49. Let's go shopping together! Impulse spending at the store.

Have you ever gone into a store for one thing, and came out with a cartful? I sure have. The truth is, stores leverage psychology against you to get you to buy. That’s why in this episode of the Money Mindset Shift, we’re going shopping!

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Welcome to episode 49 of the Money Mindset Shift. As mentioned in the last episode, let’s go shopping together. Impulse spending at the store is a fully real thing. And in the last episode, we talked about impulse spending in regards to microtransactions on mobile games. But that’s probably not like the experience most of us are having, correct?

Like it’s probably when we’re going to the store, when we go shopping. So in this episode, that’s exactly what we’re focusing on: impulse spending at the store.

Now we need to set the scene. So imagine this with me: we’re going to Target. And I am mentioning it because we’re gonna talk about their branding too in a moment, but we’re going to target, right? You walk into the store on the left-hand side, that’s their front entrance. So this is a store that only has one entrance.

You come in, you’ve got your coffee, your Starbucks, off to the left-hand side, and off to the right-hand side is the registers. So, you know, you walk in and Target’s, branding has been really good at this, of, this is a store that you go to to treat yourself. A lot of their marketing is around like, oh, I went in for one thing and I came out with like a hundred dollars worth of stuff, or like, I just went in to get toilet paper and I’ve got clothes and makeup, et cetera.

Okay, so Target’s branding, when you think of Target, you already think impulse spending. All right. They’ve, they’ve done great at this. It’s in not just their own stuff that they, like, they share on social media, but it’s also in like the things that they retweet from other people that they share, um, those like branding partnerships with influencers and whatever.

So, it’s there. It’s in their marketing. They’ve done a great job at this. Of not just like it’s going to the store. It’s an experience. And when you go there, you impulse spend, because of course they’ve got amazing stuff, right? That’s, that’s the story. So because we’ve walked into Target and on the left-hand side, they’ve got the coffee, the Starbucks, right?

And we already know, treat ourselves. We’re at Target, we’re treating ourselves, right? We’re gonna get the coffee. Okay, so now we’ve gotten the coffee and across from the coffee next to the carts, next to the cash registers, the checkouts, is the dollar spot section. I don’t remember what they’re calling it at this moment, but it’s like Spot’s Finds, the dollar section, what have you.

And of course they’ve got seasonal things there. They’ve got cute things. I’ve bought various little stands and tables for my plants from that section. Um, I have pride hand towels that have come from that section. So like, they’re gonna get you, right? You’re like, oh, it’s only a dollar, it’s only five bucks, right?

I’m not breaking my budget. It’s just a quick and easy thing. Which if you remember from the last episode about micro transactions, it’s in part easy to impulse spend because it’s so low. Okay? Now, not all microtransactions are 99 cents a $1.99, $2.99, whatever, right? Some of them do go up to like $99.

It is, it is quite mind blowing, but it, it’s also that contrast, right? So, you know the dollar section is you’re finding good stuff and you’re finding it cheap and it’s like a treasure hunt. So now you’ve got that extra dopamine, serotonin like hit. You’ve got that extra neurotransmitter hit. You’re like, “Yeah! This is a great price. And I found that? Amazing.”

Okay, so as we move on from that section in this Target, they have their, as we’re going down the main aisle way, right towards the back of the store, because I don’t know about you, but I am fully trained to go clockwise. That’s like if I came in on the right-hand side of the store, I would have to go clockwise.

I don’t know what it is. Um, but especially at the store that we’re imagining here, which is actually based on a real Target location, the cash registers are off to the right and there’s always a line. So I’m like, yeah, I don’t wanna go that way. There’s always a bunch of people, I’m gonna go clockwise, right? Instead of counterclockwise.

So anyways. We’re going up the main, main aisleway, right? And on each side of this aisleway is clothing. It’s the feminine clothing, right? So there’s your seasonal items, there’s your Wild Fable, like teen stuff off to the right-hand side, bathing suits, seasonal things. So sometimes there’s the like pajama sets at Christmas time.

Okay, so you’re going by these things and you’re like, oh, that’s cute. They’ve also got that new designer section up in that front right hand corner, and you’re like, “Oh! The new designer stuff!” We’ve got, you know, you’re, you’re going past things and you’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s cute!” Right?

And as you keep going, there’s the accessories. So they’re all sparkly and shiny and they’re facing the aisle way, of course. Right? So they’re catching your eye and you’re like, “Ooh, that is a really cute purse. Oh, that necklace, those earrings!” And as you keep going back, now you’re hitting on the right-hand side to the intimates.

And now they don’t have like the lingerie up in the aisle way. No. They’ve got the comfy, cozy robes that are soft. You’re like, oh, I need to touch that. Right? Sensory experience. And as we keep going to the back and the back left-hand corner is the, the changing area, so you can like try on the clothes and whatnot.

All right, and as we hit that corner on the right-hand side, there’s the athletic wear. So of course if you buy the sports bra, you’re like, “Ooh, that’s really cute. Now I need the matching pants,” or shorts or whatever. The matching bottoms and the hoodie or the sweater that goes with it, right? You need the whole set.

So by this time you’ve added clothes, maybe some accessories, you know, like you’ve gone around. And then as you turn that corner, they’ve got the men’s, um, masculine clothing on the left-hand side. Right? And it’s in the back because Target, they’re branding, they’re marketing towards women, um, feminine people, people who like, who are trained and like to go out and just shop.

And you’ve seen this in their ads where the men go sit out in the parking lot and have like a tailgate while all the wives are in target shopping. Okay. Like that’s the commercial, right? I don’t know if you’ve seen that one. I have. I think like one guy even like brings like a TV and like another guy brings a grill.

Like it’s their like thing is to wait out in the parking lot and have this target tailgate thing. So this is in their marketing, right? This is in their, they’re training you how to think about Target, right? In their marketing, in their target market, men, people who prefer masculine clothes are probably not, you know, just going to shop at Target.

So it’s in the back, it’s like, eh, not a big deal, right? So, and on the right-hand side, you still have the athletic wear, and then you start to get into electronics on the left-hand side. But also on the right-hand side, we have the babies. Okay? This is all the baby stuff, the clothes, the furniture, the toys, bottles, et cetera.

And Target almost always has some sort of deal, it feels like, going on with the diapers. So if you have a baby and you’re going past the section, you’re like, “Oh yeah, you know, I do need another box of diapers.” So, you know, it would be a good idea to grab another box of diapers, even though we’re not out yet, or maybe it is on your list to go get diapers.

There’s almost always some sort of deal going on where it’s like, buy two, get one free. Um, buy so many boxes, get a gift card. So you’re like, “Oh, if I’m buying one, I might as well buy the other two,” or whatever. Right? So now you have like three boxes of, uh, diapers in your cart along with the clothes, the accessories, et cetera, the dollar spot finds that you’ve picked up.

And we’re only at the back of the store. Okay. We haven’t gotten around like the full runaround on the store yet. You’re passing by electronics. They have like their phone accessories and stuff kind of facing the aisle way. The phones, the stuff that they like, kind of want you to like stop and play with. They’ve got that facing the aisle way too.

And then we come across kid’s. The toys, it’s not the kids’ clothes cuz that’s like in the middle of the store that we’ve walked around. No, it’s the toys. So if you have kids with you, you know they’re gonna be asking you, “Can I look at the toys? Can we stop? Can we go down this aisle? Can we look at the toys?” And before you know it, the inevitable. “Can I get this?” I know cuz that was me. I don’t have kids, but that was me. Um, and if you’re like me, the recent, um, Pokémon Squishmellows release had you down the toy aisles. All right. Those filled out real fast, by the way, real fast. I went by later the same day of the release and there were none. There were none left.

But that’s again, something that they do really well is pairing with brands. Okay. Like the designers that they have in the front. So you came for the Pokémon Squishmellow, but of course you’re stopping and looking at other things and probably picking up other things too. Regardless though, let’s get back on track to our shopping.

Kid’s. “Can I get this? Can I get that? Can we, can we get this?” You’ve got more stuff in your cart. You’re going by the video games now, which is across from the kid’s section because of course. And they don’t just have the video games themselves here, right? They have the video game accessories. And I’m not talking just like controllers or like the carrying bags for the systems or whatever.

No. They have toys. They have the little stuffed plush animals from the various things. They have full-on Kirby backpacks. Like if you don’t know who Kirby is, he’s like a pink round video game character. And he like sucks things up and he kind of transforms based on the things. Well, they had a whole backpack that was Kirby like as a plush.

So they’ve got all of these things, right? So not just hitting like the kids who might want like, a plush or something else. They’ve also got lanyards and other things. So you’re hitting sort of all age demographics there with the various things. All right. And as you finally make it past the toys and the electronics, you’re passing the music and the books too.

And then you get to like that far back corner, we’re opposite corner now from where we entered the store. Seasonal items are back here. So of course as you’re walking, you’re like, “Ph yeah, Valentine’s Day, let me, I need to get Valentine’s Day cards.” Or, um, “Oh yeah, we need to get Easter candy / Halloween candy / costumes.”

Like, whatever. Like, it’s all back here. Uh, during the summer, it’s also like your plants and your patio stuff, you know, so you’re like, “oh, yeah, I, I do need to get that” right? Again, you’ve added more stuff to your cart, and then we come down the main aisle. Now on the far right-hand side of the store and we finally hit food, you have finally hit food, which is maybe the main thing that you came for.

That’s usually the main thing I go to Target for is food. They have some really great prices on their market pantry items, et cetera. So, now we’re finally at food, soda, snacks, et cetera. Up, as you move up to the front, now you’ve got your refrigerated stuff, you’ve got your meats, you got the frozens, and then you’ve got your fresh meats and stuff.

So now we’ve finally gotten the necessities. Okay. and we’re coming back down the main aisle to get to the registers. Now we’re coming down the main aisle in the front of the store. We’re passing by body washes on the left-hand side. Um, you know, like healthcare stuff. Okay. The pharmacy section, and on the right-hand side we’re passing by the kitchen stuff.

So of course they’ve got like the fun mugs on the end caps, you know, like prime market real estate in the, the store. They’ve got the things that you’re like, “Oh yeah, I could spend $10 on this really funny mug, or this really cute mug.” Uh, we’ve definitely picked up one that says like Queen of everything. Uh, that’s actually my husband’s mug. 

So it’s things like that. You’re like, “Oh yeah, let me just pick this up. This is so cute, this is great.” Or you’re like, “oh yeah, I do need to get a gift for” if you have kids, “the teachers teacher appreciation,” um, you know, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, these are also prime locations that you’re gonna see those things, right?

And then after pharmacy comes, makeup. After the kitchen stuff comes some of the home things like blankets and whatnot in the store, the cute little, uh, plants. At one point they had live plants here. They’ve also got the fake plants. And then you get into like crafts and the, the cards. So like, the birthday cards, things like that.

Right. So you’re not totally paying attention then to that side maybe. But as you get past makeup, which is like, of course you’re looking, you get to the hair care stuff, you’re like, oh, yep. You know, and they’ve got all the things on the eye way. They’ve got their new hair system, right, the hair care system with the, the bottles of a shampoo.

And then they’ll like the, for lack of a better term, the like shots of extra haircare that you can kind of like add to the shampoo to customize it. So like those kinds of things, like new stuff, things they wanna attract you to. And then at this location, we have the pet stuff before we get to the register.

And their registers are always backed up. Not for any fault of the cashiers. Um, but there’s always a line, you know, everybody goes in at the same time. Everybody leaves at the same time for whatever reason. And I would guess, as with many stores, they’re doing something called lean scheduling where they’re really understaffing themselves. So like of course there’s a line when you probably actually need five cashiers, but you’re only scheduling like four or three to cut back on cost, right? But now there’s a line, so you’re waiting in line, for whatever reason, and it’s always backed up to pets.

So here you are standing, looking at the end cap in pets and it’s like, “oh! Here’s the toys for pets. Here’s the cute little costumes.” And so you’re standing there, you’re looking at these things, you’re like, “oh, this is really funny! It’s a little slice of pizza and it squeaks. Look, it’s got pepperoni and mushrooms on it,” you know, whatever. So you’re sitting there, you’re thinking of your pet and you’re like, oh, this is really cute.

As somebody who doesn’t have a pet, but like regularly dog sits, I’m always like, oh, we could get this. We could get this for our, our dog sit friend. Um, her name’s Callie. She comes over, she stays like once a month, you know, for a day or whatever. And we’re like, we could have a toy for Callie when she comes over, right?

We don’t even have an animal living in our home. And we’re like, we can get that. So you’re, yeah, you’re sitting here, you’re looking at that endcap and you’re like, yep. In the carte. Okay. And by the time you get to the checkout you’ve, you’ve drank your coffee at this point. You’ve finished your coffee, you’re thirsty, coffee’s dehydrating.

You’re like, Hmm, I really need some water. You probably need a snack. And if the kids came with you, you have kids and they’ve come with you, they need a snack. They’re hungry. This is a long trip for them, right? So, in go the waters, the drinks, the snacks. If you’re getting a drink, they’re gonna wanna get a drink, you know?

So there’s more in the cart now, right? So you’ve made it all the way through the store. We’ve gotten to the checkout lane and we’ve impulse spent our way around the store, or impulse shopped our way around the store, and here we are spending that money. Right? And this goes back to the psychology that companies leverage.

So Target’s not the only one. We just picked Target because one, they have great branding around this, right? They’ve already primed you to think, oh yeah, I go to Target and I just spend and have a great time at Target. Right? But they’re not the only one, right?

This is not the only place. It happens online too, with online shopping, but this was a really great example. So again, they’re leveraging that psychology, the, the impulse spending as we’ve talked about before. So here it’s more of a positive feedback rather than a negative feedback like we spoke about with having to wait in the mobile games and then spending so you don’t have to wait.

This is a positive association here. This is, “oh, I feel good when I find these things at the store. Oh, that’s actually a great deal. Look at that. I might as well buy a couple extra because like it’s on sale. I need to get that reduced price. We can stock up. It’s fine.” You know, so you’re having that positive feedback experience in that moment.

Whereas afterwards you may have some spending regret. Totally understandable. And not your fault. And that’s the point we’re trying to get to here, is that it’s not your fault. The stores, the companies are built in such a way that it leverages that innate human psychology. So if you find yourself at the store, impulse spending, impulse shopping, if you will, it’s not your fault.

It’s not your fault. It happens. Like you are an environment that is actually set up to increase the chances that you will spend more money. Like that’s what it’s all for. So, that is to say it’s not your fault. It’s a normal human thing. All right? So you have to have that kindness and compassion that we spoke about in the last episode. 

And you use the same prompts. So you’re using the same prompts. What happened? How do I feel about this? How do I want to feel about this? What thoughts or beliefs do I need to shift to support how I want to feel? Where can I give myself additional compassion around this? Are there supports I can utilize to maintain this change, et cetera?

And there’s many different ways to kind of help combat this, not just through mindset, but through strategy as well. I am not a financial planner, so this is not financial advice whatsoever, but this is why so many of them talk about budgets. Uh, you see different things like having a spend account versus savings accounts.

You see, what is it those little, money envelopes. So like shopping comes from one, like spending for yourself comes from another. So you’re not just putting it all into one transaction. You can actually track it a little bit. There’s strategy in there, okay? And maybe instead of going around the store, you b-line straight till what you need.

You know, put the, the imaginary blinders on and get out. You shop through the app or online instead. Even though there are ways that they leverage that as well in the app, that they leverage the impulse spending, the, the psychology, the humanness, right, to get you to spend more. They do the same things in apps and online.

So, it’s all of this. It is all of this, and that is, again, to go back to, it’s not your fault. It happens, and you have to find the strategies that support you, but also it’s a mindset. It’s going and knowing that this is happening, knowing that you can mitigate some of that, that you are not a bad person.

Because there’s that shame, right? We’ve talked about this in terms of, uh, the money pattern, the relationship pattern with money where it’s like, spend no spend, no spend, no spend, no spend. And then spending a lot, because we have that shame cycle of, oh, I spent so much money. I can’t spend anything. I can’t spend anything. I can’t spend anything. I can’t spend anything. So we restrict, right? Restrict, restrict, restrict. And then there’s a splurge. There’s a spend. And then that shame happens again. Oh, dang it. I shouldn’t have done that. That was so stupid. And like we know that, like those thoughts, those beliefs came from somewhere.

We weren’t just born with them. Right? So again, using the prompts, what happened? How do I feel about this? How do I want to feel about this? What thoughts or beliefs do I need to shift to support how I want to feel? Where can I give myself additional compassion around this? And are there supports I can utilize to maintain this change?

That’s the strategy part right there at the end. But the key here that I really want to leave you with this episode is that the stores are there to get you to spend your money. They need money to exist, and it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. You’re a human. You’re just doing your human thing. Okay? So give yourself that compassion and that grace. And work towards changing it, yes, but with compassion and grace. The shame is only going to keep you in that relationship pattern or exacerbate other relationship patterns that are not helping you in your relationship with money and the kind of relationship that you want to have.

So this is a little bit longer of an episode because it takes a little bit to actually shop and get around the store, believe it or not. But the point is all the same as the last episode, as really any episode. Again, give yourself that grace and compassion, that space to be you, and utilize the tools that you have, including the Evaluate, Shift, Heal framework.

If you have the Limitless Money Mindset Journal, which is having it’s second birthday at the end of the month. So if you have it go through that, you can shift and change and move the words around in some of the prompts to specifically support you through impulse spending and impulse shopping. And if you don’t have it yet, it will be on sale at the end of the month.

So, if you can wait, it will be on sale for its birthday on March 28th. So start with the prompts here in this episode, in the last episode, and then when it’s on sale, you know, make that decision for yourself. Is this something I want to invest in? Is this something I want to purchase? And in the next episode, that’s exactly what we’re gonna be talking about is mindset with purchases.

So make sure to follow, make sure to get those notifications because we’re gonna continue this conversation in episode 50 of the Money Mindset shift, and I will see you then

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