Let’s cut right to the chase and give you the resources you need.
CatalogChoice.org is a website that enables you to get off of a number of common “junk mail” lists. If you receive a piece of junk mail you don’t want, you just log onto that site, find the person mailing it, and click a button. You’re removed from that mailing list.
DoNotCall.gov is the website of the National Do Not Call Registry, which is run by the federal government. Telemarketers are required to submit their lists to DoNotCall and their lists are scrubbed of any numbers of people who do not wish to be called with unsolicited telemarketing. All you have to do is put in your phone number.
Neither service is perfect, but they both work pretty well to reduce the amount of junk mail and junk phone calls that you receive.
So, why do this? How does this save you money or time?
Telemarketers eat up your time. The phone rings, you interrupt what you’re doing to answer it, and you hear a sales message that you really don’t want to hear. You hang up, and now you’re tasked with regaining your focus on whatever task you were working on. At best, this burns a minute of your time; if the telemarketer is clever, it takes much longer.
Junk mail eats up your time. I discussed this earlier this week. When you get junk mail, you have to deal with it, even if you don’t read it. You have to look at it, evaluate it, and dispose of it properly.
Telemarketers can potentially eat your money. Most of us hang up on telemarketers, but the simple fact is that they wouldn’t keep calling if it didn’t work at least sometimes. That means people listen, and sometimes people buy. If they never call, that opportunity never happens.
Junk mail can potentially eat your money. Similarly, most of us just toss junk mail, but they wouldn’t mail it if it didn’t work sometimes. If you never get that junk mail, you never have the opportunity to pay attention to it.
Now, I did mention that these services aren’t perfect. I signed up for both of them, yet I do occasionally still receive telemarketing calls and junk mail. However, the volume is drastically reduced, leading me to wholeheartedly recommend these tools.
If you see any junk mail or hear any telemarketers on any sort of regular basis, take a moment to sign up for these services, particularly the Do Not Call registry (as it’s really easy to sign up for). You’ll be glad you did.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.