You Spend More on Accessories When Purchased with a Big Item

We are likely to spend more money for accessories when purchased with an expensive item like a new dress, sofa, or car than if we purchased them alone. Here’s why, and how you can save money by avoiding it.

My husband and I bought a new living room sofa that was a fair amount of money. With the sofa automatically came 3 pillows “included in the price”. Well these pillows cost us about $150 each, which is a lot of money (as I reflect on this after the fact). We fell into a mindset called “anchoring”. Our brains were focused on the cost of the couch, which meant the “accessories” seemed insignificant in comparison.

Determine Your Anchor Prices before Doing Battle
A few months ago I purchased some lovely pillows for our family room from two women entrepreneurs on Etsy. They cost around $65 each including shipping. Our sofa material is a little more expensive so I would expect to pay a bit more for the new pillows. But had I gone shopping just for pillows, I wouldn’t have paid $150 each because I know I’ve walked away from that price in the past. I should have picked a price in advance and negotiated accordingly.

Time versus Money Choices
Sometimes we just don’t have time to run around and find accessories to match – and that is ok if buying everything in a bundle saves you precious time. But if you’re trying to save, give yourself “anchor” prices on not only the big item, but also the possible accessories before you go shopping. Then you’ll at least have benchmarks and if you go over your budget price, it will be a conscious decision rather than your mind fooling you.

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a web site for women focused on the mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Thoughts always welcome:

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