- I love online shopping, but I haven't always loved its impact on my budget.
- It's a terrible idea to buy something you don't actually need just because you have a coupon for it.
- The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 required businesses to allow consumers to easily opt out of receiving future email communications from them.
It's an easy way to help you save money if you're struggling.
I don't know about you, but I get marketing emails every single day. I'm a big fan of online shopping, and many of the companies I've done business with have continued emailing me after our transaction has ended. I don't always mind this, though; I get to find out about new products as they come out, and if I decide to buy, I can usually find a coupon code and sometimes get other perks, like free shipping. These deals can be fantastic -- if I am actively choosing to spend money.
Here's why you may want to evaluate the psychological effect of marketing emails, and potentially unsubscribe from them.
Buying something you don't need or want just because you have a coupon: BROKE
I have definitely fallen prey to the siren song of an email marketing come-on and bought something I didn't really need or want. "This week only, buy this product, save 15%!" "Spend $X, get free shipping today!" These emails are crafted by talented marketers who are adept at getting you to open the email, based on the subject line. And once the email is open, you might just take out your credit card.
Coupons can be dangerous to your bottom line, because they encourage consumers to shop, and often to spend even more money. For example, if you buy a pair of shoes for $50 just because you have a $20 off coupon, you didn't save $20. You spent $50 you wouldn't have spent without the coupon.
As I actively work to improve my financial knowledge, I'm getting much better at resisting. Financial literacy can really be learned at any age. Being more mindful of my shopping and money-spending habits is working wonders for my budget and my peace of mind.
Using a coupon to save money on something you need or want: WOKE
On the flip side, receiving email marketing communications can sometimes come in handy for my wallet. I believe in shopping wisely and trying to save money when I can. I comparison-shop, and having an existing relationship with some online retailers means I sometimes hear about deals and sales without having to search for them.
For example, one of the food delivery apps I use has started expanding into retail delivery as well, and I recently got an email stating that I could save $20 on my first order from a local pet supply store. Well, I have three cats, and while they bring me joy every single day, they also cost me a fair amount of money in food, supplies, toys, and veterinary care. It just so happened that I needed cat food, and not only did I get $50 worth of cat food for $30, it was delivered right to my door. That's what I call a coupon win.
You have the right to unsubscribe
Congress enacted the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) nearly 20 years ago, in 2003. This law prohibits the use of deceptive information (including subject lines) in email marketing communications, and also requires that these messages have a place where the recipient can opt out of receiving them in the future.
So, if you're struggling to resist marketing pitches, or just want to cut down on the flood of emails clogging your inbox, start opening marketing emails you no longer want to receive, scroll all the way to the bottom, and hit "unsubscribe." Your bank account will thank you.
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