Going Ad-less: Turning off the Media

There are few sources of information these days that do not come riddled with advertising, or at least with a list of generous corporate sponsors. To escape the constant bombardment of “buy this” “recognize my name” and “we’re so cool” I decided to take some drastic steps. As a result, I have noticed an improvement in my general consumer satisfaction.

No matter how little you see advertising, you are affected. Periodic changes in your habits can call attention to your weaknesses. If you know where you are weak, you can strengthen your personal frugality skills and make better, more informed decisions. To understand your spending habits, you have to


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5 Responses to Going Ad-less: Turning off the Media

  1. nanamom says:

    I have taken similiar steps years ago and I find that I spend less as well. I enjoy the movies more (we do use netflix and the local library to get a variety) Any previews that make us want to see a movie are generally already out on DVD so it works. I live in a small town so there is little shopping available so that cuts down on it as well. Actually took the no TV steps to keep the kids from seeing garbage and have never had time to surf so didn’t even realize that would be a problem. Until I read this I didn’t think much of the financial “fruits” (although I did realize I spent less)

  2. Christina says:

    My path has been different, yet with similar results. I stopped watching television because I believed that “typical” Americans managed their money and careers so well to have all of the goods and lifestyle depicted, and I knew I’d never measure up to that, so why expose myself to the pain?

    Exceptions were “Jeopardy!” and PBS cartoons. My son watched a half-hour cartoon show on PBS daily and was accused of watching too much television, as he was eager to play the themed games and fantasies his peers who watched more television introduced to him. His exposure to corporate branding was ample, despite the lack of exposure to commercial network television. At the age of four he accompanied us to a sponsored community festival and shouted out the company names of the logos he recognized: companies that employed mom and dad, or provided audio-video plug-ins for PCs. The plus side is that he yells “THIS IS BORING!” at commercials that screen before first-run movies.

    I rent DVDs, or download them if they have never been released on DVD or VHS in my country.
    I turned off my satellite TV service and instead I buy my television shows on DVD, sans commercials.

    I should follow Ann Hartter’s example and use RSS feeds.

    I didn’t end my magazine subscriptions, but they’ve changed to non-commercial journals I can’t get at the library.

    I should stop websurfing. I went without for two weeks on vacation and my mind had a tranquil time.

    I still listen to the radio, but community-supported and listener-powered stations, which I do support for less than the cost of cable television.

    Years ago I did call the OPT OUT number to get out of direct mail solicitations, but as a homeowner, small business owner, or former magazine subscriber or charity contributor there’s no way to completely cut the mail I do get out of my life.

  3. Jay Gatsby says:

    Closest I’ve come is to not have cable television for the past 17 years. I figured that at an average of $40/month in my area (over time), I’ve saved $8,160. Invested in a CD at an average of 5%, that comes out to $12,820. I also get my television shows and movies through Netflix, and occasionally the library.

    I occasionally watch broadcast television, but I haven’t upgraded any of my televisions in 7 years. I recently obtained two digital converter boxes, and have a great picture essentially still for free. True, there is advertising on broadcast television, but for the most part I watch PBS and only 1 or 2 normal shows — if I even have time.

    In the end, I’ve trained myself to tune out television commercials and advertising in general. My life is pretty simple, with most of my energy spent on my career, the gym and my family. This is as it should be….

  4. Cindy M says:

    Glad to see this article. I haven’t had cable TV in years and truly never missed it. No local newspapers (can view on line) or magazines for years now, either. I’ve hit thrift stores for clothing and shoes for years now and have saved a bundle. I no longer bother with coupons and always buy house brands when I do hit a grocery. Works great for me and I’m very contented with my choice to turn off the advertising media. If you’re smart enough to kill the constant bombardment of things you “gotta have,” it’s like a weight lifted. You really don’t have to do what everybody else does and can still be very inventive and happy.

  5. Kristian says:

    Once upon a time I worked in a newsstand, with cnn headline news playing on one tv and cable sports on the other. With over 2,000 titles of magizines and newspapers from all over the country and world I was quite bombarded by media. During this time there was OJ, Tanya Harding and many other examples of ickyness.
    I am pleased to say that I too have turned off my TV and while I took about 10 years off from reading newspapers I now read the local daily. There is still plenty of junk and some really bad ‘journalisim’ but at least its not on a 30 minute loop and once I put it dowm for the day I don’t see the same stories presented 2,000 different ways.
    I think I’m happier these days.

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