Save money shopping: 8 dirty tactics shops use to make you spend more

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Saving money when shopping just got easier: Here are eight things to look out for next time in you're in the supermarket.

As a business they're there to make money but some of the sneaky tactics used by the big shops today make Dastardly and Muttley look the good guys.

Injecting scents

Yes, shops inject smells to entice you to want to buy more and it works. Supposedly at least, the sense of smell bypasses many parts of your brain's rational thinking to encourage impulse buying. While we wouldn't suggest popping down to your local supermarket wearing a clothes peg on your nose, just remember next time you smell that freshly baked bread or sizzling sausage it may just be a mutli-million pound marketing trick.

Free samples

It goes against the basics of business to give away your product for nothing so why do shops often have free samples? Well there's the obvious reason: to persuade you to buy some more but also a psychological reason. Free samples encourage the reciprocal response in our brain and make us feel like we owe something to the shop, and unsurprisingly that often comes in the form of an unneeded purchase.

Cunning positioning

If you've ever gone into a large supermarket for just a few essentials, say just some bread and milk, you'll probably find they're about as far apart as can be and that's a feature, not a bug. Common items are spread out to make sure you walk past more products, increasing your purchases.

Deals that just don't exist


That product may have a snazzy, bright and colourful label but what is the actual text telling you? A lot of the time there's simply no deal to be had so be warned: Always read the label carefully!

The eye level con

The most expensive items are placed at eye level (and when it comes to products like toys, that will of course be a kid's eye level) so be sure to look up and look down for a bargain rather than grabbing the first thing you see.

Music to make you buy

The music played in shops is also tactically decided: Slower tunes make you lag around the store, therefore spending more time looking at products and increasing the likelihood of a purchase. Furthermore, classical music has been shown to result in more expensive purchases.

Checkout coaxes

Even with self-service tills, supermarkets are still littering their checkouts with point of sale opportunities such as sweets, chocolates and chewing gum in the hope of instant impulse buys. Resist the temptation!

Taking advantage of laziness

When it comes to fruit and veg you can usually but it in pre-packaged quantities or buy it loose by weight. Unsurprisingly, even for the exact same amount of product, the pre-packaged options are almost always more expensive and chances are contain far much more food than you'll ever eat before it goes off. Grab a plastic bag and buy exactly what you need!