NewsNational News


Four ways stores get you to spend more — without you realizing it

Posted at 9:17 AM, Oct 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-13 09:25:49-04

RICHMOND, Va -- If you've ever gone to the store with a specific budget in mind and left with extra purchases and way over budget, you may not be entirely at fault.

CBS News reports on several techniques used by all kinds of sellers -- from grocers, to restaurants, to real estate agents -- that can get a consumer to spend more money than they plan to.

Here are a few of them:

If you see a price tag that ends in 9, 99, or 95, you're seeing the first technique in action.

Known as "charm pricing," consumer experts say pricing products this way has been shown to increase sales. The reason, consumers read prices from left to right, so buying decisions are affected in large part by the first number in the price.

Setting the cents in a price to 99 allows a seller to drop the dollar amount of the price, increasing appeal while not really decreasing the price.

When you're at a restaurant

You may see items on a menu priced without cents (think $10 instead of $10.00). Using this kind of formatting is common in high-end restaurants and sends the message that the place is high-end and its customers should not be worrying about left-over change.

Restaurants also sometimes forego the dollar sign: this is also a technique to encourage spending. Consumer experts say it makes customers forget that they're spending money, so they're more likely to spend it carelessly.

Bulk buys

An additional technique can be found in super stores and grocery stores. Bulk deals that offer several items for a flat rate (10 for $10) can get customers to spend more money as well. The trick here, though, is the bulk deal often applies to an individual purchase -- so a customer can get still get the savings by buying fewer items.

You can see the full list on CBS News's website.