Why Things Cost $19.95....Did you ever wonder?

United States
April 11, 2008 6:56am CST
I have always wondered why stores put prices like $19.95 and $19.99....why don't they just charge $20 and make it even! I never thought of it as being a "psychological" thing until I read this article which is very interesting if you're anything like me and are looking for answers to weird questions . Check out this article and let us know what you think. Do you agree or disagree? Is it all psychological when it comes to prices of items when we shop?
4 people like this
17 responses
@Ravenladyj (22936)
• United States
11 Apr 08
Um....LOL what article....and yes I always have wondered why its like that...and not jsut because it makes more sense to round it up or down but also why not $19.91 or $19.34 etc LOL why is it always 95 or 99??
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Apr 08
I felt so dumb when I realized too late that I forgot the link! I agree with you...why not .31 or .35...what's the difference?
@di1159 (1580)
• United States
11 Apr 08
Hey guys, probably because most of us can't count correctly! It's easier on 19.95 the mind automatically knows its 5 in change, but if its 82, or 38, well that requires thinking and counting (and in my case with my fingers)! We have become too used to using calculators and our brains are turning mushy! Have a great day!
@paid2write (5202)
11 Apr 08
It started when cash registers were first invented. If something costs 0.99, it had to be entered into the cash register and change given. A coin or paper money could have been be pocketed without opening the till, if there was no need to give change. It was a way of stopping people working in stores from stealing the boss's money. It is still used to try and fool some people into thinking they are spending less, but it never makes me think I am getting something for less. I just end up with a lot of small change.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Apr 08
Yes, it said that in the article that I forgot to put the link to in my discussion . I'm with you...I don't think I'm getting any bargain...$19.95 is $20 to me and I end up with a pocket full of change.
@bdugas (3581)
• United States
12 Apr 08
Everything they sell on tv is $19.95, and I believe that number is what they have considered the people will be willing to spend on whatever they selling. And I agree $19.95 is $20. to me. I often wondered why not make it an even number instead of all the cents. My husband clears my wallet and purse every night it seems of the change and when I get to the store, I need 2 cents and have to break a $20 to get 2 cents that makes me so mad. If it was just even cents we wouldn't have to go through that but then what would we do with our pennies. And have you also heard that they are running out of pennies and won't make any more what do we do then.
@cher913 (25865)
• Canada
11 Apr 08
i think it is because it looks better to the customer...they will look at the tag and say $10 - oh i cant afford that, but $9.95 for some reason doesnt seem as scary! lol (i actually heard this somewhere!)
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Apr 08
It's a riot isn't it? I can afford $9.95 but not $10! Where is the rationale in that thinking?
@Ldyjarhead (10157)
• United States
12 Apr 08
Yes, I've always known that is was a psychological ploy to get you to comprehend a smaller number than it actually is. Supposedly your brain will 'see' the $19 and not calculate the cents, so the seller will basically get the $ .95 as a 'freebie', if you will. It doesn't work for me. If I see $19.95, I see $20 and if asked how much that item is, I'll actually say $20.
12 Apr 08
i do not know if it is psychological or not but i think the brands do so to have a bigger edge over us and to show they are precise like returning 5 cent on earning 20 dollar and maybe also to save tax
@DavidReedy (2411)
• United States
12 Apr 08
Yeah, it's old school psychology. I learned a bit from a poster here about the old fashioned tills/drawers and that being a big part of the reason... But, yeah, people, at least until more recent (enlightening?) times were more swayed by 17.99 than 18.00, just because it seemed lower... There's much to be said about prices of items... Sometimes, it's found that we'll more likely spend more on an item--thinking it worth it, but if the same item, or one of the same quality is much cheaper, we'll skoff at it, as if it must be junk for being cheaper. People are just bizarre....
@p_vadla (1687)
• India
12 Apr 08
Yes, I too wonder ! I thought somebody kept price like that to make the buyer think that the price is only $19 but not $20. It might force him to think that he is saving $1. I think it is a continuing trend. Buyers got accustomed to it over the years. I Are there other interpretations ?
@zxtzxt (214)
• Philippines
12 Apr 08
Yes it is all psychological. People will think they're paying less.
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
12 Apr 08
Article? Where? The things cost .99 or .95 cents under the next dollar so the consumer thinks they are saving money (when they really aren't). Plus you have to add in taxes, so really the cost ends up .35 or .45 cents into the next dollar anyways.
@eagle_f15 (2052)
• Malaysia
12 Apr 08
Yeah I think it is just a psychological thing to price items at 99 cents...99 sumting......our brain seems to think we're spending less. We have alot of this kind of thing over here in Malaysia : 99cents, RM1.99, RM2.99, RM3.99, RM5.99, RM19.99.........
• Canada
11 Apr 08
for most people it is totally pyschological as it kinda makes you think it is a $1 less than what it is, but what people forget is they put this as close to the next dollar, really if something was say 19.01 compared to 19.95 you may not notice the difference and stores know this so they bump up as much as they can to make more profit
11 Apr 08
I think the reason they do that is to make you think you are paying less than you would if the first figures were higher and as they say the pennies make the pounds :)
@hezoid (2147)
11 Apr 08
When i was a kid shopping with my mum in our local Woolworth's i asked my mum why Barbie dolls couldn't come wearing knickers (even at that young age i didn't like the idea of my poor dollies going without any undies on!) and suggested that instead of the one i was looking at being £9.99 they should charge an extra penny and include a pair of knickers for her. I response said something on the lines of it being that it sounds cheaper if it's £9.99 than if it's £10, so like you say it's all psychological. I think people have gotten kind immune to that now though, and mentally when you see £9.99 you think oh that's a tenner then. Shops have been getting sly though and now often you'll see stuff for sale that's like £9.98, or even £9.89 or whatever.
@bowtieguy (5924)
• United States
11 Apr 08
From what i've learned stores do this as a sales tactic. Even though 20.00 and 19.99 are the same price, the average shopper will look at 19.99 and say wow that's only 19.99. If they were to look as the same product but it was priced 20.00 instead they would say omg 20.00. Some people just don't take the time to realize their complaining over a pennies diffrence.
• United States
11 Apr 08
Shopping - We all look for a bargain here and there. Where is your biggest bargain store?
I don't see an article added here. I learned years ago. People feel they are saving money when items are priced this way. When they are at $20.. $30.00..people tend to not see any saving or bargains when buying them. I had also found when I price my purses. $15.95 or $19.95 sells faster than $16.00 or $20.00 It's a mind thing
@sedel1027 (17851)
• United States
11 Apr 08
I learned this a while back while in grammar school. Also, notice when you go on the store, they will often put the cheaper items waaayyy at the bottom, not at eye view. They know people will just grab what is right in front of them and not check out the other shelves.
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
11 Apr 08
I do not see the article given, however, when people see 19.99 their mind still registers the 19 and not 20 so they subconsciously think that it is less expensive, just look at the gas prices it is not $3.19 it is 3.19 and 9/10 but do we say that it is 3.20? if the station down the road is listed as 3.20 do we think we are saving a penny a gallon by using the 3.19 9/10 though it is only 1 1/10 of a penny? plus, if we get change back, even if it is only a couple of cents we are happier. :)