Tricks of the Trade

This holiday season beware of the Jedi mind tricks used by retailers.

Man checking out
Ploys retailers use to get you to overspend.

This holiday season beware of the Jedi mind tricks used by those who want you to fail. No, we're not talking about your aunt ignoring your healthy lifestyle and giving you a giant tin of chocolates as a gift. We're talking about companies using subtle sales tactics to get you to spend more than your budget allows. Below are some of the ploys marketers use.

  • BOGO. The "buy one get one" free offer seems great, right? Who doesn't want something for free? But that's the trick behind the BOGO: You're so focused on the free offer you're not asking yourself if you even need the additional product. According to CBS News, the BOGO also distracts you from the actual price. Is it a good value without the add on? If not, then it's probably not worth buying.
  • The scarcity illusion. The holiday season is flooded with "final sales" and "limited offers" and "closeout discounts." These are all tricks to get you spending. Is this really the "final sale?" Of course not. There will probably be seven more final sales before the month is over. Don't fall for the scarcity illusion and buy things you don't actually need or even want.
  • Offer overload. Retailers know you're spending during the holidays, so they offer as many "deals" as possible in an effort to overwhelm an already dreary shopper. The best way to combat this is to make your list and stick to that list, no matter what discounts you pass up.
  • Tiny add-ons. Have you wondered why so many stores (we're talking about you Home Goods and T.J. Maxx) now have one big checkout line that snakes through an aisle littered with small items that can be tempting to toss into your cart before funneling to separate registers? They're making money on all those small items you toss into your cart. But remember: Everything costs money. This can be easy to forget when you're buying something small, but those tiny add-ons add up.

Article written by Chris O'Shea for SavvyMoney®.