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3.9 out of 5 stars
Real Simple (1-year auto-renewal)
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594 of 627 people found the following review helpful
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I am a strong proponent of living a simpler, less stressed life and I was really happy when I saw an entire magazine was dedicated towards the simple life. After reading it, though, I think what they meant to say was that this is the way to spend money and feel better about yourself.

An idea for avoiding dishes? Buy lots of coffee filters, line your mixing bowls with them and throw them away when you're done. This turns us into a disposable lifestyle, not a simple one. Need to figure out if a window is sunny enough for a plant? Buy a $60 device that (I kid you not) plugs into the dirt, records the sunlight for you and then plugs into your USB port to tell you what it saw. There's an article on an interracial marriage which doesn't sound simple to me, and while it's cool, it doesn't help me learn anything about living more simply.

How about dressing simply? They want you to buy an $85 pair of flats and a $68 belt. Maybe a $70 pair of shorts.

Some articles are helpful. How can you spot a fake bill? Might be useful to know. Other articles miss out on basics. They talk about how a pound of sugar was 12 cents in 1960 and is now 52 cents - but they say nothing at all about what it WOULD be adjusted for inflation. Is this higher than before? Lower? Nobody knows.

There are good tips in here. Go to your library and use their vast resources for free. Negotiate with your health care provider for lower costs. Use local playgrounds for exercise and fun. Bring your lunch, don't eat out. Even so, you turn the page and they're suggesting $200 blazers as cool items for the simple household - blazers that, honestly, most of us would only wear once or twice given its color and what it would go with in a given season. Never mind the $400 giant black jumpsuit. Not simple.

I'm not saying simple has to be boring or drab - but there is a big difference, in my mind, between recommending a simple item of clothing that could be worn every week without an issue and recommending a $400 splurge on something that would rarely be brought from the closet. That belongs more in a "splurge fashion" magazine, not a "real simple" magazine.

So while I appreciate some of the tips here, there was too much emphasis on buying things - especially things people simply don't need. I feel the magazine falls into this category itself.
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163 of 169 people found the following review helpful
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I'll admit it -- I buy every issue of this magazine. The title, however, always calls up a wry grin. The simple lifestyle the book advocates isn't all that easy! To achieve it you'll have to go buy the materials for the magazine's simplifying project, then re-arrange your house so you have a place to work on the project (which naturally requires purchasing even more things) and then finally you'll have to find the time to actually complete the project. Of course, to find the time you'll have to buy a new wall calendar and clock and Rolodex. I think the magazine has hit the American pluse on the button -- spend limited money and time to help better organize limited money and time, all while reminding yourself how beneficial and FUN all this work is. Oh, and don't forget to turn your repeated shopping trips to Target into "quality time" with your two-year-old in the process. So what do I do with the magazine? I'll go home after a tough day at work, and enjoy a cup of off-the-shelf non-gourmet herbal tea (cracked coffee mug, water heated in cheap saucepan with missing handle) and fantasize about leading the kind of lifestyle the magazine portrays. I read about gifts to buy the boss (as if!) and about knitting scarves, and all those premanufactured pastel "lifestyle accessories." The latest issue has advice on picking chocolates. I have one word on the subject -- Hershey's. The whole magazine is far outside my salary, and the total opposite of my garage-sale Western-omelet-at-Denny's lifestyle. It's escapism, pure and SIMPLE.
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158 of 168 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2007
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
Don't get me wrong..I love the two hard cover books, Real Simple Solutions and Real Simple: The Guide to Organized Living. They are gems. However, the magazine simply betrays it's words. As one rater stated, it seems like the reader is cajoled into buying un-needed expensive products, and my god..the magazine is cluttered with ads and inserts, plus it is very hard to turn the pages and read. I realize ads are necessary, but this is extreme, especially for a magazine that supposedly promotes a less complicated and cluttered life for it's readers.
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523 of 578 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2003
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I subscribed to this magazine for a year and enjoyed my first few issues, but I soon noticed that all of the ideas for "leading a simpler life" involved purchasing expensive products. You might as well just flip through a Pottery Barn catalog. They both offer the same fantasy -- "What a stress-free, genteel life I could lead if only I had closet organizers and all-white furniture!" Eventually I simplified my life by letting my subscription run out.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2009
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I subscribed to Real Simple from the first issue for several years. At first it had some great unique ideas, and some really cool decorating ideas. Then, shortly after the second year, they seemed to run out of ideas. Unfortunately, they kept publishing anyway. The ideas rerun so often, if I flip through one now I find the SAME recipes (ravioli lasagna) and SAME tips they had the first year. Huge disappointment. If you are interested, don't commit for more than a year!
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2003
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I subscribed to this magazine believing that it would have advice relating to scaling back and living better with less. However, this magazine is definitely geared towards women who don't mind paying $200+ for "the perfect white shirt" and are strugging to create a savings plan with six-figure incomes.
That being said, I love the recipes, the meal planners are excellent, and the organization tips I've found useful too. A fun magazine, as long as you don't take it too seriously.
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2003
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I enjoy reading Real Simple. The articles are informative and the magazine is beautiful to look at. I disagree that the content is not substantial - it is a monthly magazine, what exactly were you expecting? I also disagree that the magazine solely targets those in an upper income bracket. While some of the items they suggest are things my husband and I still dream of, there are also items they review regularly that you can pick up at CVS Pharmacy. In fact, the product reviews are probably the most useful part of the magazine. I like seeing purchase information next to something that catches my eye. Real Simple is a welcome alternative to other women's magazines that focus on giving yourself multiple orgasms or figuring out your personality based on astrological signs. If you are interested in browsing through a magazine that gives personal stories, features useful products, provides yummy recipes for nights when you have guests over (or have the time to cook a special meal), and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye - this magazine is for you.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2007
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I've read the other reviews denouncing the magazine as vapid and consumeristic. The Economist it is not, nor does it purport to be! If you enjoy great layout, graphic design, decorating, wearable fashion, and preparable recipes, Real Simple is for you. As for the product suggestions not being affordable: the interior design sections feature items from Ikea; fashion from Target; and food obtainable from your neighborhood grocery store. The magazine successfully recreates lifestyles featured in higher-end publications, and is comparable to Martha Stewart's "Living" and "Blueprint," and "Lucky" and "Domino."
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299 of 365 people found the following review helpful
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
Beautiful photography, but empty articles, and advertising, advertising, advertising. Every item, on every page, is an advertisement. Everything. Every sentence in every article, every caption, every line in the index. There are numerous special sections devoted to product endorsements, although they're phrased as "tips." They should give this magazine away for free, considering the money they must make off the advertising. Sure, while it's somewhat "handy" to know what's depicted and discussed (usually the URL and price are provided) it makes me a little uneasy. I feel suckered. I feel uncomfortable. Euugh.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2001
Subscription Term Name: 1 year
I bought my first copy of "Real Simple" on a whim, and I've bought it every month since. I like it because unlike so many of the "women's" magazines out there ("Glamour," "Cosmopolitan," etc.), it deals with real everyday issues. I'm not yet out of college, and I'm not married, but this magazine has given me tons of information that I can use now, and I even learned to knit as a result of the most recent issue. I've also taken lots of things from it that I know will be helpful when I do get out of school, get married, and have a family. This is simply an amazing publication.
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