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Don’t Sell Out to Advertising

Learn how you can save money by not listening to advertising.

It’s nearly impossible to go a day without running into some kind of advertising. Television, social media, billboards, radio, games—almost anywhere you can think of has advertising. And that advertising has one goal: to part you with your money.

The first ads.new york

The first known advertisements were by the Egyptians. Craftspeople wrote on papyrus posters saying what they were selling and for how much. The ancient Chinese used oral advertising; people would recite poetry to promote a business. It was in 19th century England when modern advertising really started with the Pears Soap Company using catchphrases and slogans to target customers instead of simply saying what the product wass and how much it cost.

Why advertise at all?

If you need something you’ll find it, right? To some extent yes. If you absolutely need something, you’ll find a way to get it. But what about things you don’t need? Or picking one brand over another? Without the company telling you about it, you’d have no idea the choice was out there. Advertising isn’t all bad; there are things you need or want and it’s helpful to know they exist without having to go look for them.

Why does it work?

They trick you. Not really, but it isn’t just telling you about something and letting you decide. Modern advertising uses psychology to convince you that you need something you didn’t even know you wanted before. It appeals to a wide range of emotions to get you to convince yourself that a product will make your life better.

Isn’t that dangerous?

Yes and no. Sometimes people feel left out if they see an ad for something cool that all their friends have and they don’t have it. Or sad when they want to go to a place they saw in an ad but they can’t. It can also hurt your wallet. Sometimes people are too influenced by advertising, and they end up spending too much money.

There is a thing called subliminal messaging. Subliminal messaging are subtle cues that affect your thinking below the conscious level. Companies aren’t allowed to do this anymore as it was seen as dangerous. There is still a version of this around, though. It’s called product placement, where a company pays a movie or TV show to put their product in a scene. They aren’t directly advertising, but they hope you want to buy the product because you saw it in something you like.

What can you do?

It can be difficult to not give in to advertising. But there are a few things you can do.

  1. Limit the amount of advertising you see. This sounds easier than it is, but it can be done. Install, or have your parents install, ad-blocking software on your computer, phone, or tablet. Avoid watching broadcast TV by sticking with streaming services. Pay a little extra for premium music streaming.
  2. Make a list of things you want. If you see an ad for something and think you want it, put it on the list. Wait a little bit and check back. Do you really need it? Do you still want it? Can you afford it?
  3. If you’re feeling down about not having something, think about the things in life that make you happy. More than likely those things are people and experiences, not objects.

That’s about it. Advertising isn’t all bad; some of it helps you find the things you really need. But a lot of it is just trying to get you to part with your money. So outsmart the advertisers by thinking about what you really want and need and don’t let them tell you what makes you happy. Your savings account with thank you.

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