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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
52 WEEKS TO FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION - #27: Thieves in My Mailbox!

How annoying is it to pick up your daily mail, only to find that of it is junk mail (or as my friend Debbie in the business would correct me, "Direct Marketing Mail")?  Whatever you want to call it, I call it a thief:  It is a thief of my time because it makes me take the time to open it, read it, and shred it.  It is a thief of the natural resource of trees.  It is a thief of our tax dollars that pay to recycle it.  It is in collusion with thieves who steal it from our mailboxes and our trash and do illegal things with it.  And it is a thief of our personal finances when it entices us to buy things we really don't need.  (Sorry, Debbie.)
The good news is that we can at least reduce the number of these thieves, even though we won't eliminate them entirely.
Your Homework for This Week:
Write, call, or e-mail the organizations listed below to request to be removed from their mailing lists.  Be sure to include your name and complete address.  If other people in your household receive unwanted mail, repeat the process for them.
This is the granddaddy of the mail preference services.  Use it to stop credit offers, catalogs, magazines, and other mail offers.  You can add multiple versions of your name, too (your real first name, nickname, maiden name, married name, etc.).  There are also places on this website to eliminate mailings to deceased members of your household and for caregivers to eliminate mailings to elderly or disabled people for whom they provide care.
Use this link to be removed from RedPlum mailings.
E-mail Abacus to be removed from mail order catalog lists.
Call these numbers to request to be removed from pre-approved credit card offers.
Haines &Company, Inc.
Criss+Cross Directory
Attn:  Director of Data Processing
8050 Freedom Avenue NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Companies get your name and mailing address through reverse-lookup telephone directories.  Write to this company to request to be removed from their directories.  Be sure to include your phone number.
You're not likely to win it anyway, so e-mail Publishers Clearinghouse to request that they stop sending you their sweepstakes entry forms.
Ditto for Readers Digest sweepstakes entry forms.
E-mail them to request to be dropped from the mailing lists they sell.
Ditto for Donnelly Marketing.  Request that they remove you from the lists they sell.
More Defensive Tactics
Your own credit card companies may sell your name to other companies.  Call the customer service number on your credit cards and ask them to stop.
If you like to receive certain catalogs, call those companies directly and ask them not to sell your information to other catalog companies.
When you buy a new product, consider not returning the so-called "product registration" card.  Your warranty is still in effect if you don't register your product.  (The down side is that you will not receive recall notices if the product is recalled.)
When you move, don't have your mail forwarded to your new address by the post office.  Your junk mail will magically follow you to your new address.  Instead, change your address individually with your creditors, friends, etc.
Don't respond to consumer surveys.  You're just asking for more mail!
If you contribute to a charity, ask them not to sell or give your name to other charities.  If you receive solicitations from other charities, call them and ask how they obtained your name.  Then call the company or organization that provided your name and ask them to discontinue doing so in the future.

posted on: 8/16/2009 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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Minimizing Financial Clutter

by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

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