9 Psychology Tricks to Spend Less While Shopping

Fashion boutiques and retail shops are smart for taking advantage of some marketing strategies to make you spend more than you planned. Whether you’re controlling your shopping addiction or simply wants to be a savvy shopper, keep on reading for the 9 psychology tricks to spend less while shopping.

  1. Leave your credit cards at home.

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Research shows people are willing to spend more money with plastic than with cash. Remember, the less transparent the payment, the more easily people will spend it. So use cash when going shopping as it’s the most visible form of payment that can make you think before you spend.

  1. Limit the number of stores you go to.

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According to Forbes, the more stores you visit, the more you will buy. This is applicable even if you go for a comparison shopping as the more “legwork” you put in, the more you may feel the need to “reward” yourself for your efforts through shopping for more pieces from different stores.

  1. Take a “mindful pause.”

cold shoulder sweater with boots

According to psychologist April Lane Benson, PhD, author of To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop, call for a “mindful pause” before you whip out the credit card. She even suggests you give the item to a salesperson, sit down somewhere away from it, and ask yourself with realistic questions. “Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? What if I wait? How will I pay for it? Where will I put it? Then, only make the purchase if you’re very certain that it’s something you need and can afford,” she explains.

  1. Use new bills.

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According to studies, people were willing to spend more money when they had old bills to hand out than when they had newer ones. People prefer crisp new cash to wilted, dirty, old bills, so they’re more likely to readily part with the latter, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Consumer Research. So before going shopping, think of filling your wallet with new bills and reserve those old bills to fixed expenses like phone, rent, and electricity.

  1. Seasonal decorations are a trap.

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Stores may use big, beautiful displays and seasonal scents like pine or peppermint to encourage you to shop longer and spend more. Around the holidays, red and green store decorations may prime you to splurge, according to Kit Yarrow, PhD, professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. According to color psychology, red stimulates and energizes that’s why waitresses who wear red uniforms receive 14 to 26 percent higher tips than those in different colored outfits. On the other hand, green is perceived as an optimistic color, associated with wealth and luck. Yarrow says retailers often put the priciest items toward the center, where you’re likely to look.

  1. Don’t make friends with the sales staff.

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Sales staffs are there to encourage you to buy more and the more you interact with them, the likelier you are to buy something. According to Forbes, the sales strategy is effective since you don’t want to let down someone who has helped you.

  1. Wear high-heeled shoes when you shop.

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Studies found that when consumers’ minds were focused on staying balanced, they were likelier to choose a mid-range product instead of a pricier or low-quality one. “If that sounds too uncomfortable, shopping after a yoga class or even after riding an escalator had the same effect,” says Brigham Young University study authors. So, think of wearing high heels when you shop to be more balanced on your purchases.

  1. Don’t go crazy hunting for bargains.

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Remember, getting too good deals can backfire. When you feel like you’ve saved money on gifts for others on holidays, Yarrow explains that it’s common for you to then treat yourself but you’re likely to wind up spending more than what you initially saved.

  1. Make yourself walk away.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the very act of shopping fires the pleasure centers of your brain. As the feel-good brain chemical dopamine flows through your synapses, a shopper’s high can hijack your mind, making you buy things you don’t need or even really want. To minimize this effect, health reporter Tara Parker-Pope suggests you walk away from a potential purchase and come back the next day to see if you still want it. “It will eliminate the novelty of the situation and help you make a more clear-headed decision,” she says. By taking these things into consideration, you’ll be a savvy shopper and you’ll spend less while shopping.

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