4 Simple Steps To Limit Unconscious Spending

The path to a brighter future.

Question:  What one single thing will have the most impact on your long-term financial outlook?

Answer: Your ability to limit unconscious spending.

 

Go Armed With Knowledge

 

Conscious spending is all about going in with a plan whenever you shop.  Why is this important?  Because companies make it their mission to extract every last dollar they can from your wallet, and that means you end up buying things you really don’t need.  Over the long run, all those unneeded purchases can add up into the thousands—in some cases hundreds of thousands.

 

Watch Out!

Companies get us to buy unconsciously in a variety of ways:

 

(1) Sales: They lure us in with the promise of a good deal (i.e. a sale) because they know that once inside a store we are more likely to browse and make purchases of non-sale items.

 

(2) Samples: They offer samples to let us try products and then use human senses like taste to close the deal.  If you don’t believe that, ask why companies like Costco have all those free food samples they give away throughout the store.

 

(3) Scents: According to the August 2011 issue of “Real Simple” magazine (page 136) some companies now use “aroma to entice you to drop some hard-earned cash”.  Apparently, the right scents, which include vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate can increase store sales by up to half.

 

(4) Suggestions: At the cash register companies stock impulse items to tempt us and many grocery stores now instruct clerks to ask if we want to add a specific product to our purchase (like a certain brand of potato chips, pop, or cookies) which are conveniently located within arm’s reach.

 

(5) Floorplans: Of course, almost all stores are designed to draw us in to the back of the store to find the most popular items (think milk).  That way we’ll have to walk by many more products in order to get what we originally came in for.

 

(6) Advertising: There are many other tricks companies use to get us to buy, but we shouldn’t leave off without mentioning the billions of dollars in advertising found on billboards, store signs, television, radio, the internet, magazines and the movies.

 

 

These Steps Save Big Time

 

When you go shopping unprepared, the odds are good you’ll end up spending more then you originally intended.  That’s why the best long term strategy is to become more conscious as you shop.  How?  Take these four simple steps:

 

(1) Become more aware of the above tricks stores use to relieve you of your hard-earned cash. You can fight back by not falling for these easy traps. Shop like you’re on a mission.

 

(2) Always shop with a list and stick to it. Don’t fall prey to the special of the week. They’ll be another special on another day. Make a careful list and stick to it like glue.

 

(3) Make a monthly budget and stick to it. How do you know how much you can afford unless you have a good handle on your monthly finances? Calculate your food budget and use a set limit to your advantage.

 

(4) Don’t bring credit cards when you go shopping—the temptation to use them is just too great. Better yet, don’t bring any plastic. Even a debit card creates a form of mental distance between the money you hold and what it buys. It’s far better to buy groceries with cash.

 

As a consumer, you have the power to control your financial future or let it be controlled for you.  Go armed!  Take the steps above and start building a better future today.

 

For more  ideas on taking charge of your finances see check out our Great Savings Tips series.

 

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