Why {& how} we are trying to go AD-FREE

Why {& how} we are trying to go AD-FREE ~ Our Cozy Den

You’ve probably heard the statistics that Americans are exposed to a whopping 4,000-10,000 ads per day. Yikes. That’s a lot of information being thrown at us on a daily basis.

The average American in 1970 saw 500 ads per day. In 45 years, that’s like a 1000% increase in ads.

Let’s compare this to the American trend on debt.

In that same timeframe, the average American consumer debt has increased from $500 per person to over $11,000 per person. 

{do those numbers look eerily similar to anyone else?!}

I don’t think it’s too much of a reach to say that ads = spending. Marketing works. If it didn’t, companies wouldn’t pay FOUR MILLION DOLLARS for a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

But besides just the money factor, there are a lot of ways that advertising negatively affect our lives!


Here are my own personal reasons for wanting to control my family’s exposure to advertising:

1. Contentment

How many times have you seen an ad for something that you really liked, and you decided to get one of that thing. But you second guess your decision and waver and obsess over it until-you-can’t-think-of-anything-else-and-here-you-are-at-2-am-researching-this-stroller. You hadn’t even heard of it a week ago, and now you desperately want it.

Nobody else does this, right?!

Ads are intended to foster a sense of discontentment in your life. Your house isn’t beautiful enough. Your clothes aren’t flattering. Your bathroom isn’t clean. Your food isn’t delicious or healthy enough. Your car isn’t new enough.

Why on Earth do we listen to these voices? They just want our money. They don’t know us. They don’t know our lives. They certainly don’t know what God wants for us. Advertising breeds discontentment and robs you of joy.

2. It saves money.

Like I said before, seeing = spending. This is especially true for children. I remember when I was a kid, seeing those really cool toy commercials and begging my parents for those toys. The same with cereals, juice boxes, fruit-by-the-foot, and anything else they market to children. I wanted it all.

And a lot of times I got it. My parents were not the best savers. We had a lot of debt and little savings. But that’s not how I want to raise my kids.

Because my kids see almost no ads, they barely even know what to ask for when Christmas and birthdays roll around. I have to search on Amazon for their favorite characters to even find out what sort of toys are available. It not only makes them more grateful for whatever they do receive, it gives them a simpler view on the joys of life — with more emphasis on things like family time, playing games or riding bikes together — instead of ‘stuff’.

3. It saves brain space.

Pop quiz, name this company:

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” 

“You deserve a break today.” 

“Save money. Live better.” 

Easy, right? {M&Ms, McDonald’s, Walmart}

Being bombarded by ads all day long mean that you are subconsciously writing these messages on your brain, over and over again.

Think of all the better ways you can put your brain to use!

Scripture instead of taglines. Worship music instead of jingles. Beautiful images of God’s creation instead of logos. Uplifting testimonies instead of the hard sell. 

I know that in times of distress, I would much rather be able to recall the powerful Word of God instead of a commercial!

4. Many ads are inappropriate.

Go figure, I tried to find an appropriate inappropriate photo to demonstrate my point, and it wasn’t an easy task. But you know what I’m talking about. S*x sells. Look at any beer commercial to demonstrate. You’ll see scantily clad girls with flirty voices, making our daughters believe that this is the way women act and making our sons believe they should.

When we lived in Germany, the advertising was even worse! There were billboards with fully nude people, advertising cigarettes or flowers. They often had English profanity, spelled out like it was no big deal. It was difficult to live there at times, and ridiculous that it was so culturally accepted!

Okay, but HOW!?

I will say that unless you live in a shack in the woods with no wi-fi (and you are reading a BLOG so that is probably not the case), it’s impossible to completely shelter yourself from advertising. But you can significantly decrease the amount you see each day!

Here are some steps my family takes to limit ads:

1. Unsubscribe from marketing emails.

In fact, if you get a lot, I would start from scratch with a new email address. Don’t ever give a company that email address if they send out marketing emails. Send all marketing emails to your secondary email, and only check that when you are looking for something specific (and yes, that includes blogs. Most bloggers nowadays are hawking the products they made — e-courses, books and ebooks, deals through affiliate links. That counts as marketing).

2. Get a good ad-blocker plugin for your default browser.

I use the Ad Block Plus extension for Google Chrome. It is completely free. All you do is enable it, then it blocks ads from the sites you visit, with a pretty high percentage of accuracy (in detecting what is an ad vs. what is content). I still see some ads online (like Facebook sponsored posts), but the vast majority are blocked by this plugin.

3. Listen to music on CDs or through an ad-free app.

We love to listen to music in our home. But I hate the radio nowadays! The DJs talk more than ever, and the ads are incessant. There’s just not much music on the radio anymore. My husband likes Pandora, which I do not understand. We have Amazon Prime and he can listen to it ad-free, but he still chooses to listen to Pandora.

For the kids and I, we choose to listen to music either on CDs — our home collection, as well as ones we get from the library; on my iTunes playlists, acquired through years of music collection; or from ad-free apps, like Amazon Music, which comes free with a Prime subscription. {Click here to read my tips on how to get FREE music!}

4. Watch TV ad-free.

There are numerous ways to experience television ad-free. Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming are two popular choices! If you have a DVR, you can also skip commercials. I’ll admit, I have never had one, so I don’t know if it will do that automatically for you or if you have to manually skip through them when the kids watch tv. (because I don’t know about you, but when my kids are sitting watching tv, I am NOT there with them. I am getting stuff done!)

You can also watch tv ad free the old fashioned way: DVDs! Between Netflix, Amazon, and DVDs, my kids never even ponder why we don’t have cable. In fact, they get frustrated at hotels when they have to sit and wait for their shows to come back on! 😂 #firstworldproblems

5. Remove packaging.

When kids get a new toy for their birthday/Christmas, they almost always come with a little paper booklet in there that includes all the other toys in the line that your kids will HAVE to have now, right? It’s a super simple fix to snag that before the kid sees it, so they don’t even know what they’re missing. Then they can’t even ASK for the $130 Lego Friends Stable!

6. Alter your routines.

If you notice something in particular that is a stumbling block for you and/or your child, alter your routine. For us in Germany, this meant not driving down a particular road with a billboard I felt was inappropriate. I also choose not to drive past certain foodservice establishments that tempt me in ways neither my wallet nor my waistline would appreciate. It might mean an extra 90 seconds of driving, but a lot of peace in your mind and your heart.


How about you? 

I’d love to hear if you do anything specific to limit your family’s exposure to advertising, or even if this is something you’ve never considered before! And if you have any tips for how WE can do even better, I’m all ears!

Why {& how} we are trying to go AD-FREE ~ Our Cozy Den
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