A couple of ideas to tuck under your hat the next time you head out to spend your very hard earned money--
According to Martin Lindstrom, author of "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy," retailers can be very tricky when it comes to getting consumers to spend more than they may have planned to.
Retailers will focus more and more of their advertising toward parents with children. Why? Because kids influence 80 percent of their parents' buying habits. So leave the kids at home when you do the shopping. According to Lindstrom, whose background is in marketing and advertising, "We do know today if you bring your kid with you into a retailer, you are likely to buy up to 30 percent more."
Make a list, says Lindstrom...get into the habit because it will pay off. And while you're at it, buy the cheapest of the product type you've put on the list. "Sticking to a list and buying the cheapest of those categories will result in 35 to 45 percent in savings," he says. If you want, reward yourself for making a list by buying one extra thing off the list. We like that idea.
Beware of the buy one item--get a free "gift" or second item--deals. Lindstrom suggests consumers ask themselves if they really need that item, regardless of the "free" offer.
Take a calculator! Simple advice that will really go a long way. A calculator at the grocery store will let you know exactly how much you are spending and prevent surprises at the check out stand.
Finally, Lindstrom suggests that changing your grocery shopping habits will help you notice prices more, and cheaper brands that are available on the shelves. "When you walk down the same supermarket aisles, it's a routine. You're not going to question the price," he says. "But if you change your path through the supermarket, you're waking up and starting to evaluate the value of everything you put in your cart."