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Two Radical Ways to Spend Less

Making a simple change in how you spend your down-time could end up saving you thousands of dollars a year. The good news? You won’t even notice what you’re not buying. The bad news?

Making a simple change in how you spend your down-time could end up saving you thousands of dollars a year. The good news? You won’t even notice what you’re not buying. The bad news? You have to give up TV and reading magazines.

According to a September 2006 CBS News report, the average American sees up to 5,000 ads a day. 5,000 advertisements every day! Whether it’s billboards, radio spots, glossy magazine ads, television commercials, or web banner ads, that’s 5,000 times every day someone else is trying to coerce you to spend your hard-earned money.

Even for the dedicated spend-thrift, that’s a lot of pressure to spend money. And whether we notice it or not, these advertisements influence our lifestyles more than we like to admit. After all, if advertising didn’t work, thousands of marketing professionals would be out of work if advertising didn’t’ work.

How do you avoid shady ad-wizards conning their way into your wallet? Unfortunately you can’t always help the billboards you drive by or the subway posters you walk past. You can, however, choose to view less advertising. The easiest ways to limit your advertising exposure is to stop watching TV and stop reading consumer magazines.

Give up TV? Am I crazy? Not at all. Not only will cutting down or eliminating TV viewing reduce your ad exposure, it will get you off the couch and give you time for more rewarding pursuits, whether it be reading, calling an old friend, or pursuing a hobby.

As for magazines, there are undoubtedly many that provide educational content that you enjoy, but there are many others, like fashion and gossip glossies, that are merely pages of mind-numbing fluff cleverly crafted to disguise a an equal number of pages of advertising. Not only are these magazines rife with colorful imagery carefully crafted to seduce you into lusting after the latest clothes, gadgets, and booze; the articles are feature the latest, greatest, and most expensive. Personally, I find it hard to read a fashion or lifestyle magazine without feeling tragically unhip — and thinking some new underwear might change that.

Even if you can’t rip yourself away from the tube or avoid perusing the newsstand every now and then, think about all the advertising you see in a day, and which ads you voluntarily view. Slice a few out of your day and you may find yourself with fuller pockets down the road!

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.