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The Hidden Budget-Buster Lurking in Your Inbox

The hidden budget buster lurking in your inboxDo you get a lot of email?

Me too.

I have at least four email addresses, which means I get hundreds of emails a day. Hundreds. Some are really fun, like the ones from friends who want to meet up for lunch or coffee. Some are relevant and work-related.

And yet, many of them fall into the unimportant category. You know the ones I’m talking about. The mass emails introducing a new feature on a product, or low airfares to destinations near and far.

But there’s one type of email that was more harmful than most. And it’s a huge budget-buster lurking in your inbox.

That kind of email? The Daily Deals.

What’s wrong with daily deal emails?

You know the kind. Buy this coupon today only and save 30-50% on something you probably didn’t want in the first place!

They keep your credit card information handy, so all you ever have to do is click.

The problem? They’re almost universally treats, not needs.

“I haven’t had a massage in a while,” you think to yourself. Click.

“You know, I haven’t heard of that Thai restaurant across town, maybe we should check it out.” Click.

Then, next thing you know, you have all these vouchers in your hand for things that will cost you more money once you get there!

Why I finally unsubscribed from all of them:

I’m telling you, when they first came out, I was their biggest fan. All my friends were. We’d buy up the gift certificates, then head to the (now woefully) understaffed restaurant, where we’d get terrible service and lukewarm food, and we’d swear we’d never return.

But then, a few days later, another voucher would come up, and we’d throw them back and forth via email. I would forward to a friend, “Should we buy two of these and make it a double date?” and the cycle would repeat.

The scope of those vouchers increased, and one day, I realized I had several expired daily deals.

Well, you don’t get refunded for the deals you don’t use, so in essence, I’d paid ten or twenty dollars for the opportunity to print a coupon.

Those deals included:

  • Ben & Jerry’s (why I never redeemed this is beyond my comprehension as of this writing)
  • Two different restaurants in geographically inconvenient places during the time I was biking everywhere
  • Custom framing (and the artwork remains unframed, in a closet)
  • Acro-yoga (why I thought I could be brave enough to try doing yoga suspended in the air is still beyond me)

Some companies give you a full refund if you don’t use the voucher, but most don’t.

So, one morning, I unsubscribed.

I thought I’d miss them. Really. They were so pretty, and offered a glimpse into a “oooh what kind of person do I want to be today?” fantasy. But in reality, I felt better.

Happier. More comfortable in my own skin.

I realized I was letting other people dictate how I spent my money, and those other people were companies who had an interest in getting some of my money. It was an added stress, too, to remember which voucher I needed to use by which date, and I had a hard time buying a milkshake somewhere when I knew I had a coupon (that I’d paid for!) for a milkshake somewhere else.

Unsubscribing took some time. I think I was subscribed to about 15 (!) different daily deal emails.

But now I’m the one who decides how my money is spent.

And I’m better off.

Do you subscribe to those daily deal emails? Why or why not?

Image by Yoel

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