Nearly every online purchase process includes the offer to send you updates in the future via email. Agree to receive these emails and they might show up every few weeks or even every day until the end of time (or when you decide to unsubscribe.) These solicitations can be a huge time drain even if you aren’t driven to distraction by checking out that sale on outdoor furniture when you were supposed to be working, paying bills, studying, or something similarly productive. Just deleting the onslaught of emails ads can take several minutes a day. And of course the real danger is that they will lead to wasteful spending.
It is much easier to avoid buying things you don’t need if they are out of sight, out of mind. When trying to rein in spending avoid the mall, don’t window shop, toss catalogs in the recycling bin without looking through them (or have your name removed from the list altogether at www.catalogchoice.org), and deal with those solicitation emails. You can unsubscribe or set the emails to automatically delete, but I find it is helpful to have access to the special offers and discounts that are often sent, for the times when I do want to buy something. Essentially I don’t want something tempting me to shop for shoes while I’m working, but if I am buying a baby shower gift I’d love 10% off or free shipping.
I set up a filter in my email (in Gmail use “labels”, in Outlook set up a “rule”, if you use other email software just search the help or FAQs for “email filters”) to send all of these messages from stores, catalogs, and ecommerce websites to a special folder, skipping the inbox so I never see them unless I want to. Then, if I want to buy something from a certain store I just search for those specific emails and check if I have received any special offers.