It happens to the best of us; you think you’re getting a great deal until you walk out of the shop doors or get home and the post-purchase guilt hits. It could be a supermarket, department store or online, the tricks and psychology are all the same.
Here are seven reasons why you just overpaid.
You fall for sneaky bargains
You only wanted one, but now you have two! Yay! Actually, not yay. Buy one get one free, buy two, get the third item 50 per cent off, buy six items for $1 each, you get the gist. You usually don’t need two of the same thing, unless it’s socks, shoes or gloves. There’s a reason these deals pop up: the item sucks, is going out of date or out of season and the shop is trying to clear its stock.
Think twice before adding things to your cart (virtually and physically) and have another cull before the register.
You just got paid and YOLO
There’s nothing better than payday. Except getting paid early. Having a nice healthy looking bank account is hugely tempting to go and buy everything you’ve been meaning to stock up on when you were skint.
The art of balancing feeling flush and broke is all in the budgeting. Done poorly, and you’ll spurge on sales on payday and live like a uni student the rest of your pay cycle. So be warned: payday spending will catch up with you. The guilt will hit and usually when it does, it’s too late to return those fancy (and totally unnecessary) homewares you just splurged on.
You fall for the checkout treats
Product placement is so important there are people who merchandise stores for a living. The glossy mags, multipacks of gum and cheap extras at the counter are carefully placed there to try and get your buy-in when you’re ready to hand over your credit card.
The same goes for online shopping. “Buyers who bought this also bought these,” or “you might also be interested in” are carefully placed at the bottom of the purchase page to try and upsell. Stay strong.
You buy for points
Credit cards can be sneaky little things, especially if they’ve got points for flights attached to them. Most credit card programs will have different rewards and will have a minimum spend for you to be able to score them.
This doesn’t mean you have to go nuts swiping it to try and earn points. Usually, you have to spend a pretty hefty amount to get things like free flights, which kind of makes the whole thing pointless.
You use your card instead of cash
While cash is usually a limited resource, your credit card might have thousands of dollars waiting to be spent! It’s much easier to stick to a budget when you’re physically limited to what you can spend. Think of it like when your parents gave you $2 to spend down at the shops. You couldn’t go over it but could still usually get a fair bit of good stuff.
If getting your credit card bill each month sends you into a sweaty-palmed mess, try and reduce your limits and minimise usage. It’s a huge contributor to overspending.
You’re too impulsive
Shopping in a rush can be efficient if it gets you in and out of shops quickly and you stay on track. Shoppping unprepared for things like food, presents or a last-minute outfit can be a disaster.
You usually walk away with a whole lot of food you can’t cook or can’t turn into meals, overpriced presents that don’t quite hit the mark, and outfits you’ll wear once (if that). So take the time, compare different products and prices, shop around and try to negotiate a better deal.
The left-digit effect
Also known as rounding down, this is a common trick behind talking ourselves into purchasing.
Reading $9.99 as $9 might not seem like a difference to you, but if you do that for 20 things, it all adds up. So be logical. Take prices as they actually are, calculate a running total as you go and don’t forget to factor in shipping if you’re buying online.
Main pic: Evil Erin via Flickr.