5 tricks stores use to get you to spend more during the holiday season

Stores use these 5 tricks to make you spend more during the holidays

It's easy to blow through your budget during the holidays, especially since stores are carefully designed to trick you into overspending.

CNBC spoke with Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer affairs expert at, about the strategies stores use to get you to spend more.

Look out for these common tricks while shopping this holiday season.

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They get you in the door with big red "Sale" signs

"Around the holiday season, retailers create deals on specific items to create a sense of urgency to purchase," says Smith. Ultimately, the big "sale" sign is pure bait to get you in the store, and once you're there you're more likely to buy non-sale items.

There's a reason the signs are red: People react faster and more forcefully when they see the color.

They place the pricier items at eye level

"Eye level is buy level," says Smith. "Products positioned right in front of you are likely to sell better, so make it a point to shop the lower and higher levels of the shelves to find the best deals."

She also notes that eye level can mean different things for different age groups: "Products marketed towards adults will be higher on the shelf than toys marketed for children."

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They end prices with $.99

Consumers are more likely to purchase something starting with a smaller number and ending with '$0.99' than a whole number, Smith tells CNBC Make It: "When consumers see '$0.99' alone, they assume the item is on sale or they are getting a good deal.

"Even if it is just the difference between $9.99 or $10.00, $9.99 seems like a far better price."

They put you in the mood to spend

Every aspect of a store's design is carefully engineered to get you to spend more, including the tunes in the background.

"Music is always a great way to set the mood for shopping," says Smith. "Retailers will play holiday music to get shoppers in the spirit for spending."

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They load the checkout aisle with tempting products

"What does every shopper with items in their cart or basket have in common? They all must pass through and spend time at the checkout area," says Smith. "This is the last point for a store to pique customers' interests."

Your self-control is likely exhausted by the time you're done shopping, and stores know that. That's why they bank on you succumbing to the batteries, candy or small stocking-stuffer items near the registers.

Stick to your list, keep your head down, avoid the knick-knacks and save.

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This article was originally published November 22, 2017.