9 reasons you overspend

Quantities are limited

Whether there are limited numbers of upscale items being manufactured or strict caps on sale merchandise at the supermarket, there is something about limited quantities that makes consumers want to stock up – and retailers know it.

“Limited-time deals give consumers the perception that the product is offered on a good deal [and] they will be one of the few lucky ones to get this opportunity,” explains Vicki Morwitz, a marketing professor at New York University. “Consumers feel like the [product] is scarce, when in many cases it is not, but that perception of scarcity leads to this feeling of urgency to buy now.”

A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found that lower limits such as “two per visit” made consumers purchase the product more often while higher limits like “10 per person” increased the amount of the sale for each visit.

Either way, imposing rules on purchases had the same effect – shoppers spent more.

Smart move: Shop with a list. Knowing what you need before you walk into the store may help you avoid impulse purchases and keep your budget in check.