By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — If you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, what are you waiting for?

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Consumers are expected to spend about 6 percent more this year, for an average of roughly $661 on gifts, but retailers wouldn’t mind seeing that number creep up even higher.

So they employ certain tactics to get you to spend more.

Today’s “Lauren’s List” has the tricks you should keep an eye out for as you hit the stores over the next few weeks.

1. Breaking the Barrier: When you walk into a department store, you might see a display of a relatively inexpensive item like socks or other little trinkets on deep discount if you buy in bulk. That’s all part of a retailer’s strategy to get you in the buying mood. The goal is to get you shopping from the second you walk in the door.

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2. Free Shipping Trap: Maybe you don’t actually shop in a store, but prefer to buy online. Free shipping is a tempting tool to get you to spend more. Many sites have a minimum threshold to qualify for that free shipping, so you’ll spend even more than that to reach it. And if returns are free too, chances are you’ll buy something you may not really need, but never actually return it!

3. Rule of Threes: If there’s one particular item a retailer really wants to move this year, they’ll flank it with a cheaper and a more expensive option. Most shoppers will pick the one in the middle, thinking they’re making some sort of a compromise between discount and luxury.

4. No Whole Numbers: Next time you’re in a store, check out just how often something costs x-dollars and 99 cents. Buyers tend to round down, so when an item is for sale for $24.99, our mind tells us it’s actually $24. When you’re spending your hard earned money, retailers know every dollar counts, even if it’s actually only by 1 cent.

What other tricks have you noticed while shopping this year? Perhaps you’ve noted the tempo of the music or the temperature of the store? It all matters!

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

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If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to

Lauren Pastrana