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Why it’s hard to stick to your shopping budget


Do you often find yourself spending more than you want to when you shop for groceries or that you buy items not on your list?

It may not be for lack of discipline on your part.

Amanda Geronikos, in an article for MSN Money partner site Money Talks News, says establishments use what she calls “supermarket tricks” to get you to spend more. So next time you go to the grocery and you want to stick to your budget, it may help to know some of the ways Geronikos says stores employ to make shoppers spend more than they want to and get them to buy things they do not want or do not even need.

The store layout, she notes, puts items on almost everybody’s shopping list like milk, bread and eggs in vastly different locations and away from the entrance. This opens the shopper to the temptation of impulse buying as he/she negotiates the store aisles to get to the things he/she really needs.

Impulse buying encouraged

Geronikos says stores also group foods that go together like chips and dips. So, while you have only listed chips, you may just be tempted to try a new dip. Mouthwatering smells of newly baked bread or cookies, roasting chicken, etc. can also lead to impulse buying.

Bigger grocery carts also make people buy more, she says, as she notes that “a half empty cart makes it appear you’re missing something.”

Shelf placement is another way stores get you to spend more, Geronikos says. Pricier brands of a product are placed at eye level while more budget-friendly versions are stacked below where it will be a little more inconvenient to get them.

Even the music played is designed to make the shopper linger, she says, by helping create a pleasant atmosphere. Of course, the longer you stay, the more you spend.

So-called promotions

Some so-called promotions or special deals may also make you buy more than you actually need. But if the item is perishable, you may end up wasting money, instead of saving, as the product spoils.

Geronikos advises vigilance to avoid falling into these shopping traps. “The solution is to be aware you’re being played and respond accordingly. Your first line of defense is understanding the rules of engagement. Every business uses tricks of the trade… But just as retailers are free to use them, you’re free to understand and resist them,” she says.

Lenten schedules

Robinsons malls, except for Robinsons Place Palawan, Robinsons Place Pangasinan, Summit Ridge in Tagaytay City and Robinsons Luisita in Tarlac, will be closed on March 28-29, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, respectively. Mall operations will resume on March 30.

All Philippine National Bank branches will be closed from March 28-30, “including those that are normally open on Saturdays.” An advisory from PNB says the bank will undergo a nationwide system upgrade during the Holy Week to further improve service.

Also unavailable from 3 a.m. on March 30 to 10 p.m. on March 31 are Internet, mobile and phone banking services.

While all automated teller machines will continue to be available, the bank advises clients “to transact early and plan your ATM requirements” as heavy usage is expected during the extended holiday. Moreover, funds transfer, bills payment and interbank funds transfer will also not be available.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.

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Tags: Amanda Geronikos , groceries , Robinsons malls , shopping

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