you have funds available throughout the month, knowing that there is more in your account after getting paid can change your spending behavior, reducing your motivation to avoid overspending. (See also: How to Avoid 7 Common Spring Spending Traps)

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