10 ways you are secretly tricked into spending more

You may be surprised how stores trick your mind into thinking you’re getting a bargain. Here are ten tactics everyday stores use on the unsuspecting shopper.

1. Prices end with 99c.
Shoppers tend to ignore prices that end in 9c, 99c or 95c. Called the ‘Left-digit Effect’, the mind will often look at these prices and round them down. So a price that reads like $5.99 may just feel like $5.

2. They get you with smell
Various scents affect your mood. When you walk into a supermarket and smell the baked bread or cooked deli section, retailers are trying to get you to salivate. Hungry shoppers are less disciplined shoppers.

3. Slower music means more time in stores
When stores play music with a rhythm that is slower than the average heartbeat, you’re more likely to spend time in the store, and you will be 29% more likely to spend more.

4. They dumb down the discounts
If it’s easy to calculate how much you save, you assume you’re getting a better bargain. Saying “Originally $20, now $15” works better than “Originally $20, now $13.97” - even if you are saving more in the second option, the math is easier to calculate in the first option.

5. Hidden dollar signs
According to a Cornell University study, diners would spend less money if menus used the word ‘dollars’ or included dollar signs next to prices. Those without dollar reminders tricked your brain into thinking more about the reward rather than the cost.

6. You’ll spend more with a shopping trolley
If you’re on a tight budget and choosing between basket and trolley - pick the basket.  One grocery store study saw retailers doubled the size of their carts to see if customers bought more. And they did - 19 percent more.

7. Seeing red
Red stimulates and energises the brain, and may convince you to splurge more. In one study, waitresses who wear red uniforms received 14 to 26 percent higher tips than those in different coloured outfits.

8. New packaging can reduce the portions.
If your shampoo bottle has a new design but is still the same price - check the quantity as you could be paying the same for less. Manufacturers can hide this by a big dimple in the bottom of the container.

9. Body language
Research shows that physical contact (especially physical contact from a woman) can increase one’s sense of security and therefore their risk-taking behaviour when it comes to making a purchase.

10. They charge more for less
Paying more so you don’t eat as much? Mini-sized treats are not value for money. If you’re trying to eat fewer calories, you’ll be more likely to buy smaller portions of meals that cost more per serving, instead of buying a full-sized meal and portioning it out yourself.