Are you already in the frenzy of the after-Christmas sales? Here are a few thinking traps that might trick you into spending more than you had planned, put together by our colleagues at eZonomics (www.eZonomics.com). Remember: if you buy something for €75 that used to cost €100 you’re not saving €25, you’re spending €75!
1 Once you start…
Deciding to buy one item may “open the floodgates” and increase the chances you will buy other items too. It is like going to the supermarket for one item and leaving with a bagful. Buying the sale item could lead to a few full priced ones too.
2 €20 is worth the same
Is a €20 discount more appealing on a €50 calculator than on a €1,250 laptop? Many of us will think so if we think about it as a share of the original cost. You may even be willing to travel to get the cheap calculator but not €20 off laptop. Remember the real buying power of the discount.
3 How much is full price elsewhere?
Simply seeing the word “sale” sparks thoughts of low price – even if that’s not truly the case. If the starting price is inflated, the discounted price may not actually represent a cheap deal. Combat this by researching deals at other vendors.
4 Beware the power of “free”
The offer of free delivery, buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) and other “free” offers are designed to appeal. The power is so strong that academic and author Dan Ariely often writes the word in all capital letters as “FREE!”. Look deeper. Costs can be worked in another way – and BOGOF offers sellers the potential to shift more product than offering 50% off.
5 I’ll just put it on the credit card
Putting a sale item on the plastic can be an easy option but beware it might reduce the “pain of paying” that shoppers are said to feel more intensely when handing over cash. During sales season, consider withdrawing the amount of cash you are willing to spend and paying only with that.
6 Drip, drip, drip of extra costs?
The delivery is free, but what about software, fees for using a credit card, a charge for handling? Known as drip pricing, unadvertised extras make the true total cost difficult to compare with prices elsewhere.
7 Available “for a limited time only”
It’s a sales cliché but for good reason. Increasing the urge to “buy now”, limited time offers up the pressure to buy by making the item or deal seem more scarce.