With consumers looking for every opportunity to save, retailers are working hard at finding ways to make you spend more. Not all of their gimmicks are as obvious as an appealing front-window display or a 2-for-1 deal. Oh no, some of them are so sneaky you’ll never see them coming, which is why I wanted to alert you to a few.

Bigger Shopping Carts

It’s not the extra packaging or weight of goods that’s leading to shopping carts being bigger. Uh, uh. It’s just another sneaky way retailers encourage you to spend more money. Also, you may have noticed those cute smaller-sized shopping carts and thought “what a great idea!” Although they can ease the load of carrying a basket, they too prompt you to buy and spend more, so watch out.

Monitoring Your Buying Habits

Retailers are increasingly using technology to monitor your spending habits, sometimes in cahoots with manufacturers. For instance, some stores use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to track products you place in a shopping cart. When you buy the items, you may also have your loyalty or points card swiped afterwards. In some cases, reward programs are tied to RFID technology and can track your spending habits. In turn the retailer can send you better targeted coupons and discounts in the mail or by email so you’re motivated to go in and buy more products. Or, these sweet deals may persuade you into returning to the store sooner than you intended.

Removing $ Signs from Displays

The next time you spot a price display without “$” sign, keep this in mind. Retailers don’t want you to associate the price of the product with spending money as you’ll be less likely to buy it. So they’ll post “0.99” or “4.49,” to keep you from thinking about your budget or bills.

Placing Cheaper Items Too High or Too Low

I caught on to this one a few years ago, but you may have missed it. Retailers in a wide variety of stores, including pharmacies and supermarkets, tend to place the pricier items at eye level to reel you in. They know that most of us don’t want to struggle to reach up high or bend down low (especially if we’ve got bad knees) or bother a store attendant to assist us.

Making Items Hard to Reach

It’s a rare occasion when you see toilet paper at the front of the pharmacy and I’ll bet you’ll never see milk at the front of the supermarket. The reason? Retailers know that their customers come in often to buy these daily essentials. But they don’t want you to get at them until you’ve meandered down several other aisles so you can see other items you might need or deals on items you had no intention of buying. It pays to keep blinders on and make a beeline for the product you need.

Keeping Fewer Sales Products on the Shelf

If you’ve ever hurried into a store to catch a sale and found only a few of discounted items on the shelf, don’t assume that’s all the store has left. With this tactic, stores make you think that they’re about to run out and you’re more likely to pick up several of the items instead of just one. Ask a store employee to check if there are more of the sales items in stock. Also, check to see how long the sale lasts, because if it’s a few weeks, chances are the retailer will be restocking the shelves.

Now that you know some of these marketing tricks retailers use, you can tweak your shopping habits so you don’t get duped into spending more money.

Have you noticed any other tricks retailers use to part you from your money?

This has been a guest post by Andrea from Ontario, Canada
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