Friday, February 11, 2011

Are magazines messing with your head (and your goals)?

Is that Eva Mendes clutching...Eva Mendes?
Whilst tallying up the silly ways I used to spend money, I seem to have left out one key category: magazines. Specifically fashion rags, where the first 30 pages are comprised solely of advertising for luxury consumer goods. In past I've tended to buy them out of material boredom - perhaps what could more aptly be described as consumer ADD: I felt a need to buy something so I'd pick one up, hence giving me ideas of yet more things to buy...

Overall, magazines are about selling a lifestyle. They give you a glimpse of what your life could and perhaps should be like - if you have unlimited funds or are willing to go into unlimited amounts of debt, that is.

Celebrity product lists are my favourite: You always get some "down to earth" impoverished-child-adopting, yoga-practicing type recommending a $50 lip gloss or a $150 hair brush. Mixed messages? Maybe not. I'd say it's all part of "aspirational marketing" - the concept that goodness and living a good life are tied to material things. I'd say most people know not to take these messages at face value, but they must go in on a subliminal level - otherwise advertising in such publications would likely be pointless.

My challenge for the months of February, March and April is to slash my magazine consumption to zero. Beyond saving me about $20-30 a month, I'm interested to see whether it will affect my level of material craving. If I stop looking, will I stop wanting, too?

Note: I included the above links purely for documentary purposes. I was happy to see Christine @ Temptalia's conclusion that "it's hard to say any [lip]gloss is 'worth' $50." Right on.

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