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Your Best Weapons Against Buying Crap You Don’t Need

Your Best Weapons Against Buying Crap You Don’t Need


    I’ll admit it, but will you?

    I get impulsive about buying that “thing”.

    That new awesome thing that’s ten times better than the last awesome thing. You know, the crap I’ll regret buying the day after the return policy is up.

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    Why is that?

    And why do we feel this way so often?

    They don’t want you to know…but I do.

    They are the advertisers.

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    The slick, ever-present advertisers planting messages in your mind that you want need what they’re selling.

    I’m not against honest advertising that’s up front about its goals, reason for placement, and biases. But it seems like these don’t exist anymore.

    It was more than enough when ads were just in commercials, magazines, and random web pages. But then they penetrated screen time before movies started.

    And now they’re on gas pump handles, airplane tray tables, inside restrooms at bowling alleys, and floors at supermarkets.

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    Bad news for them though. You have weapons that they can’t defend against. Here’s how you use them.

    Beginner Tools for Ad-Free Living

    You can’t avoid all 5,000+ ads you’re exposed to every day. And I can’t stop drug companies from spending over $60 billion on ads every year.

    But we can use these simple tools to significantly reduce the number and impact.

    1. Shut the sources off. You’re always one mute button, flip of the radio dial, or Readability app away from avoiding an ad. Do it for the benefits of silence if preventing their pocketbook infiltration isn’t enough. A few moments avoiding an ad is worth preventing their ability to make us spend money on things we don’t need (or want).
    2. Ads Complicate. Confucius said, “Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Ads are a big part of making life more complicated. And who wants more unexplained, uncontrolled complication? Appreciate the bounty of what you already own, eat, or drive instead of what you may be missing out on. When you’re tempted by a slick ad, just tell your brain, “Hey, brain. My life is plenty rich as is. You don’t need that.”
    3. Technology giveth ads…and taketh away. Technology will always come up with new ways to create and spread ads. Fortunately, technology also comes up with new ways to stop them. Use Adblock Plus for an annoyance-free online experience. And use PaperKarma to snap a picture of junk mail with your phone…and then never see mail from that vendor again.

    Once you’ve mastered beginner mode you’ll probably want to level up to expert mode. Here are some awesome mind tricks and Jedi level tools to break an advertiser’s strangle hold on our spending habits.

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    Expert Ad-Crushing Tools

    Give these a whirl and experience some major ad-fighting super powers.

    1. Political Ads Have More Truth Than Corporate Ads. For every time a politician or their support groups lie in an ad, there are a hundred corporations telling even bigger lies. The deception of cigarette companies, drug companies, and weight loss companies is just the start. If you don’t trust political ads then there’s no reason to trust ads from corporations. Anyone who says differently is probably trying to pull a Jedi mind trick on you.
    2. Define Why You Buy. People buy because it brings them more happiness, love, and freedom or less pain, stress, and worry. Describe what desired outcome will be achieved when you feel the urge to buy. If you can’t explain it, odds are the advertisers got to you again. Don’t feel bad. They do it to everyone. But take this as a sign there’s an external force influencing you without your best interests in mind.
    3. You’re Not a “Consumer.” You exist to do much more than consume. Stop thinking of yourself as a “consumer” and don’t worry about doing your part to “stimulate the economy.” The labels we apply to ourselves define who we are and why we do what we do. Ditch the consumer label and with it, ditch having someone else mold you into a person you’d rather not be.
    4. Cultivate Selective Ignorance. Man, it sure is sweet to have the newest and coolest thing out there, right? But at what cost? Your urge to buy the latest, shiniest thing decreases in correlation with your awareness that there’s something better out there. Reducing time spent learning about the latest fashion craze and technology gadget (and the ad campaigns alongside them) does wonders for controlling your appetite for more. Ignorance really is bliss to fight purchases you don’t need.
    5. Instant Information. When you realize you need widget X for project Y, you’re only one Google search, text, phone call, or social media question away from finding the best solution. Yes, you already have all the tools to find out who sells it and how you can get it. Remind me again why ads need to exist these days?

    Your Action Plan

    Even when advertising isn’t “helping” us buy things we don’t need, it has a dubious impact on our worldview and our values. And this doesn’t even account for the shudder-inducing effects of ads on children. It takes a little work to mobilize against its impact but it can be done.

    So use one or more of these tools today and start enjoying a life free of unwanted influences. You’ll be happier and have a healthier relationship with money when you do.

    Which of these tools are you going to use today? And are there ones you use as a secret weapon against advertising’s impacts? Please share a comment below, even if it’s just a short blurb.

    (Photo credit: Shopping Cart on Screen via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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