A WORLD OF ADS: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

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Hi, my friends,

First of all, Happy Easter to everybody! I promise it is Easter as I’m writing, though you’ll be reading this post in a few days time. I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends or with your family of friends, just as we did. I’m glad I managed to talk to my big family for some  l o n g  hours on WhatsApp calls and spent quality time with our closest friends in London, I find it’s always one of the best ways to relax and feel at ease. Too bad the holidays are almost over, I had just started to enjoy them and they’re almost gone now! Luckily, we have a trip coming up in a month, plus this working week will be one day shorter so I’ll have more time off soon.

 

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Right on the very first day of my holidays (and now in my head I’m whistling: on the first day of Easter my true love sent to me) I read this blog post about Easter tricks shops use to get you into buying more. I had noticed a splurge of spring sales in shops in the past few weeks so I was intrigued and started reading. The article mentioned how most ads will say something like: get rid of those old clothes you bought last year and buy new ones at a wonderful discount! I thought: oh no, I’m too smart to fall into that trap. The day after, I found myself cleaning the wardrobe and feeling the urge to go shopping straight afterwards. Easy as that. The problem here is that I’ve found myself in that situation more than once recently, which is probably because we live in a world full of ads so my question for today is: how can we cope with all those ads? Can we really spend as much as influencers and YouTube stars would like us to? How many ads can we bare in our life? How much is too much?

I don’t know whether there’s something in the air here in London or I’m following too many bloggers but recently I’m always feeling like I want to spend money. Most of it is my fault: I love watching hauls on YouTube – that is, when girls show what they’ve recently bought – as it gives you the excitement you get when you go shopping, but then your wardrobe remains the same so it’s only half the fun. As most of you will know, our thoughts are heavily influenced by what’s around us every day and watching hauls on YouTube will only make me think about what I’d love to buy myself so here’s totally my fault, I admit it. I should definitely watch more videos about how to create better content instead. The thing is that I really like watching those videos and there are so many available online that you truly need some serious willpower to stop – oh my, I’m writing about it as if I was an addict, I swear I’m not.

 

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Another thing that gets me into spending more and more often is Instagram. Do we want to talk about all the Insta Stories about purchasing and swiping up to buy whatever it is a person is advertising? Oh and now you don’t even have to swipe up because Instagram has introduced the shopping tag so all you need to do is tap on an item to see the price and buy it straight away. I don’t think I’ll ever buy items off Instagram as I’m not too convinced about the security of those systems, I don’t feel like I can enter my credit card details or Paypal password safely on a social media, but again it’s more a question of thinking habits. If the only social media I use regularly turns into a shopping mall, I’ll think about shopping even more. I’d say I now live surrounded by ads, smart ads, that show me exactly what I’ve been googling recently.

The problem here is that we have almost no control of them, we can only learn how to avoid them. If ads won’t be efficient and cost effective, retailers will stop purchasing them.

 

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I’ve always tried to follow one rule when shopping: less is more. I buy what I strictly need and I spend a bit more to get better quality products that last  l o n g e r. I’m not sure if that’s true for everything but that’s true most times than it’s not. Now I’m starting to question what does less mean? What is the borderline between less and too much? How can I stop thinking about spending when I see ads all day every day?

 

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The shopping list I have in my head contains 3 items, two of those are quite expensive and one is not. I know the brand, the model, everything. So technically I’m now saving for those 3 things. The problem is the more I try to save, the more I think of spending and how to avoid it, the more I find myself in a shop checking out something else. It’s like when you are on a diet and you constantly think about chocolate and Nutella. So what strategies can we put in place to avoid that? If I’m feeling overwhelmed by people trying to sell products everywhere, I can’t imagine how teens can cope with that since their brain is only starting to learn how to control instant gratification.

The way I normally control my spending habits is by budgeting and that’s something everyone can do. It takes a little bit of time, to begin with, but it’s only an initial investment as it then gets easier and faster. I download my most recent bank statements, calculate the average I spend on grocery, travel (Oyster card), rent and taxes and decide how much I want to save of what’s left of my income for my future (let’s say, two thirds). What’s left is what I can spend in my everyday life to go shopping, have a drink with friends or travel abroad. That’s my usual way of making sure I save something for when I’ll be old and ugly.

My second piece of advice would be to read about the marketing tools companies use to advertise a product. Reading a book like Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion helped me a great deal: if you know what marketing strategies are used out there and you know how to recognise them, you’ll be able to avoid them. In a similar way, I’d say meditation can be helpful. If you know what you are thinking when you are thinking it and you are conscious about your thoughts, it will be easier to control your impulses and ask yourself further questions when needed, such as: do I really need this? When will I use this? How does it fit into my house/wardrobe/lifestyle?

Finally, my last tip would be to go to a place where there are no ads to relax and rest your saturated brain. In my case, that would be my house, a friends’ house or the park (because even the gym is full of ads). If you can’t, then try to avoid them by muting the video you are watching or the radio when an ad pops up.

 

 

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A place with no ads 😉

 

 

I don’t have any other advice for now but I’d appreciate if you share your thoughts as usual. To me, this feels like an ongoing thing I’m only now learning how to deal with, but since it can only get  BIGGER, I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Thank you for following me, my friends,

Hugs

 

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