Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


The Simple Dollar

Just say no to catalogs

Catalogs are loaded with items you don't need, and they're very good at convincing you to buy such items. Send them straight to the trash.

By Guest blogger / April 24, 2012

Opening a print catalog is a surefire way to spend money on things you don't need, Hamm argues. Send them directly to the recycling bin.

Courtesy of Brittany Lynne

Enlarge

I’m a pretty tall guy with a particularly long torso. That means, unfortunately, I can’t walk into most clothing stores and find things that fit me well.

Skip to next paragraph

The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.

Recent posts

A few years ago, I needed a new suit for a particular occasion and I needed it pretty quickly. So, I went to a chain store that caters to tall men and found a suit that fit me really well. I was happy with my purchase.

Since then, on a monthly basis (or more frequently), I receive a clothes catalog from this company.

Most of the time, I do the sensible thing and immediately toss the catalog in the trash.

After all, a catalog mostly serves as nothing more than an opening to get you to buy things. It’s loaded with enticing pictures of things you don’t really need, often shot with aspirational touches that make you desire the item.

That’s why it’s usually a bad idea to ever even open up the cover of a catalog. If you get one, just toss it.

Sometimes, though, I’ll leaf through a catalog (we also get them from such places as Republic of Tea). Every single time I do, however, I find myself wanting something in the catalog that I had no interest in before I opened the pages.

That’s the primary purpose of a catalog. It’s essentially a giant advertisement, and like any good advertisement, the main reason that it’s been given to you is to convince you to buy some of the items inside.

The clothes look cool, clean, and crisp. The teas look delicious. The children’s items look intriguing and educational. Unless you’re wary, it isn’t long before you’ve convinced yourself that you need – or at least want – an item or two.

When an advertisement creates an irrational desire to buy something, you’re on the verge of a financial mistake.

Beyond that, catalogs are clutter. They take up space in your mailbox, likely take up some space in your home at some point, and eventually take up extra space in your trash. If you’re like me and you have to pay extra for disposal of materials beyond your container size, this can add up (thankfully, catalogs can usually be recycled).

What’s the solution? If you can, cancel the catalog subscription. That way, you don’t have constant temptation in your mailbox and extra clutter to deal with. If you still get catalogs, just recycle them as soon as you get them.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on www.thesimpledollar.com.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!