Posted by Jean
When you go shopping, do you leave the store with more than you originally set out to buy? If you’re guiltily nodding yes, you’re not alone: a new study reveals that 9 out of every 10 shoppers leave stores having bought more than what was on their shopping list.
This is a bad financial habit, to be sure, but the good news is that impulse purchases can’t be blamed entirely on your own self control (or lack thereof). A recent story in Daily Finance reveals that retailers have a bevy of favorite tricks when it comes to getting you to reach deeper in your pockets. Here’s what you should watch out for if you don’t want to veer off your shopping list:
- Color-coordinated displays. Retailers will group similarly-themed items (say, kitchenware) in new and vibrant hues. It is their hope that you see this and think, “Ooh, tangerine is so IN this season, and I could make my kitchen super stylish just by buying these six items!”
- Punitive pricing promotions. So you need a new pair of jeans, but GAP is only running a “buy one, get one 50% off” deal? This is a trap. Retailers know you’re a sucker for a sale, and that seeing that “50% off” will appeal to your budget-conscious side. So, they make it so you can’t get the deal unless you buy two of whatever you’re selling. However, it’s important to remember that unless it was your original intention to buy two pairs of jeans, that “deal” isn’t a deal at all.
- The up-sell. I find that you need to be on the lookout for the up-sell just about anywhere you shop: at the electronics store, where they will insist that you need that extra-special cable for your new camera. At the appliance store, where you are told that the extended warranty is worth the extra money. At restaurants, where a carafe of the house wine would do just fine… until the waitress comes by and says that you must try the 2007 Beaujolais — it’s only $5 for a “huge jump” in quality! In moments like these, it’s important to remember what you came for — and that the salesperson is NOT your friend, so he/she does not have your best interest in mind when making these suggestions. (This is actually Money Rule #46.)
To see a few more traps you should watch out for, check out the full Daily Finance article here.
And now, here are the other headlines for the week:
Avoiding Mortgage Relief Scams
I’ve written here before about some new mortgage relief programs, including HARP, HAMP, and the $25 billion mortgage settlement between the Justice Department and the nation’s five biggest banks. Given all this news on the mortgage relief front, it can be easy to lose track of what is a legitimate relief program and what is a scam. In fact, law firms recently reported a 60 percent jump in complaints about mortgage scams this year alone — yikes! In light of that troubling statistic, the New York Times provided some tips on how consumers can protect themselves from these scams. Among their advice: beware of promises and DON’T pay in advance. If a lawyer is telling you he or she can 100 percent guarantee restored credit, find a different attorney.
Setting Up a Will
According to a new survey by Rocket Lawyer, an online legal service, 71 percent of adults under the age of 34 and 41 percent of Baby Boomers do not have a will. What’s more, it seems that as years go by, wills are not changing with the times. USA Today recently highlighted some of the most commonly-ignored issues when it comes to creating a will, and what struck me was the section on digital assets. In this day and age, Americans place an average value of $55,000 on their digital assets, yet more than a third of people lack protection for these assets in their wills. If you have a considerable amount of digital assets — defined as online photos, bank statements, smart phones and other digital devices — consider adding a codicil (an amendment) to your own will.
All About Giving
Finally, in an upcoming episode of “Cash Call,” we’re talking all about philanthropy: philanthropy of time, philanthropy of money, and how you can give these gifts during retirement. As usual, we’ll be talking your calls, questions and comments during the show, so I’m curious: what do you want to know about philanthropy? Have you always wanted to volunteer your time and money but haven’t been able to figure out the best way to do it? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to answer them on the show!
Have a great week,