Target Trap

Just one thing, just one thing!

Ah, yes, Target! Target has everything: cute clothes, fun kitchenware, toys for kids, books, movies, food, and the list could go on and on. What is it about Target? When we walk in we have to chant this mantra of, “I’m only here for one thing…I’m only here for one thing.” Then within a matter of minutes, your entire financial plan for the month is kaput.

Do you ever walk out with only the one thing you went there to purchase? I’m guessing if you’re like the rest of America, you just answered a huge whopping, “No, never!”

So why is that exactly? Why do we have this insatiable urge to pick up, touch, feel, try on, or take pictures of items (I know you send pictures asking your best friend which dress is cuter)?!

It feels like a trap, and it is. Large scale companies, like Target, have the means to ensure their product displays are set-up for optimal temptation. A temptation so strong, that even knowing your husband’s reaction, and that you should save money, you indulge anyway. Budget? What budget?

You know, the reaction that goes something like this: (Looking at receipt) “Really?! $150, I thought you were going for toilet paper!”

Shiny object syndrome

Target wants you to pick up, touch, smell, and try on their products. Target knows that if you do, you are more likely to impulse buy. There is a lot of psychology behind the layout, colors, and displays in their stores. They are preying on your shiny object syndrome. Don’t feel too bad; it’s in all of us.

Right now, you’re probably saying, “Yes, Kim. I do undoubtedly spend double, and triple, what I had anticipated I was going to spend at Target. I already knew that! What do I do about that?”

There are two different strategies you could employ here.

  1. Don’t go, or at least minimize frequency of visits.

I know, I know. You love Target, but that’s kind of the epicenter of the problem here! You’re probably also wondering, “If I don’t go to Target, how am I going to get my bathroom and cleaning supplies?”

Fair question; and simply going to another store, doesn’t necessarily promise yielding better results.

The answer: Shop monthly to be in the store less often. Another option might be shopping online.   It may seem counterintuitive to do this. Your first reaction may be that you don’t want to pay for shipping when you can just run down the street, and grab what you need. Think about how much this method will SAVE you though. You may fork out an extra $10 for shipping, but you didn’t buy two dresses, three candles, a toy your kid wouldn’t stop begging for, and a picture you have nowhere to hang! At Target prices, that means by you spending $10 on shipping, you’re not spending about $120. So you just saved yourself $110. If you go to Target twice per month, you’re already at an average savings of $220 per month! Wow!

  1. Set a CASH budget prior to going.

So if you really don’t want to give up your trip to Target, because maybe it’s your only “alone” time, set a cash budget. That means figure out what you actually need, and how much it will cost. Then pull out that much cash from the ATM, and LEAVE the card at home. This way you’re not tempted to impulse buy, and just use your debit card anyway after pulling out cash.

We can all be forgetful, and remember something we actually do need once we arrive at the store. If this sounds like you, you could add a $10 or $20 cushion in case that happens.

While adjustments like these may seem minor, implementing them in daily life will astonish you with the results. It will begin to affect other areas of your life as well. Save a hundred dollars here and there throughout a month, and you will find yourself in a much better financial situation.

If you’re interested in learning more methods like these to have hope for your finances, contact me for a free consultation!


1 Comment

  1. September 23, 2016    

    Oh my, you nailed it, Kim! I used to call Target the $50 store and I did have to stop going there for a time. I’m out of the habit now but it was a costly lesson to learn. Great points!