Unsubscribe: A Quick Way to Resist the Temptation to Spend

Each morning, I receive an email from Amazon.com inviting me to participate in their Deal of the Day – a low price offering only available for a short time. Most days I simply delete the email and move on.

Recently, I’ve been tempted by several of their deals. First, there was a complete collection of The Little Rascals. Then there was a 32GB memory card at a deep discount. I noticed it was becoming more and more difficult to resist the temptation to click “Add to Cart” and part ways with my money, so I unsubscribed.

In fact, over the last several weeks I have unsubscribed from a number of similar “Daily Deal” websites, paper catalogs, etc. When I receive a paper catalog in the mail, I call up the customer service number and ask that they remove me from their mailing list.

Yes, I may miss out on an occasional deal, but I’m OK with that. I am trying to be more intentional with my spending. When I need something, I will seek out coupons and deals, but I prefer not to receive a constant reminder to spend money in my inbox at 5:15am every day. It starts my day off on the wrong foot – especially when it is a no spend day!

To expand this exercise a bit, consider all the forms of advertisements we are faced with in a day. From billboards on the morning commute to internet ads to radio and television commercials to junk mail; the list could go on and on. It is becoming more and more difficult to insulate ourselves from the barrage of ads, but there are a few steps you can take.

Skip the Commercials

Our family doesn’t watch much television, but the programs we do watch are recorded on a DVR and played back minus commercials. I enjoy listening to talk radio during the day, but when commercials come on I find myself reaching for the mute button. I recognize people need to make a living selling ads, but I also recognize there are plenty of other willing participants.

Ad Filtering

A number of plug-ins exist for the most popular internet browsers available that work to suppress a variety of internet ads encountered on major websites.Simply Google “ad filtering” for a list of sites where you may download an add-on or plug-in compatible with your browser of choice.

Do Not Call Registration

I’ve noticed a big jump in the number of telemarketers contacting me via cell phone. Just a few years ago, this practice was unheard of, but with so many people now using their cell phone as their primary contact number, it seems the amount of cell numbers floating around marketing lists has increased significantly.

Register up to three phone numbers per email address at the national Do Not Call Registry.

Naturally, the best resistance to over spending is a strong frugal willpower. However, if you are like me, that willpower occasionally needs reinforcements. For that reason, I try to intentionally make it hard to overspend by removing temptation.


  1. It seems like I spend a significant amount of time every few days unsubscribing from offer emails that I forgot that I had subscribed to in the first place. One issue is that I can’t think of one thing that I have actually purchased because of one. Great post Jason!

  2. I also had to unsuscribe from Amazon’s deals. I was getting too tempted and as I’m still trying to get out of debt, I just pushed the unsuscribe button one day. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be–the world kept turning and all that good stuff!

  3. I should unsubscribe. Lately I’ve been getting sucked in to buying stuff just because it’s on Sale.
    Almost bought a coupon for posters even though I haven’t even put up the ones I already own.

  4. I’ve been on the Do Not Call Registry forever and make complaints as calls continue to come in. Seems doubtful that this helps but my cell phone Co. (Verizon) will allow up to 6 numbers to be blocked for free. My home phone (Century Link) also allows blocking but there is a fee.

  5. We went on a road trip over Christmas to visit a bunch of relatives. Inevitably, our 4-year old would watch TV and she was captivated by all of the cool stuff advertised on the commercials. At home we only have Netflix, so no commercials. “Daddy, when can we buy that?” became common. We had to have a long talk that had not been necessary because she had never seen commercials before.

  6. I subscribe to a number of these daily deal programs and I have a list of products and services I’m interested in. If there’s a match, I’ll consider it. If not, I delete the email and move on. To me, it’s empowering to decline the offer – it makes me feel that I’m in charge of my spending. I guess it’s just a matter of willpower

  7. I’m ok with the Amazon deal of the day and others like it… because I know that unless it is on my wish list tacked inside my kitchen cupboard door, and unless it has been on that list at least 6 months, I’m not even going to consider buying it 🙂 ….

    But – there are a few things on that list that I am waiting for superdeals on! The Nookcolor has been on my list since Nov 2010… and now I have decided that I would rather have the Nook tablet…. so still waiting on a good deal ! LOL ! Saved myself some money there!

  8. How does one stop spending money on things not needed?
    Some months I have extra money, but can’t seem to hold on to it.
    Actually it is not extra money because I have bills that I have to pay quarterly. Any suggestions on how to manage my money? I am also on a fixed income.
    I could make my bills when they come due but cannot seem to hold on to the money during the months when certain bills are not due. PLEASE HELP.

  9. While I haven’t had the Amazon Daily Deal temptation, I have found myself on a daily basis going to Amazon and checking my cart to see if any items I’ve put in there have changed to a lower price. It got so bad I felt forced to check it, even if I didn’t want to. I finally had enough and decided to delete my ENTIRE CART, all 200+ items. Amazon doesn’t make this easy and I had to do it 1 page at a time, but it was worth it, getting the feeling of relief I had after it was all empty. Now, I just add what I want, when I want it. It’s not for everyone, but it made me feel better.

  10. Granted being overly tempted on a daily basis isn’t good, but used with care signing up to useful mailing lists can be a really positive move.

    For the most frugal it’s an ideal way to get the latest and best deals on items that you need to buy anyway.
    And for those just looking to get the most relevant info there should always be the option to either unsubscribe totally or be put on a more limited mailing list.
    A weekly or monthly roundup is a fair compromise I find.