When Junk Mail Pays

no junk mail

Who doesn’t hate the clutter of junk mail that comes via snail mail? Someone’s always advertising something and it just seems to pile up in your garbage can. I’ve personally done virtually all I can to eliminate junk mail from my physical mailbox, but when it comes to my e-mail inbox, that’s a different story. I actually sign up for advertising mailing lists. Why would I do this? Because it actually pays. This kind of junk e-mail pays because it often results in discounts that I wouldn’t have received otherwise. I will go to the websites of stores and restaurants that I frequent often (or would like to frequent) and sign up for their e-mail list in hopes of getting word of some great deals they may offer in the future. Here are a few of the discounts I’ve received lately that have come to me via an e-mail advertisement.

Restaurants: My husband and I enjoy going to Red Lobster, but with meals at prices a little higher than your average down-the-street restaurant, every discount helps. Occasionally Red Lobster will send out coupons to people on their e-mail list to encourage more people to dine. Since I had to enter by birthday when I signed up for the mailing list, I got a special coupon to use just for my birthday timeframe.

I’ve also gotten e-mails about special deals at places like TGI Fridays when they had their special on 3 course meals starting at only $12.99. Just recently I received a holiday time coupon for $5 off of a $20 purchase there. A 25% discount on dinner? I’m there!

Fast Food/Convenience Food: If you sign up for KFC’s e-mail list, they will e-mail you new coupons every month. You can also sign up for any of the pizza chain’s e-mail lists and they will send you their current pizza specials. Everyone knows that pizza places always have some sort of meal deal going on that you can get for less than regular price so why not be the first to know about them?

My favorite e-mail list to be on for convenience foods is Cold Stone Creamery. I am an ice cream fanatic and Cold Stone has to be one of my favorite places to go. For such good ice cream it’s no wonder that an ice cream concoction starts off at about $4. Every few months however, they will send out a coupon for “buy one get one free” meaning my husband and I can each get one for and pay less than $5 (we don’t ever share because we can’t agree on a flavor). And when you sign up for Cold Stone’s e-mail list, you are entered into their “birthday club” meaning each year on your birthday you receive a coupon for a free ice cream creation – no purchase required. Cold Stone gets me the best present every year.

Store Specials: Stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Sears are part of my regular shopping regimen. They usually have pretty good prices, but it gets even better when they have sales or special deals. That’s why I want to be the first to know about it. If any of these stores has a promotion of free shipping from their website, they’ll send you an e-mail about if you are on their list. If they are having a huge blow out sale, you’ll know about it.

My favorite ones are the special “secret” sales. Sears recently had a “friends and family night” where they were open on a Sunday evening from 6pm -10pm and only “friends and family” (i.e. those who got the e-mail) knew about it. The special was that everything in the store was an additional 10% off of all regular, sale and clearance prices. I almost bought all new appliances because all Kenmore appliances were already 20% off, with an additional 10% on top of that. Then my husband reminded me that we hadn’t budgeted for new appliances at that point in time. But I did end up getting a 2G memory card for my digital camera for less than $10 with the combined discount and sale price.

Other stores I get e-mails from are Bath and Body Works, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Amazon.com, Linens and Things, and many more.

Travel Sites: I like to travel, but I also like to save money doing so. I’ve signed up for mailing lists with websites like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Sherman’s Travel, and other various travel booking companies. I regularly receive e-mails about special last minute travel deals and sales, and many times the e-mail is tailored to my specific area or flights from my home airport. I really like Travelocity because you can create a profile and pick your top 5 flight destinations and they will track the prices for you and send you an e-mail when any of those fares goes down.

The nice thing about junk e-mail vs. junk snail mail is that it’s easier to click delete if you aren’t interested at that time than to throw the physical mail away. It’s also easier to get yourself taken off the mailing list if you decide you are no longer interested in receiving their e-mails. Plus, you get to pick which companies you want to receive offers from. That way you only get info about stores and places you actually want to go to. It’s a great way for the savings to come straight to you.

Image courtesy of Simon Lieschke

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8 Responses to When Junk Mail Pays

  1. Christin says:

    I loved your email, another day I got a junk email from a Store called Finest Linens and Things and I found great deals for my son’s bedding.

    Very good advice, sometimes junkie email aren’t all the bad at all.

    Happy New Year,


  2. Raven says:

    I’ve learned to never throw junk mail away unopened. One day, I threw a fat envelope away, then something told me to fish it out of the recycling bin. Inside was a survey to complete… and a crisp new 5$ bill!

  3. Jim McMetz says:

    “we love Red Lobster but their prices are a little higher”. . .

    You people have NO TASTE OR CLASS at all, do you? Red Lobster is the McDonald’s of fish, that’s all. It isn’t a real restaurant.

    And Cold Stone?

    he rats are jumping from the ship as hundreds of Cold Stone locations are now collapsing around the US. Why? Because the “concept” of mixing stuff into ice cream has always been a fad, and the fad is now over. The product isn’t that good, is grossly overpriced, and consumers are flocking back to properly formulated ice cream from other chains like Baskin Robbins and Ben & Jerry’s.

    The Cold Stones have been largely sold to Yuppies with too much equity in their homes, who jumped into the stores to be “business owners”. But since the labor costs are double the competition, and stores are too big and too expensive to run, the number of unprofitable stores is skyrocketing with the results we have here.

  4. Skip says:

    Jim McMetz is smoking crack. First of all Red Lobster may not be a nice restuarant by any stretch but it’s definitely no “McDonald’s of fish”.

    “properly formulated ice cream…like Baskin and Robbins and Ben & Jerry’s”???!!


    You make dimwit seem like a good term. Cold Stone is good ice cream. Maybe they mix dog crap in for you when they see you coming or something, I don’t know. But it’s good where I live and if ice cream weren’t so unhealthy in general, I would go there quite often.

    “Ben & Jerry’s”….That’s so funny I about peed myself.

  5. Roy Shelingbarger says:

    Thought your article was very insightful. It was very interesting. Thank you for all of the helpful information.

  6. Jo says:

    Excellent advice. I love Junk mail!

  7. Andy Duncan says:

    This site is for people who need to get a life and a job instead of sucking down BonBons on the couch, mooching off their husbands hard earned cash. You people make me sick.

  8. OL' GIRL says:


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