At this point, the bulk of the mail I receive is junk mail. I switched to online billing, which means all those letters I receive from my banks are annoying balance transfer or cash advance checks and loan offers. I also receive numerous offers for new magazines, credit cards, and clubs.
As I see it, junk mail is intended solely to part me from my money. Those bank checks come with hefty fees and interest rates. The loans are rarely good offers. I don’t need more magazines or another credit card. I’ve tried book and music clubs and they’re always more hassle than their worth.
So I said stop! Going into the new year, I’m writing to the services to stop my junk mail. I just don’t need it in my life. If I want a balance transfer, I know how to find one online. If I’m interested in a new magazine, I’ll buy a copy and send in one of the 600 reply cards inside. If I want to buy a book, I’ll get it from the library.
If you want to stop junk mail, here are the steps you should take:
- Contact the Direct Marketing Association . Complete the form and pay $1 to be removed from most catalog and junk mailing lists. This will stop 75% of your non-banking junk mail.
- Credit bureaus are also happy to sell your data. Stop those credit offers (which are a source of identity theft), by contacting Opt Out Prescreen or by calling 1-800-5OptOut. This service is free and operated by the three major credit bureaus.
- Don’t submit warranty cards. Most of the time, it’s unnecessary to have one on file to make a warranty claim. Most companies also use those cards to add you to mailing lists.
- When you move, update your address with the two above services because filing a permanent change of address form triggers junk mail. If possible, don’t fill out the form. Instead, email an address update to your friends and relatives and contact companies you do business with to change your address directly.
- It won’t stop junk mail, but also place yourself on the Do Not Call list or by calling 888.382.1222. It will stop most marketing calls, but remember that charities, political groups, and companies you’ve done business with in the last 18 months can still call you. If you’d like those calls to stop, ask to be removed from their list when they contact you.
- Some email advertisers have also agreed to use the Direct Marketing Association to avoid unwanted contact. Join the Email Preference Service to stop some junk email, but remember that most spammers don’t use it. Hitting those “remove me from your mailing list” buttons often result in you being placed on MORE lists, so you should only use them for stores you recognize.
- Return privacy notices. All your creditors are now required to send you an annual privacy notice. Many include a reply form in which you can indicate you preference. Be sure to send it back with the appropriate box marked.
- Don’t enter online sweepstakes. Most of those companies will harvest your information. If there’s a box instructing them not to send you offers, it may be safe, but don’t be surprised if new junk mail starts to arrive.
Now you may be wondering how stopping junk mail will save you money. It’s simple – you won’t be tempted by offers you receive in the mail. Most of the services who advertise by mail cost more than the services you could find yourself. If you are in need of a service, call and ask if they’re offering any specials. The answer will nearly always be “yes.”
You also won’t be tempted to use those convenience checks, and you won’t risk someone else using them to steal your identity.
I can’t wait to stop receiving junk mail. When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to getting the mail, but now that I’m an adult, it’s annoying to open a full box only to find a bunch of mail I have to recycle or shred. Just think of all the paper we would save, and the energy required to recycle it all, if we stopped junk mail altogether!