This email trick will save you big on shopping
Nothing worse than digging through your emails looking for that coupon or freebie, knowing that you've probably deleted it. Especially when you're standing in the store or restaurant and have the immediate opportunity to use the email to save some cash. By creating a separate "shopping" email account, you'll never have this problem again, and you'll actually be able to save in ways you never thought possible. Here's how to make it happen. (See also: 101 Ways to Save Money on Clothes)
Why You Need a Separate Shopping-Only Email Address
Before I made the switch to a separate shopping email address, my email account probably looked like yours. I had very important personal emails buried between an email from Red Robin telling me I was eligible for a free burger on my kid's birthday, along with one from Banana Republic notifying me of a 40% off weekend coupon. All the emails were important to me on some level, but the mixing of them was an absolute nightmare that took a lot time to sort through. So by setting up a separate shopping-only email address, I was able to get all of my retailer, restaurant, and reward program emails out of my life, but still have them available when I needed them to save some money.
Pick the Right Email Account
I highly recommend setting up your new "shopping" email address with Gmail. Not only is it completely free, but it comes with ample storage and the search capabilities are stellar. Pick a username that you'll easily remember. I use my initials followed by the word "shop." You can obviously use what you want, but the key is to make it easy to remember. From now on, you'll be sharing this email address with every retailer, restaurant, and grocery store that you deal with.
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Update Subscriptions You've Already Joined
Next, you'll want to update all of your current email subscriptions from retailers, restaurants, and grocery stores to your new address. At the bottom of these emails should be a link to manage your subscription. Just click on that link and enter your new email address when prompted. This is also a great time to unsubscribe from any email subscriptions that you never use or won't in the future. This will take a little time to accomplish, but stay consistent with it and your personal email inbox will quickly start to get much cleaner, and easier to deal with.
Start Giving Out Your New Address
This is where having an easy to remember email address really pays off. Whenever a website or brick-and-mortar store asks for your email, give them your new shopping address. Also, whenever you sign up for a new loyalty or rewards program use your new address as well. As a matter of fact, sign up for any and all subscriptions that you might one day use.
After all, who really cares how many emails your new address gets? You're going to use the Gmail search feature and look for the exact deals and coupons that you need right now. Plus, you can guarantee that this new email address will get sold at some point and you'll get a healthy dose of spam — which is another great reason to set up a separate email account.
Create Labels for Your Favorite Places
I recommend setting up labels in Gmail for the stores and restaurants you frequent most often. A label works like a folder, but the cool part is you can add more than one label to any particular email message.
For example, let's say you get an email from Jamba Juice with a BOGO offer entitling you to a free smoothie when you buy one at the regular price. If you know this is something you'll take advantage of, you can attach two labels to it, one for Jamba Juice and one for BOGO offers. By attaching labels, you'll be able to quickly retrieve the email when you're standing in line at your local Jamba Juice about to score a free smoothie.
Start Using Paribus With Your New Address
Are you familiar with the online money-saving service called Paribus.co? It's a perfect fit for your new email address. Paribus works by linking to your email account. It then searches your inbox for receipts for online purchases. Specifically, it keeps track of your purchases at select retailers and looks for a price drop. If they find a drop, they'll actually contact the retailer on your behalf and get you a refund for the difference. Popular online retailers that Paribus currently works with include: Best Buy, Kohl's, Amazon, Staples, Target, and Walmart, to name a few.
The only catch is that Paribus keeps 25% of whatever money they get refunded on your behalf. Not a big deal when you consider that they do all of the work. The reason I like using Paribus with a shopping-specific email account is because you don't have to worry about giving Paribus access to your personal or work email account. While they claim to employ multi-level security, it's still smart to not grant them access to your private email box.
How do you organize emails that will save you money but don't want cluttering your inbox?