Earlier this week we talked about shifting our focus from over-consumption to creation. Today, we’ll talk more about why this is so important, and how to begin making the shift.
It’s no secret that the branch of marketing known as advertising has a huge influence on our spending habits. There are billions of dollars spent annually on advertising in the U.S. alone. Clearly, large companies wouldn’t be pouring such a significant amount of their resources into advertising if it weren’t incredibly effective at influencing our purchasing decisions.
Many times we’re affected by advertisements in ways in which we aren’t even aware.
In the upcoming weeks and months I’m going to be writing a lot about this very subject. The idea behind minimalism can’t be properly explored without first considering the reasons for limiting or eliminating our exposure to much of media that influences how we’re spending our money.
And trust me, whether you think you’re affected by advertising or not, you most certainly are. I am too. The average person is exposed to upwards of 3000 advertisements each day.
So while we can’t completely eliminate the media we’ve been exposed to in the past, or the media we’re currently exposed to, we can lessen the effects that media exposure has on our current spending behaviors.
If you’re working on a adopting a more minimalist existence, then you’re probably also trying to pay off debts, cut your expenditures, and generally live on less than you were before.
The most effective way to accomplish these goals is to only purchase what you need. This is really quite easy once you get the hang of it. In fact, the only thing that makes these goals next to impossible is tons of media exposure.
Limiting my media exposure was an adjustment at first, but the rewards far outweigh any initial discomfort. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can limit your media exposure starting today.
- Turn off the television. I know you’ve heard this advice before, but I really can’t stress it enough. Even if you just have the TV on for background noise, you will unknowingly pick up on the advertisements.
- Stop reading magazines. Magazines are mostly supported by advertisers, which is why there are very few pages that don’t have an ad or two trying to persuade us to buy something. If you’re picking up a magazine of a certain interest, advertisers will know just the right product to push on you!
- Turn off the radio. Unless you’re playing a CD or audio book, you’re being exposed to advertisements each and every time you turn on the radio.
- Stay away from the mall. If you knew how much time and forethought went into those window displays in order to draw you into each store, you might be shocked. And not only will exposure to the impossibly unrealistic physique of those ridiculous mannequins leave you feeling less than, but you’ll also be hit with advertisements from light-up displays and even the sound system.
- Stop using shopping as entertainment. Shopping as a hobby or past time is never very satisfying. We go to a store, we buy stuff we don’t need…and we bring it home. We stress out about all of the clutter collecting in our homes, so we donate or throw some stuff away. Then the next time we get bored, we’re right back out there — shopping as a hobby. Start getting creative in finding ways to entertain yourself without spending a dime.
Eliminating some or all of the above five sources of advertising will help you in several ways.
For starters, you’ll save money. If you don’t see things you never knew you always wanted — you’ll never know they existed to begin with.
You’ll feel better about yourself. You won’t be constantly comparing yourself to unrealistic depictions of beauty or masculinity, which will allow you focus more on your health and inner qualities rather than your outer reflection.
Finally, you will have the opportunity to spend more of your time creating rather than consuming. And that is the most satisfying part of all.
How do you feel media exposure affects your purchasing behavior and/or your self-esteem?