Want to save money? It’s as easy as taking a closer look at what’s in your inbox. If you’ve ever bought anything online, your inbox is probably full of marketing emails promoting can’t-miss deals and one-day discounts. They constantly urge you to spend. But if you’re serious about saving, you need to remove them from your inbox for good — not just by deleting, but taking a hard pass and hitting “unsubscribe.”

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Overspending Online

I learned this lesson after spending way too much time on the retail site Overstock. Though it really does have good deals, the site’s marketing strategy feels like an ex-boyfriend who won’t stop texting.

It started when I bought a rug and bookcases over the summer. After that, it seemed like Overstock began emailing me every day. I’d click though the email just to check prices on stuff I was thinking about buying, like curtains or a heavy-duty hair dryer. Then I’d see the emails comparing those products and offering soon-expiring discounts implying that you need to act now.

Those discounts had me hooked — even the small ones. I’d browse room dividers all morning for a mere 15 percent in “savings.” In the long run, the discounts cost me more than they saved. The only way to stop overspending was to end the craziness. To unsubscribe from the emails.

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Why Unsubscribe From Emails?

It will feel like a bummer at first because the notices are from brands or retailers you like. Naturally you want to know what’s on sale and what’s new. The problem is that if you’re already a fan, you’ll probably buy more stuff, whether you need it or not.

You may tell yourself that you’re an educated consumer who’s merely comparing prices and not falling for a sales pitch. But even that can waste your time and push you even deeper into the danger zone.

Click through that one “deal” email from your preferred airline or travel site, and the internet will never forget that you once considered going to Bermuda.

You’ll probably be bombarded with pop-up ads for weeks. (If you really want to stop the madness, install the pop-up ad blockers on your browser.)

How to Save Money When You Actually Need Something

The day will come when you really do want to buy something. That’s the time to do price comparisons and hunt for deals, even if it means signing up and accepting marketing emails. It won’t take long for deals to find you.

That’s also the time when “cookies” — those bits of data that remember your searches — can be used to your advantage. Put an item in your cart, then leave it there and see what happens. Miraculously, another discount is likely to appear in your email, enticing you to take the final step and purchase the item.

A 15-percent discount instead of a 10-percent one is a sweetener if you use it on something you need. But 15 percent off of something you don’t need is counterproductive.

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The key is that once you turn over your hard-earned money, you get back in there and unsubscribe from emails again. That said, take care when you unsubscribe from emails that are clearly spam. If you see repeat emails that look suspicious or you never signed up for, report them as spam. You should also avoid giving your email address out when possible.

Ultimately, with fewer emails coming in, you’ll be able to see the important notes faster. Plus, you’ll spend less time clearing the clutter. When you need more toothpaste, you’ll know. You don't need online drugstores to remind you.