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Shoppers know they have to bring their "A" game to get the best deals during the holiday sales bonanza, but they may not realize how high the odds are stacked against them.
Retailers employ numerous strategies to "fool your animal brain," said financial psychologist Brad Klontz, co-author of "Mind Over Money." The aim: Trigger an emotional reaction that will cause you to deviate from your carefully prepared shopping list and spend more.
"Before you go shopping, there have been teams of researchers, scientists and marketing professionals who have been talking about you for months," he said. "They're putting a lot of thought into your shopping experience. You should do the same."
CNBC.com talked to consumer psychologists and retail consulting firms about some of the pitfalls shoppers are likely to encounter (often, without knowing the impact). It starts before you're even through the doors. Mouse over the images below to reveal the ways retailers try to get you to overspend:
Once a retailer has reeled you in (or you've gone in purposefully, to nab a sale item on your list), it can take a serious effort of willpower to stay on track.
Almost out the door? You're not in the clear yet.