Ads are everywhere. They are so pervasive that most of the time we register a product, brand, or message without even paying attention to the ad itself. I am a firm believer that if you want to cut a very large chunk out of your spending, the first thing you should do is stop reading magazines and turn off the TV.
It takes a long time of being unplugged into these consumerism machines before you realize just how insidious they are. Open a magazine and you will likely find more pages of advertising than actual content (remember, you paid them to subject yourself to this). Worse, many of the ads are often disguised as articles. Even some of the genuine articles themselves focus on what products you should buy.
I spent about 2 hours watching television recently, which is more than I've watched in the last 2 months. What struck me most is how very little content is on television anymore. Flip between the channels and you will encounter an advertising bombardment on a mind boggling scale. Liquor ads (that have little to do with liquor and all to do with projecting an image), kids toy ads for electronic gizmos hawked to toddlers as educational, overpriced jewelry on entire channels dedicated to shopping. It's endless. And it's all television is anymore. It's one giant advertisement to get you to spend more of your money. And the shows? Look carefully and you will spot your favorite actor drinking a bottle of Fina or driving a brand new SUV (despite the character being a poor single mom).
Worse, we pay money for more channels of advertising! My opinion? Shut it off.
For more ways to save money, No Credit Needed is hosting a "33 Days and 33 Ways to Save Money" collaboration.
See also: Cable TV gone too far? and Throw out your TV and save.