Rule No. 2: Create an Emotional Yardstick for Everything You Buy
When we see that a price has been cut on an item we might like—a TV, for example—our brains light up with the scent of a deal. Stores know this, and they manage prices accordingly.
Rationally, though, “it’s irrelevant,” Ariely says. “If you’re buying something, why should you care how much it used to cost?” But we determine value in relative terms, so our brains grab the easiest comparison—that old, higher price—and we load up on “deals.”
Instead, Ariely advises creating your own value system. Say a night at the movies with your girlfriend costs you $30. If you’re considering buying something that costs $300, he says, “ask yourself, ‘Is this worth 10 nights out at the movies?’ ”
Yes, it might be hard to compare a dining room table with the movies, but the mental act of thinking through a purchase this way will probably lead to smarter buying decisions.
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