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An advertiser's gimmick, designed to make expensive items or services seem cheap.
The beauty of this method is that it can make expensive items seem inexpensive while meeting Truth in Advertising Laws. "You can feed a child in Darkest Africa for less than a can of soda a day!" And it's true. But the charity wants the payments a month at a time; and $1.50 per day just goes by so much more quietly than $46.50 all at once. (In the UK, the Darkest Africa example is famously and memetically "just two pounds a month", and such appeals are often parodied).
Often used with items such as computers, charitable donations, or PBS stations. Popular with the charities because, even if you do realize this'll add up, a few pennies a day isn't much, and you'll likely spend them anyway - why not on something that'll make the world a better place?
Also popular with objects that are supposed to save more in the long run than the extra initial cost.
Gym payment plans especially are often structured around these kind of thing. $365 a year sounds so much better as "a dollar a workout."
Often seen in similar contexts to Four Equal Payments Of. In some ways, this is crueller than advertising the installment plan.
Also compare and contrast Crack is Cheaper.