I have two main problems with online coupons: they fill up my in-box and they tempt me to buy. I solved both problems with one quick fix – email filters. Here’s how to set-up email filters to reduce your spending.
How to Set Up Email Filters
I use Thunderbird, so these instructions apply to that. Go to Tools > Rules and Alerts to set up filters for Outlook. It’s not quite as simple, but it can be done. I highly recommend switching to Thunderbird. It’s a much smaller, cleaner program. Here are the instructions for filtering your email there:
- Create a Coupons folder in your in-box
- On the top toolbar, click Tools > Message Filters
- Click New
- Name it “Coupons” or something similar
- In the “Perform these actions” field, select “Move Messages to” and then select “Coupons on [inbox name]
- In the top fields, select “Match any of the following”
- In the middle box select, “From” and “Contains” in the first two fields. Now enter the first store name. Something like “Amazon” or “CVS”
- Continue filling in the first four boxes, then click the plus button to add more.
- Go through your inbox and enter a portion of the company name as it appears in the email address.
- Click OK.
- Click Run Now.
- All your current messages will move to the folder. As future messages come in, they’ll automatically move to that folder.
How Email Filters Save Money
You’re less tempted to buy. The key is to not look in the folder until I realize you need to make a purchase soon, then check the folder regularly for offers from that company. I complete the purchase when a great offer comes in. This way the offers don’t tempt me to buy when they come in unless I’ve already decided to make a purchase.
You Don’t Miss Valuable Coupons When It’s Time. I could just unsubscribe from the offers and use Retail Me Not, but then I’d get back on the mailing list every time I placed an order. Also, CVS and a few other stores send offers for in-store purchases that can only be used if you print the email.
You Can Learn the Offer Cycle. I keep old offers for a few months to track the offer cycle. That way I can see how often certain coupons are offered and when I’m likely to receive them.
As an added bonus, email filters keep my inbox tidier and I don’t manually sort messages. I wasn’t much of a shopper to begin with, but I’ve been less tempted to even look at an online store since I started filtering my emails. Try it and see how much you save.