How to avoid overspending this Christmas season


Maddie Squire ’19

As Christmas shoppers purchase their final gifts, some stores plan to use beguiling tactics to lure them into buying and spending gratuitously. The following strategies will help consumers avoid overspending this holiday season.
Stores such as Ann Taylor, JCPenney, Kohl’s, and Old Navy use high-low pricing during the holidays, according to High-low pricing is when a product is originally offered at a high price to establish the value in buyers’ minds. The price is then reduced to seem like a bargain. Before heading to stores, shoppers can research product prices to determine whether or not they are overspending.
According to, retailers often use large sale signs in store windows to bait customers into a store, where they are likely to buy non-sale items. In order to avoid this tactic, shoppers can check price tags to confirm that their purchase is on sale before checking out. 

Maddie Squire '19
Maddie Squire ’18

Stores such as Bath and Body Works and Williams-Sonoma use the packaging and convenience of gift sets to lure  customers into purchasing multiple items, according to huffingtonpost.comGift sets usually seem like a great deal because the value of the items priced together seems less than the items purchased separately. However, the stated value is the full retail price of the items rather than the sale price. Thus, it is actually cheaper to buy items separately. Buyers can look at the individual price of each item in a gift set to determine if buying the pieces separately is cheaper.
During the Christmas season, retailers mix luxury items into their product assortment, so the prices of their regular items seem more reasonable, according to For example, retailers place a $500 handbag next to a $100 handbag, so that the $100 bag appears to be a more economical option. The price of the first bag is used as a basis for what the shopper expects to pay. While buying Christmas gifts, shoppers can keep in mind the price of an item instead of comparing prices of other products.
Certain stores also play carefully chosen relaxing music in order to influence the shopper to buy more of their products, according to Research from the American Psychological Association and European Journal of Scientific Research shows that when a shopper goes into a store with relaxing music, they are more likely to spend a more time in the store. This tactic is used more often during the Christmas season because stores frequently play holiday music.
According to, retailers also play Christmas songs throughout stores to evoke emotions of nostalgia and generosity, which leads to the consumer purchasing more. Stores also frequently sell products that appeal to feelings of nostalgia such as record players and records.
According to, stores tend to price products with unrounded prices like $0.99 instead of whole numbers, which makes a shopper spend more. This is an example of “the left digit effect,” which states that people read from left to right, and as a result, the first digit of the price resonates with shoppers the most, according to For example, a consumer may conclude that a $39.99 item is $30 because they see the 3 first. In order to avoid this pricing tactic during the Christmas season, consumers should read the price of their purchases carefully.
According to, grocery stores often use bulk pricing to fool customers into thinking that they can only receive a discount if they comply with the bulk price. However, a consumer can usually receive the deal regardless of how many items they buy. In order to avoid this tactic, shoppers can confirm that they are saving money when buying bulk priced items.
-Maddie Squire, Staff Writer