TODAY   |  March 27, 2014

Shopping smarts: How to prevent overspending

Mark Ellwood, author of “Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World,” joins TODAY to reveal how to stay ahead of the game when shopping for bargains.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> are you the type of shopper who won't buy something if it's not on sale? everyone loves a bargain, a good bargain. retailers know that so they come up with strategies to spend more money while thinking you're getting a good deal.

>> we're going to help you become a savvier shopper with the help of mark elwood. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> these retail verers have a bunch of strategy. i've found this, you're shopping online . you see something, you go to look for a comparison price and when you go back to the original place, the price has gone up.

>> so that is because you're telling them your intention. so the idea here is when you shop online, you want to be anonymous. it's the equivalent of putting on a fake mustache and big glasses. browse incognito. for example, don't tell them your habits and they can't use any history to change the price .

>> how do you do that?

>> you use the incognito window on chrome or make your settings so the cookies aren't read.

>> disable cookies?

>> totally.

>> the next one has to do with if you turn right.

>> left-handed or right-handed?

>> right-handed.

>> we're vulnerable to this. 19 out of 20 people are right-handed and the stores know that. so we turn right when we go into the store. they put the stuff they want to sell right there.

>> i'm trying to visualize the last store i was in. short circuit it and turn left --

>> but what if they force you to go right?

>> you can always go round.

>> seriously, i have a store i go to you have to go right.

>> you go right, then you go around the table that stops you and then you turn left .

>> that's interesting.

>> you tell me about goldilocks pricing .

>> goldilocks pricing is the idea of something that's just right. you see this in electronics. last time you were in a big electronics stores, you see a layout of tvs, cheap, medium price , most expensive.

>> which one do they want you to buy?

>> the one in the middle. exactly.

>> exactly. the margins on the one are the highest.

>> if you go to a shoe department, ask for the most expensive pair of shoes there. you'll find a crazy, ridiculous price . you shouldn't buy that because that exists just to make everything else look cheaper because you've got a reference point.

>> i've wondered that. you do go in and you think who buys this?

>> everything else seems reasonable.

>> one pair is $100. everything else is 20, 20 seems like a real bargain.

>> it used to be last resort would be getting floor models but you're say they're actually a pretty good deal.

>> it's really simple. the product life cycle has shortened so much. they don't sit out for months and months, they sit out for a few weeks. if you don't want a floor model , ask for a display model. it's been in the window, doesn't have a box anymore.

>> and pricing at outlet stores . what's the trick there?

>> do you like outlets?

>> i do.

>> here's the thing, a lot of the tags at outlets will have two prices. it will say compare at and our price . compare at might as well be elephant cupcakes. it the higher price to make the low look better.

>> is it true at these places they make stuff specifically for the outlets?

>> between 60 and 70% at most outlets is made for the outlets so it's cheap but not necessarily a bargain.

>> i'm deceived.

>> you didn't know about that much? i knew about that.

>> look for the original price on the tag.

>> mark elwood, a lot of great advice. that was fantastic.