Clench your fist & save money at the mall. – SCN Encourager 12/6/2013

Does shopping for the holidays stress you out?

It sure does me.

And you’d think living in a household of women would’ve broken me in by now.

But on Friday evenings in December, as I head home from work, I wonder what’s “in store.”

I could’ve been crowing all week long about wanting to view yet one more “game of the century” on Saturday… but no one in my household gives a hoot when there’s a long holiday shopping list (no less complete than a Common Core rubric) begging to overwhelm our combined purchasing power.

The same thing applies when I lovingly point out, “Hey, don’t we have some weddings we’re trying to save for?”

The proverbial tree that falls all alone in the woods is heard more clearly than I am.

Oh well, no sense morphing into a Scrooge about shopping with the family.

I can always flit from TV to TV, from store to store, whenever possible. (Not easy with daughters, of course, but I’ve had years of practice.)

Farnoosh Torabi is a Moneywatch correspondent for CBS News.

Since her articles share money-saving tips, I occasionally will print up copies for our coffee table in the family room.

The copies I carefully put out before Thanksgiving still haven’t been touched.

A couple were used as coasters, though, by my mother-in-law and her sister.

I think they were just trying to humor me.

Anyway, I hope you’re interested in ways to save money.

You’re all I’ve got left.

So how ’bout this one?

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.29.49 PMFarnoosh wrote that if you’re thinking about spending money on something, you should quickly make a fist.

Studies show that if you associate spending money with discomfort, you’ll spend less.

One of her artlcles also mentions that your frugality improves if you drink lots of water and get plenty of rest right before shopping.

In some of her other “consumer spending” profiles, Farnoosh listed a few other factors that impact how we make our choices when we’re in stores or restaurants.

Some of them may even be relevant to our work.

She says many retail establishments have given up on asking customers to calculate percentage discounts or make use of multiplication tables.

They’ve discovered that improved profits come more readily with “easy math.”

For example, more people will buy an item marked down from $10 to $8 than when it’s marked down from $9.92 to $5.86.

Farnoosh notes that some places don’t even bother using dollar signs ($) anymore.

They just show a price; 26, 11, 9, or whatever.

Apparently, if there’s no “$” sign in front of the price, lots of people will overlook that money is actually required for the transaction.

And get this.

Studies also have shown that if you show the exact same price in two different type sizes, more consumers will gravitate toward the price that’s presented in the smallest type. ($9.97 beats $9.97)

Farnoosh has the psychology behind our “consumerism” wrapped up in all kinds of ways.

And I could go on and on…

But I can’t.

I see some fists waving at me from across the room.

In our family, that’s the signal for me to grab my coat and car keys.

Enjoy your weekend — and please text me sports score updates!

Tom Page, SCN
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