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From the Magazine

3 Quick Money-Saving Cures for Overbuying Syndrome


Notice you spend more than you plan to when you shop? It’s not your fault! Stores are using secret tactics that get you to splurge. So, we’ve put together a few easy study-proven tricks that will help you keep more cash in your wallet.

Wear a sweater in stores.

Throw on a cardigan as you shop, and you’ll save big! Turns out, retailers lower the thermostat because being cold makes you spend more, shows research at England’s University of Oxford and New York City’s Baruch College. Feeling chilly triggers buying decisions based on in-the-moment satisfaction instead of long-term practicality, explains lead study author Rhonda Hadi, PhD. “When you make emotion-based purchases, you actually feel warmer, so you instinctively make more of these purchases to counter the chill.”

Keep your budget in focus.

Wonder why stores constantly change displays and move items from one area to another? It makes you cover more ground to find what you want, which raises the likelihood of impulse buys 57 percent, reveals a study published in the Journal of Marketing. “Seeing more products makes you more likely to purchase unplanned items you want but don’t need,” says study co-author J. Jeffrey Inman, PhD. His advice: Set a budget that allows for some unplanned purchases. “This way, you leave room for a few extras while setting a cap on how much you put in your basket.”

Enjoy freebies guilt-free.

Love those free samples of coffee and other goodies? In one study, stores that gave away food experienced a 475 percent rise in profits that day! Why? Researchers reporting in the British Food Journal found that consumers tend to subconsciously view freebies as “gifts” and feel pressure to reciprocate with a purchase. Yet as lead study author Carrie M. Heilman, PhD, notes, “Free samples are no different than the other ways brands market to you with advertisements and sales promotions.” That means you can partake guilt-free!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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