Whether you’re at the mall, or the grocery store, do you always buy a lot more than you meant to? Here’s how to shop without busting your budget:

  • Never shop when you’re hungry. Everyone knows it’s dangerous to shop for food on an empty stomach. But marketing expert Martin Lindstrom says we shouldn’t shop for ANYTHING when we’re hungry! That’s because we’re wired to fulfill all of our cravings when we’re hungry – it’s part of the human survival instinct. Needing food also crushes our willpower, and makes it harder to think straight. That’s why some clothing stores use scents like vanilla and cinnamon to stimulate our appetites, and get us to spend more.

  • Use a small shopping cart, or carry a basket. Studies show that we tend to visually estimate how much we’re spending. And we base it on how much room is left in our cart. In one study, doubling the size of a shopping cart made people buy 40 percent more.

  • Shop solo. A study from Consumer Reports found that when couples shop together, they’re 38 percent more likely to overspend. Because both of them tend to make suggestions, and support each other’s decisions. Also, if one person gives into an impulse buy, the other feels entitled to splurge, too. Sometimes they spend more just because one of them is tired of arguing, and spending any more time – and all they want to do is make a decision and go home.