One of the surest ways to avoid the temptation to spend is to avoid advertising. That’s not easy to do in our consumer-oriented culture. That’s why many simple living gurus shut off the television altogether. I’d bet they also limit their magazine consumption. With pages full of glossy ads and editorials that highlight new and better products, magazines are really nothing more than catalogues with added content.
Even though I take cheap shots at them, I love glossy magazines. Through survey sites and expiring airline miles, I’m now the lucky subscriber of at least a dozen magazines ranging from Money to Body+Soul to Self. The only magazine I pay for is Real Simple ($5 through an Amazon.com deal). I thought magazines would be a good way to find special offers and another way to get coupons.
For months now, I’ve been bombarded with ads and articles about fashion, make-up, organizing, cooking, decorating, losing weight and self-improvement. At first, I held up pretty well against the constant stream of advertising. Then I started wanting and needing sweaters and other pretty things I wouldn’t have known about if not for a magazine. On a side note: Would men be more uptight about organizing and cleanliness if their magazines bombarded them with housekeeping and organization tips on a monthly basis?
So what’s a simple living, magazine-loving gal to do? Here are some of my “survival” tips for those who can’t give up pretty magazines:
Give It Away, Give It Away Now
Luckily I think I’ve found a way to manage the effects of advertising. Soon after reading each magazine, I give most away to co-workers, friends or family. I’ve noticed that if I hold onto an issue, say a Fall Fashion one, I am more likely to want something. If I pass it along, the pretty item soon fades from my mind.
Take the Good with the Bad
Not all magazines are “bad” for you of course. I think fashion magazines are the worst culprits so I’m avoiding those for the most part. Lifestyle magazines like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living will make you feel inadequate on so many levels. Self and Shape actually inspires me to work out more often. Surprisingly, my favorite is the Martha Stewart-owned Body+Soul. Like any magazine, it spotlights plenty of things to buy but it also has helpful articles about food, finance and healthy living. After reading a few of their “be a better person” articles, of which there are many, I made a point to do small, kind things for people. I’m such a cynic so this was very unlike me. I actually did feel better about myself and the world in general.
Look for Special Offers
Although not as prolific as I thought, magazines do have special offers and coupons for their readers. Be on the look-out for these and you can justify your magazine subscription cost. In the December issue of Martha Stewart Living, there is a free subscription offer to Body+Soul or Everyday Food if you spend $25 or more at the UPS store.* This is just one example of deals you can find if you look carefully.
Are you a magazine junkie? What are your favorite magazines? Any tips on avoiding temptation even if you read Lucky?
* To receive the free subscription, you have to send a copy of $25+ UPS store receipt with a notecard including your name, address, phone number and code indicating magazine of your choice (EFAEGV2 for Everyday Food or BDAAYA7 for Body+Soul) to P.O. Box 60015, Tampa, FL 33660-0015. Offer expires December 31, 2009. $25 must be total sales amount including tax on one or more receipts.