Five tricks retailers use to make you spend more

Do you always tend to leave your local supermarket or department store with items you didn't really want or need on your way in? You are not alone.

Retailers spend millions of pounds working out how to part us from our hard-earned cash. These are just five of the tricks to look out for if you are on a budget...

1. 2-for-1 or 3-for-2 offers
It is a well known fact in the retail world that discounts that require shoppers to buy more than one bottle of shampoo or conditioner, pair of socks or packet of peas suck people into buying larger quantities than they otherwise would.

And the truth is that these offers can sometimes represent savings. However, you should check the price of a single unit, think about how often you use the product in question and whether you are sure you like that particular brand before buying in bulk.

2. Reward schemes
You can use reward schemes to reduce the overall cost of your weekly shop. But the reason the retailers offer rewards of this kind is to keep you coming back for more, and to encourage you to try new products and buy more than you otherwise might.

Pharmacy chain Boots, for example, often uses reward point offers to promote new products - and the double whammy bonus for the chain is that the rewards are not paid out immediately, but valid on future purchases instead. It also counts on large numbers of its customers forgetting to claim back their rewards...

3. Sales
Research indicates that certain kinds of store chains, including notably furniture shops, have sales running more often than they don't.

The sale price is therefore basically the normal price, although the related advertisements invariably state that the "amazing offers" are available for a limited time only. And this sense of urgency can push you into purchasing goods that you do not need.

The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to try not to visit shops with sales on unless you have specific purchases in mind.

4. Bargain bins
At some stores, employees are paid to fold shirts and sweaters neatly. At others, incredibly, employees are paid to make the bargain bins more of a mess.

Retailers want to dupe you into thinking the deals on offer are so amazing that lots of other shoppers messed up the bins in their haste to take advantage.

But just because an item is in a bargain bin, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good deal so always check and compare the prices on offer before purchasing.

5. The final temptation
You have probably noticed the racks of cheap goods that are designed to test your resolve one last time as you wait to pay.Whether it be batteries, bumper packs of chewing gum or magazines, retailers know that items of this kind are very tempting when you have nothing else to look at and time on your hands.

And as parents who go shopping with their kids know only too well, retailers hungry for their cash are also perfectly happy to pit the two generations against one another by filling the lower shelves with tempting goodies such as sweets and toys.

They know that it is easier to give in to your child's desires than to deal with the tantrums that ensue otherwise!

Ways to avoid falling for this trick include shopping online and using the self-service cash tills now available in many supermarkets. For parents, these also have the added bonus of keeping the kids busy scanning the items through.
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