It’s Monday morning, the clock didn’t go off, and you are late. You slip into the car seat and plop your coffee into the holder. Ignition started, and suddenly you are greeted with a low fuel light! You devise a plan to stop at the nearest gas station and throw a few dollars in the tank. “Oh, but what is this?” No receipt paper? You need your receipt, as you are being reimbursed for your fuel. Begrudgingly you enter the store, and you are not the only one. There is a line, and since the cashier won’t make eye contact, you wait. You missed breakfast, so you grab a packaged sweet. Worried about how that will be on your breath, you add some mints. Soda would be refreshing in the afternoon and five dollars later, you are out the door with your receipt. Do you think this was an accident? No, you have been played. This particular fuel company has figured out they make more money when people have to come in for their receipt. They are not alone in using deceptive practices to pick up a little extra cash.
On Friday, you head out for your weekly lunch, it seems lightly busy, but still, you are asked to wait. Strange, there are empty tables. It does not make any sense except, the restaurant has a little gift shop in the waiting area. An extra fifteen minutes means having a look at what they have to offer, and suddenly cha-ching! You are the owner of a plaque and a desk calendar, not to mention candy.
Long line at the store, due to not having enough cashiers? Another soda, some peanuts, and a weekly magazine are added to the list of things you hadn’t planned on buying this week. At the gym famished? What a great selection of water and healthy salads! So thoughtful of them to provide this. Let’s not forget a trip to the hospital for your father’s routine surgery. Do you really think that the gift shop and coffee stand is for the patients? They know you’re bored, that’s at least three hours you will be left to wander the halls.
We think store owners and the like are offering these items as a service to make life convenient for us. The truth is the earrings in the nail parlor, and hairspray at the salon add profit to their bottom line. My local grocer’s fuel stand has now put snacks between the pumps in the instance that coming in for the proof of purchase is not required. Unfortunately for us, if we’re living paycheck to paycheck, we didn’t budget for these items. Some other line item on our banking program is going to suffer the loss.
How do we avoid falling for the merchant’s strategically placed goods? It’s all about being deliberate according to financial planners. They advise strictly adhering to a budget. If it’s not on the budget, don’t put it on the counter. Instead of falling for last minute snacks when you’re low on time and energy, keep protein bars in your desk or purse. Make your own lunch for after the gym, and keep bottled water in the car. Hitting the bench when on a wait at a restaurant (especially if they have a bar), keeps your overall check low. Self-checkouts are quicker during busy times at the grocer’s, Using these tips from the experts as roadblocks can veer us off the path from miscellaneous spending.