Skinny Mailbox, Fat Wallet

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Welcome to part two of RESTART 2012, a painless four-part financial scrub-down that will have you in fighting shape before you can say “FICO.” You can read part one here.

Want to control spending? Get a grip on your mail. Three-quarters of Americans say they’ve made purchases based on a direct mail solicitation—nearly 60% for email, one study found.

To hang onto your cash, pare down your inboxes. Obey the two-minute rule from David Allen’s legendary book Getting Things Done: If a task will take less than two minutes, do it now:

Step 1: Stop the paper trail.

  • Catalogs & charities: There’s a phone number in that catalog or envelope you’re about to toss. In less than 2 minutes, a rep can take you off the mailing list forever
  • Credit & insurance offers: Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or go to
  • Banks: Call the 800-number on the backs of your cards and state that you no longer want to receive marketing mail from them or their partners

Step 2: Keep your inbox invite-only. You know how to unsubscribe. Keep the best (ahem, a certain daily finance BFF and other life-enhancers), lose the rest

Great escapes. What are the sneaky spending traps in your life?

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