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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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?