‘Sales Schemes’ That get you Every Time

Sale StickersHave you ever felt like you’re making all the right decisions, but for some reason at the end of the month, you still haven’t saved any money? That despite shopping smart, cutting back on certain things, and finding ways to cut back on your utilities, you still don’t have the extra funds you wanted for your holiday? We realized this was a huge problem with parents today, so we decided to a little bit of investigating. After extensive research, we think we’ve found the culprits.

Sales tactics, or sales schemes as we like to call them, are these little tricks that retailers, whether online or brick and mortar, use to get you to purchase more than you originally planned. They use decorative words to make it sound like you’re getting a deal when you’re actually spending more money.

Below is a list of some of the most common sales schemes out there, so you can prepare yourself next time you’re out shopping.

1. Free Shipping for Orders Over..

There’s something painful about paying for shipping. When you’ve spent time picking out exactly what you need and comparing prices to make sure you get the best deal, it’s hard to see those added costs when you checkout. Some stores offer free shipping with purchases over a certain amount, which is great if you’ve already reached or gone over that amount. The problem comes up when you’re come below that amount and are trying to reach it.

We’ve all done it. We really want free shipping, so even though our current cart amount is £20 or £30 below the required amount, we keep shopping. And even if we only needed one or two items from that particular store, we end up spending a lot more on things we don’t need instead of just paying for shipping.

If this sounds like something you do, there’s an easy solution to seeing if free shipping is actually worth those few extra pounds. Just start the checkout process and see if the shipping amount comes out to less than the difference between what you’re spending and the free shipping amount. If it’s lower, then just pay for the shipping. It might hurt, but it will save you money.

2. Buy one get one Free (or Half off)

These BOGO sales are great if you were already planning to buy more than one of something. Or even if it’s something that you can store for a bit, go ahead. I mean, certain grocery items have a long shelf life, so if you’re going to keep purchasing that item, you might as well buy two for the price of one and cut out buying one later down the line. So, yes, BOGOs are great. Sometimes.

If you weren’t even planning to buy a certain item, but find yourself considering it because it’s on sale, then you might have fallen for a sales scheme. For some of us, it’s not even BOGOs in supermarkets that are tempting. It’s the BOGOs at shoe or clothing stores. If you weren’t planning on getting a new pair of shoes, don’t rush to the store because you’ve heard there’s a BOGO sale. You’ll end up spending money you hadn’t budgeted for and it will put you behind for the month. Stay strong!

3. 10 mix and Match Items for £10!

Ever gone to a grocery store and seen a large bin filled with items with the sales scheme 10 for £10 written on it? That seems like a great deal, right? Well, it depends. How much were the items to begin with? If they were close to the £1 to begin with, then spending that amount of money on them just to get it in bulk doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unless you need 10 of the things on sale, it’s better to just buy the amount you need and move on.

So what about the mix and matching aspect of this sales tactic? You can pick out multiple different items and get them for a measly £10! First, again, do you need them? Are they good for you? What were their original prices? And, since these sales are usually done for a reason, when is their expiration date? If you still want them after getting all this information, then by all means, buy the 10 items. But, if your enthusiasm starts to die down, then stick to your list and ignore this trick.

4. Vouchers/Coupons

Now, don’t get us wrong. At BB4BM, we love coupons and vouchers. They’re a great way of saving money on items that you need. The problem is that sometimes coupons can get you to buy items that you didn’t even want in the first place.

Have you ever been snipping out your coupons when you see one that looks like a really good deal? So you cut it and put it aside, just in case. And just like that, you’ve fallen for a sales scheme! Those marketers are good, aren’t they? They’ll convince us all that we should buy something that we don’t need, just because there’s a coupon. Or, and this is even worse, they’ll offer coupons that aren’t really even deals. Two items for £2? But the original price for each item was £1? Definitely not a deal and definitely a sales scheme.

5. Storewide Sale Events

Everyone knows that at BB4BM, we love a good sales event. After all, if we’re going to be purchasing something anyways, you might as well get it on sale! The problem with storewide sales is that they’re very rarely storewide. They’ll use tricky words like ‘up to 50% off’. That key phrase ‘up to’ means that there are a lot of things that will be less than 50% off.

When there are big sales events, make sure you go in aware that the items you want might not be as inexpensive as you expected. And be ready to change your shopping plans, so you don’t get sucked into this sales tactic.

6. Loyalty Programs

There isn’t anything particularly bad about loyalty programs. If you have to shop at a particular store or use a particular service continuously, then being part of their loyalty program may help you save quite a bit of money. The problem comes up when you keep going to a specific place because you’re part of their loyalty program, but there are better deals out there.

For examples, there was a supermarket that had a loyalty program that, depending on how much was purchased, offered certain amounts off on petrol. So, despite the fact that the groceries at this store were priced a bit higher than other stores, people would flock there to save money on filling up their cars. But, and here’s where they get us, the loyalty cards only worked at specific petrol stations. And it just so happened that those stations had higher prices of gas, anyways.

Loyalty programs are slippery slopes. Don’t get so devoted to one store, one petrol station, or one coffee shop that you aren’t aware of better deals elsewhere.

7. Sneaky Pricing

This one is a pretty well-known trick, but we still fall for it every time. Instead of simply saying something costs £10, the price tag will read £9.99. And of course, that’s a huge deal, so it gets purchased. There’s something about the number ‘9’ that makes us think that we’re getting a good deal, when we’re really paying about the same price.

The best way to avoid being tricked by this sneaky pricing is to just round up whenever you see a price. Even if it’s priced at £9.49, just think of it as £10. It will help you ignore the pricing game, so you’ll be more likely to purchase the things you need at smart prices. And, when you checkout, your final bill will be a lot less than you expected!

8. Upselling

If you’ve ever been to a Starbucks and been asked if you want to get a Venti for 10p more, then you’ve experienced upselling. It’s a sales scheme that workers are taught to try to get you to buy more, and pay for more, than you want. Sometimes, yes, you do want the bigger size or extra of something for a little bit more, but most of the time the first thing you’ve asked for is what you need.

And it isn’t something that’s just used for foods. If you’ve ever gone to a clothing store and been asked, “What else can I get you?” or “What else would you like?”, then you’re being upsold. It’s a psychological way of prompting us to look for that something else we want, even if it isn’t something we need.

9. Add-ons

So, you’ve managed to make it through the store without buying anything you didn’t need. You didn’t fall for their sales prices, BOGOs, or coupons. And now you’re checking out, feeling relieved that you’ve made it to the end without being tricked. But, then you notice you’re surrounded by candy bars, candy, and drinks. And the sales clerk leans over and asks if you want to join their loyalty program. You’re not safe yet!

Add-ons are last minute things that stores will try to get you to buy before you leave. The candy, the loyalty programs, all these things are one last attempt to get you to spend a little more money. But, you’ve been warned, so now you won’t fall for it. Unless you really need that candy bar (and sometimes you do), ignore those last minute add-ons, get out, and congratulate yourself for not falling for any sales schemes!

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigDo these ring a bell with you? Have you got any 'top tips' that you use to avoid falling for these sale tactics? We love feedback so please use the comment section below.

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