Marketers are geniuses. You may not realize it, but just about every consumer decision you make is influenced by some marketing tactic or other. Sometimes, marketers are doing their best to simply compete in a tough market – vying for your dollars in every way possible.; however, marketing messages can sometimes be inherently nefarious. Marketing wizards understand how much we like the idea of “saving,” and they generally hold nothing back when it comes to exploiting this fact. The following are some examples of just how nifty these tricks might be.
1) Perishable bulk food: You don’t need boatloads of cream cheese at Costco or a giant tub of grated parmesan from Sam’s Club! The simple fact is, the average consumer just isn’t going to eat all the perishable food before, well, it perishes. You’re not saving money if you end up throwing away even 20% of the plus-sized product.
2) “Limited Time Only!” sales: We’ve all been there. You walk past the Loft and the big red sign catches your attention. It can’t hurt to walk in, right? Sometimes, it can. Most products that go on “sale” stay on sale until they’re cleared out and replaced by better items, anyway. In the long run, everything is a clearance item, and the best way to get the deepest discounts is to wait until they’re obsolete and just taking up space.
3) The classic “two-fer”: Also, a really common practice. Some online retailers will urge you to spend an extra amount to “earn” free shipping. Even Macy’s and other department stores will provide the illusion of saving in an effort to purchase another item. Again, while this method may actually save you money, more often than not it’s just a gimmick. Steer clear unless you really were on the hunt for that specific product.
4) Anything an auto body or car shop wants to give away: This one is really self-explanatory. If you thought mechanics get a bad rap, you were right. Car mechanics are extremely shifty tacticians. Cheap oil changes and free inspections rope the customer in so the guys in the back can give your car the once-over and discover all sorts of awful problems that absolutely must be fixed this second lest your vehicle fall apart and you be forced to travel by unicycle. Again, I’m not saying all mechanics are evil, but be sure you need the work before you sign on. A second opinion is a pain-in-the-you-know-what, but it can go a long way. Also, you might want to network to find a recommended mechanic. Using an existing relationship can sometimes be the reason you don’t get ripped off.
5) Lastly, and most importantly, work with your financial adviser to develop an automated savings plan. “Set it and forget it” is simply the best way to ensure your long-term plan stays intact.
Josh Faizzadeh provides practical advice and guidance for success to individuals, families and small businesses. Josh dedicates his professional life to the financial well-being of his clients. firstname.lastname@example.org