Stores and restaurants are really really smart at figuring out how to get you to spend more money. These are time tested marketing techniques that you won’t even think about before or after you make your purchase. The key for these stores, restaurants, and outlets is to make you feel good…..like you got a deal or you are special or you are one of the exclusive few that got this opportunity. The goal is to separate you from your money. Here are six traps to watch out for that will trick your brain into spending more money.
- THE NO DOLLAR SIGN TRICK —This one is most seen when you eat out at an upscale restaurant. You’ll notice that they will list a meal with the number 15 (note NO $$) or they will actually spell out in some artsy fartsy font By not showing you an actual dollar sign it literally makes you think less about money thus tricking your brain into spending more
- THE TEN FOR TEN TRICK – When you go into your local grocery store or drugstore, the likelihood is you don’t really ten of anything, until you walk smack into the cardboard carts full of tiny bottles of apple juice, small packets of mixed nuts, or even individual strips of beef jerky. Remember, just because it says 10 for 10 doesn’t mean you need to buy TEN! Typically you can just buy a few of them and get the same deal, so don’t get tricked into buying more than you need.
- ENDING IN “9” TRICK – This tried and true trick has been around for a long time and works on prices both small and large. You’ll notice that most homes that go up for sale will be listed at $399,999 vs. $400,000. What are we talking about…one dollar? Psychologically, the difference of a dollar or a penny makes you think that you are getting a better deal. Notice how iTunes strategically prices songs at $1.29. Why not $1.30? It’s just a penny. Stores that price items out a .99 cents or .95 cents design these mini sales and pricing tactics to get your brain tricked into thinking you will get a better deal.
- THE HIGH FLAT DOLLAR PRICING — Wait a minute, you just said that taking a few pennies off would get you to buy more, right? However, there is a corollary to this pricing structure which is to keep the pricing flat, but it generally occurs on higher dollar items. You’ll notice they don’t price a Coach bag at 199.99, but instead they will say it is $235. Essentially, without saying a word, they are saying to you that this is the price and you probably can’t afford it. So, just step back and walk away if you aren’t good enough. This actually tricks your brain into believing that you are good enough and makes you want to purchase to show that you belong.
- LIMIT 4 PER CUSTOMER — This is a classic trick that retail and outlet stores use all the time. This is called scarcity selling. What they do here by telling you overtly that the limit is four is to make your brain believe that if you don’t get four of the item you are truly a FOOL! It makes you think with this strategy that they are going to run out of items soon or there is limited supply, so you better act now or never.
- BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) – This is the all-time classic of classics to get you tricked into spending more money. The reason this one works so well is that you will buy things you don’t need because you think you are getting a deal by getting another one for FREE. It makes you feel smart, but in reality you aren’t so smart if you spent money on something you didn’t need.
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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO ofoXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.