Signing up for your favorite store's email list sounds like a great idea at the time—it means that you'll never miss out on great coupons and discounts, right? It works just fine until you start doing the same thing at every store you shop at, and it can really only end in one of two ways: One, you find yourself drowning in emails and fighting your inbox for dear life, or two, all those can't-miss sales and offers have you spending more money than you would have in the first place.
So how do you clear the clutter and save your wallet from the temptation of daily 20-percent-off emails without missing out on the deals you can actually use? The easiest solution is to sign up for an extra email account that you designate for mailing lists, then follow a few extra steps to save yourself money and stress in the long run.
Step 1: Create a New Email Address
Here's the easy part. Whatever email you use—be it Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail (do people still use Hotmail?) or otherwise—make a new email account. This account will be strictly for signing up for store mailing lists—no one but you and your favorite retailers are supposed to know it, so don't give it out to friends and family or put it on your resume. The key here is to keep things separate and organized. (Also, make sure the email address itself isn't something embarrassing or hard-to-pronounce, because you'll probably have to say it out loud at the register when you shop in-store.)
Step 2: Unsubscribe and Resubscribe
This part is a little more time consuming. First, unsubscribe from all the mailing list emails you get on your primary address, and delete them from your inbox. As you're going through and unsubscribing, make a list of the stores you actually shop at often and use discounts from. Then, on your new account, re-subscribe to only the stores that are on your list. That way, you won't get sale emails at your primary address (although it may take a few weeks for the unsubscribing to take effect) and the ones you do get at your new email address will be manageable—and actually useful to you.
Step 3: Keep It All Off Your Phone
And for the most important step: As tempting as it may be to keep getting those constant sale notifications, the whole point of this is to keep some of that temptation at bay, and that means that you need to keep this separate email off your phone. Instead, set aside some time—maybe once a day, or every few days, or once a week depending on how often you feel appropriate—to go through and see what deals await you. And if you need to access any emailed coupons in-store, forward them to your main email address so you can use them that way.
Do you have a way of managing your subscription emails?