How To Break Your Addiction To Infomercials And Buying Stuff!

by Hank Coleman

Are you addicted to infomercials?I normally do not write much about my personal life here on Money Q&A. A part of me thinks that you really don’t care about it, and I don’t really blame you. I’m not one to tell you how I overcame a mountain of credit card debt after college like everyone else or bore you with tweets about what I had for breakfast this morning.

There are tons of other great personal finance blogs out there where you can follow the saga of people and their lives. I’m just not that into it, and you don’t see much of it here. But, I thought that I would break my own rule a little bit and share with you a little inside information. I’m addicted to buying things off of infomercials on late night television.

There…I have said it. And, now everyone knows a little bit more about me. But, I wanted to share with you how I kicked the habit of buying Snuggies, Magic Bullet blenders, and wholesale lot knife sets from the Home Shopping Network (my college roommate and I would have made a fortune reselling if we didn’t keep them all for ourselves).

Five Ways To Break Your Addiction to Infomercials

Stop Watching Television

I’m a huge Gary Vaynerchuk fan. One of the first videos I saw of him on YouTube was a speech that Gary Vaynerchuk gave at the Web 2.0 Expo (caution…a few curse words). In the middle of his presentation, he talks about how you can get ahead in life and in business. He said simply to stop watching television. Think about how much time that you spend in front of the TV. It’s quite a lot when you add it up. Robert Pagliarini’s great book, The Other 8 Hours, talks about this as well. Most people typically work eight hours, sleep eight hours, and have the other eight hours to do something remarkable.

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Do you have side hustle to earn additional money? You have to get after it or Crush It as Vaynerchuk would say in those other eight hours and not waste them watching so much television.

Use Your DVR

Skip the late night commercials, infomercials, and all advertising for that matter by simply taping your television shows in advance. Using your DVR is a great way to skip the commercials, enjoy more television, use your time more wisely, and save money.

Check Reviews Before You Buy

There are tons of great websites out there that will give you reviews for products before you purchase them. A simple Google search for the item you are considering and the word “review” will turn up hundreds. If I had simply checked out the Magic Bullet on Amazon.com, I would have seen all of the poor reviews for the product saving me a lot of money and hassle from my wife.

Don’t Pay Full Price

If you simply must have an item that you see on an infomercial, there are several places that you can see the item in a store before you purchase and save on the shipping and handling which are typically outrageous charges. Now, you can even find infomercial items in Wal-Mart and even at those as seen on TV stores in many malls. Another great option is the find someone selling the items you are considering on eBay.

Find An Accountability Partner

My wife is a great accountability partner. She keeps me focused and away from wasting money on infomercials. Everyone needs an accountability partner that keeps us honest and on track moving forward. This is especially true if you have goals or New Year’s Resolutions. Find a partner and tell them your weaknesses and goals. Ask them to hold you to them.

As you can imagine, most purchases from late night television are not the best use of your money. I wish that I could have my $50 back that I spent on the Magic Bullet blender. It just doesn’t work like it does on television. If you are making poor spending choices, you can take a little bit of solace in the fact that you are not alone.

Over $400 billion is spent each year on items bought from infomercials. According to the Nielson Company and their ratings, direct response television advertising has been the fastest growing form of advertising over the past five years, seeing an increase of over 18%. And, infomercials equal 14% of all television ads.

Have you ever bought anything from an infomercial?

 

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 577 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Zack Jones

It’s pretty amazing how those things work so great on TV but never work the same once you get the product isn’t it. We bought our snuggies at wally-world and actually use them quite a bit during the winter.

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Hank

I definitely think buying these things (if you really must) at a physical store is the way to go.

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J. Money

Haha… I’ve never bought anything myself, but it seems my family likes to buy stuff there and then send ’em to us for Xmas 😉 Particularly w/ the snuggie. The wife uses it all the time!

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Hank

I never thought about giving these things as gifts. I’ll have to try that and spread the misery around.

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bax

Ah, Baxter’s Rule # 47, if you learned about it on TV, it’s probably bad for you.

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Hank

Definitely true….another reason that mom was right when she said that TV was bad for us.

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Hack @ Smart Money Hacks

I’ve never purchased anything for myself, but the new Schticky seems pretty cool – I was tempted to buy 🙂

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Joe

A family member of ours used the “Baby Magic Bullet” to prepare quick/nutritious meals in a way that generates much less mess than other food processors. She, in turn, has given us the same system because the $50 purchase helped her save hundreds. Admittedly, without this easy-to-use system, we’d probably end up buying baby food. Not ALL the time, but buying baby food is a waste of money. Just two or three weeks of pureed baby food in the Magic Bullet pays for itself!

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Paul @ The Frugal Toad

I have to admit I have not bought anything from an infomercial, I just have a hard time believing the sales pitches to be credible. Some of them are pretty entertaining though!

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BE @ BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog

I agree completely. The power of good product placement in commercials or informercial is amazing. Just look at what a 30 second ad is able to command for the Superbowl! I agree that you just have to stop looking and read a book.

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Marissa @ Thirtys Six Months

I am a sucker for advertising so I try to avoid watching TU all together. The times that I do watch TV is when a show is recorded so I can skip the commercials.

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MoneySmartGuides

My girlfriend bought the Magic Bullet. Surprisingly, it works great and we love it!!

But, I personally use the DVR strategy. I don’t watch very much TV, but the shows that I do watch, I simply DVR so I can watch when it is convenient for me. When I watch my shows, I simply fast forward through the commercial. I make sure I fast forward as fast as possible so that I can’t even be tempted by a commercial. At the fastest speed, I can’t make out the product they are trying to sell me!

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Thomas

I really like the idea of an accountability partner. I don’t buy a lot on TV (although I have always eyed the Magic Bullet) but I can be impulsive in other areas. I may actually need a couple of accountability partners 😉

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