But wait! This doesn’t always have to be the case. YOU chatted to Aseema Kazi, professional image consultant and director and founder of The Style Factor, about how to prevent shopping from becoming your budget’s biggest enemy.
Here are five shopping tricks to help you spend less:
1. Spend less by using cash
When you use cash you tend to spend less and sometimes even half as much as when you who use cards. Research shows that spending cash is more painful than putting down plastic. MRI scans of those faced with a purchasing decision showed the pain centres in the brain activate when they see high prices, while using a credit card numbed that response.
2. Be wary of sales, discounts and online vouchers
A common mistake. There’s nothing wrong with buying items on sales but don’t fall for it unless you were already planning to buy the item before it went on sale. Sounds simple, but our minds play tricks on us. We leave the store with four shirts because of a buy two get one free deal and end up spending more than we would have on just one shirt, which was all we needed in the first place. And here’s the thing: we think we saved money, when the reverse is true.
3. Don’t shop with shopaholics
Easier said than done. Research confirms that our friends influence our weight, whether we smoke and where we dine so why not our spending? A lot of people feel the pressure to keep up with their friends when it comes to spending on dining out, tech gadgets and clothing. The solution isn’t to dump your debt-laden friends, but it’s probably best to skip going to the mall with them.
4. Don’t trust your senses
Did you know there are specialised companies dedicated to creating “ambient scenting” or making customer aromas for retailers and other businesses? For example, an ice cream store hired a company to position the aroma of sugar cookies at the top of the staircase and waffle cones at the bottom to draw the customers to its lower level ice cream shop. Stores use fragrances, lighting and music to create an atmosphere that makes you want to buy. Hearing classical music has also been shown to make shoppers buy more expensive things.
5. Expand your shopping universe
Instead of heading to your favourite store or to the one closest to you, consider shopping at a store that’s better value for money. Many large stores house various brands all under one roof. These stores tend to run massive month-end discounts or end-of-season sales and you’re more likely to get items at half price compared to an individual store.