8 odd reasons you spend more

You may think you have control over how much you spend, but numerous studies suggest it's really not all up to you.

Who's to blame for your splurging?

Consumers may like to believe they have complete control over their shopping decisions, but a growing number of studies is starting to shake this belief.

"We are much more seduced by outside factors when shopping than we think we are," said Martin Lindstrom, a marketing expert and author of "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." "And the more on top of the world the consumer feels when they walk into a retail store, the less they probably are, because they let their guards down."

This may strike some shoppers as nothing more than paranoia. After all, isn't it consumers who decide what items to put on their shopping list, which stores they want to shop at and ultimately which items they want to bring up to the cash register? Salespeople may be pushy at times, but at the end of the day, we have the final say over whether to swipe our credit cards and make the purchases.

But as Lindstrom and others have found, by the time we decide to approach the cash register, a wide range of unseen factors in the store – and in our own heads – has likely influenced our decision to shop and how much we are willing to spend.

If that's true, does this mean we have no choice but to accept that our spending is somehow beyond our control? MainStreet spoke with behavior experts and rounded up several recent studies to highlight some of the lesser-known factors that influence our spending. In some cases, just knowing that these factors are at play may be enough to mute the effect they have on your shopping behavior and help you avoid making a purchase that you'll regret.