12 mental traps that lead us to spend more money

We live in the consumer society. We are constantly buying things: We go into deals, we renew our clothes every now and then, we become obsessed with the new cell phone model, we look for packs and limited editions of our favorite products, we buy new systems and entertainment items … and we often don’t realize what we’re spending and how we’re spending it on things we don’t really need. And sometimes, then, we regret it. Why do we do it? What drives us to overspend?

In this article, we will go over a number of mental traps that lead us to spend more moneyOften favored by corporate marketing departments.

    Different mental traps that make us overspend

    There are many mental traps that make us overspend. These traps, which we often set ourselves, are leveraged by the different advertising strategies major brands and retailers. Others, however, do not need to be used: we do them ourselves without anyone trying to get our attention. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the different mental traps that most people often fall into.

    1. Sense of reciprocity

    The interaction between buyer and seller, Especially when the latter makes an alleged concession and / or uses emotion as an element of persuasion, it makes it possible to generate the feeling of having to correspond to this interaction with a greater expense. This is a widely used item in the commercial sector when there is face to face interaction. The idea is to assume that what the other person is doing is trying to advise us as a friend. In this way, the mercantilist background of the interaction takes a back seat.

    2. Desire to be consistent

    Another element often taken advantage of by the commercial sector is the desire of the majority of people to be consistent with their previous opinions and actions. This kind of mental trap is this this makes us loyal to a brand even if there are other alternatives of equal or better quality and cheaper. It is also used to sell something in general for the person to agree to and then explain the fine print (something that a lot of people end up giving in only because they have already predisposed positively and not skew their previous opinion).

    3. The pervasive optimism bias

    Being optimistic is positive in many ways and helps us face the world with enthusiasm. However, this can lead us to underestimate the risks. This will lead to the need or economic capacity not being properly assessed in extreme cases and lead us to spend more money in a more impulsive and less thoughtful way.

      4. Celebrations and events

      It is common that on major holidays and special times like Christmas we tend to spend more. This is a time when we consider that we can afford to incur additional expenses and that sometimes these expenses exceed the limits of what we had planned. This also extends to the days created and prepared by brands and retail surfaces. to stimulate mass consumption, Such as sales or Black Friday.

      5. Go shopping as a way to escape

      Many people resort to shopping to distract themselves and forget about their problems, without needing or trying to buy something. too much it can be used to increase self-esteem in people with low self-esteem, Tried to improve self-perception through shopping (either by being well taken care of by dependents or by buying something that makes them perceive better, such as clothes). While this is something that can occupy some free time, the truth is that it can lead to large payouts and in some cases can even become compulsive and pathological.

      6. Limited availability

      That something that is seemingly temporary and restricted attracts attention and makes it easier to spend, because not to do so would be to miss an opportunity that may not happen again. This is a common business strategy to generate a sense of urgency and push for immediate and thoughtless purchases. is a resource used in products of all kinds, From food to clothing, including any type of instrument or tool.

        7. Offers and bargains

        Second unit at half price! This and other offers are among the most common items and ways to facilitate the purchase of various products, often also to compete with other brands. Being able to get you a free unit, receive an amount with your purchase, or make a second unit cheaper causes us to consider buying and spending money on something we may not have. not needed or what we were looking for.

        8. The halo effect

        The halo effect is an effect which assumes that in the presence of a positive characteristic in a person, one tends to consider that his other qualities will be also positive. For example, if someone is attractive, they will tend to be seen as a better person only if it is not. This effect is generally used to talk about how we value others, but it is also applicable to products and is used when presenting the product or in advertising campaigns.

        9. Using your credit card

        Different studies have shown that, as a general rule, we tend to spend a lot more with our credit card than if we have to pay in cash. Paying in cash forces us to see how much we are withdrawing and compare it to what we have on top of that. However, when using the card, the same does not happen: we just swipe it and type in the PIN code. This makes it easier for us to spend as we go the payment is made in a way less obvious to our conscience.

        10. Mental accounting

        Having good bookkeeping considering what we earn and what we spend is essential to keeping our money organized and keeping our spending under control. But in turn, that keeps us from having any possible extras and we don’t know exactly what to do with them. And it is that the origin of the money and the expectation that we have of it will make us appreciate it differently.

        Imagine that we find 20 € in the street, or that someone gives us money that we did not expect: not having planned it, we will not have the same level of desire for conservation that we would generate of the money we would have earned by working. So that this can generate that we tend to spend whims uncontrollably and thoughtless.

        11. Fashion and trends

        Being fashionable is another of the little mental traps that cause us to spend more money than we should. The need to feel appreciated and admiredBeing on the cutting edge and not being left behind or maintaining a sense of belonging to our social group can be some of the reasons behind this.

        If our idol and role model wears a certain brand of clothing or cologne, or if it is fashionable to wear a petrol blue dress, it is much easier to spend money on those items even if we don’t really need the product. We don’t want to be left behind, and that can cause some people to buy something to be fashionable.

        12. Favorable currency

        One aspect that also causes us to spend a lot more money than we usually would is only when traveling to other countries that do not have the same currency as us, especially when the local currency is less valuable. than ours.

        We usually do not have in mind the exact change, but if the idea that the value of our currency has increases. It means to think that we have more purchasing powerThis makes it easier for us to spend more money by not being very clear about the exact value for money and assuming that what we buy will come back to us at a relatively low price. So we bought more than usual. Conversely, a country where our currency is less valuable than the local currency will make us tend to have more control over what we spend.

        bibliographical references

        • Cialdini, R. (1983, 1984). Affecting. The psychology of persuasion. Revised edition. HarperCollins.
        • McGuire, WJ (1969). A model for processing information on advertising effectiveness. In HL Davis & AJ Silk (Eds.), Behavioral and Management Sciences in Marketing. New York: Ronald.
        • Thaler, RH and Sunstein, CR (2008). Nudge: Improve decisions about health, wealth and happiness. Yale University Press.
        • Wertenbroch, K .; Soma, D. and Chattopadhyay, A. (2007). On the perceived value of money: the benchmark dependence on the effects of monetary abundance. Journal of Consumer Research, 34.

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