Should you heed Dave Ramsey’s warnings about these tricks for retailers during the holidays?

Woman browsing in electronics store.

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Don’t overspend because of retailer shenanigans.

key point

  • Dave Ramsey warns that there are some common tricks retailers use to prompt you to spend more during the holidays.
  • You can avoid falling into this trap by knowing them ahead of time.
  • Beware of psychological tricks like colors and smells that compel shoppers to buy more.

If you’re like most people, chances are you’re out and about shopping. Unfortunately, when you’re walking around stores and retail outlets, you run the risk of spending more than you expected on your credit card.

That’s because retailers have a number of tricks they implement to try and convince you to break your budget and buy more than you need. The good news is that you can avoid these pitfalls if you shop wisely.

To help you out, financial expert Dave Ramsey has some advice on retailer tricks to avoid.

Retailer tips to watch out for

Ramsey warns of the many different shenanigans that retailers pull on to boost your spending. Specifically, he said don’t fall into the following traps that could lead to a broken budget:

  • buy now pay later arrangement: These payment plans can make your purchase seem more affordable by letting you spread out large expenses into monthly payments. But, they end up costing you more — even if they promise 0% interest rates for a period of time. Ramsey warns that most people who sign up for the promotion won’t pay by the end of the promotion and will end up being charged extra – and this includes even high-income families.
  • Sales that are not real deals: Ramsey acknowledges that some sales are legitimate and can actually help you celebrate for less. “Shopping for discounts and promotions is actually a great way to make Christmas shopping more affordable – sales are not a bad thing at all,” he said. However, he warned that sometimes stores mark up prices only to lower them later. He makes it clear that online stores that require you to spend a certain amount to get free shipping can be especially dangerous because you often end up buying a lot more than you planned, just to save a few bucks on postage.
  • Colors that drive more purchases: There may be a reason why retailers like to decorate their stores in red and green—and it’s not just because it’s festive. “Red creates a sense of ‘must act now,’ and stores often use it to target impulsive buyers,” warns Ramsey. He recommends really taking the time to consider whether you need an item with a red sale is grabbing your attention.
  • music: Are Christmas Carols Really Evil? If you believe Ramsay’s advice, they probably will. “During the holidays, Christmas classics may make you feel more nostalgic and willing to buy things you weren’t planning to buy,” says Ramsay. He also said that upbeat music can encourage consumption by increasing excitement.
  • Smells: Mint and pine are in demand as festive fragrances that can also evoke nostalgic feelings and prompt you to over buy. Don’t let these familiar and comforting smells prompt you to put too many items in your shopping cart, warns Ramsey.

Should you listen to Ramsay?

Ramsey is absolutely right, retailers are using all of these techniques – and more – to do everything possible to get you to buy a lot this holiday season. The good news is, it’s easy to stop them. Make a list before you go to the store and stick to it so you don’t get prompted by store tricks to buy things you don’t really need in the end.

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