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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is your email inbox sabotaging your budget?

"Are these deals a blessing - the internet's way of giving you good prices on lots of things you want? Or are they a curse, tempting you to blow your budget every single day?"

You signed up to receive email updates at your favorite store so you could get special offers and coupons as a way to save money, especially since you'll probably be shopping there anyway. Then you signed up for another store's coupons. And one of those daily deals' deals was too good to pass up, so you signed up for that one, too.

You're not exactly sure how or when, but over the course of time your inbox has become deal central - everyday you open your email to find awesome offers and discounts.

Do these offers look familiar?

$200 off a TVsave $200 on a TV at Best Buy

save $450 on teeth whitening$500 teeth whitening for $49 at Groupon


50% off bedding and bath50% off bedding and bath at Overstock


Reduced entry fees for mud run and spartan raceReduced entry fees for Mud Runs and Spartan Races from LivingSocial


30% off online shopping30% off at Banana Republic


$79 4-handed massage$79 for a 4-handed massage or couples massage at Groupon



Are these deals a blessing - the internet's way of giving you good prices on lots of things you want? Or are they a curse, tempting you to blow your budget every single day?

The answer depends on you, and your ability to control your spending urges. Which type of deal seeker / budget breaker are you?

Fixed "Deal Budget" - maybe you have a specific amount set aside each month that you allow yourself to spend on whatever catches your eye. As long as you spend less than that amount, the hunt for your favorite deal can be fun.

Part of your Overall Budget - if you include each of these great deals as money spent against your overall budget, and your overall budget is in the black, then you're fine. Keep keeping track, and have fun shopping.

Not Exactly Sure - for those of you struggling to make ends meet, or wondering why you're not growing your savings as much as you'd like, this might be one place to look. You might be happy with yourself for finding a great deal, but at the same time the net result of any deal you find is you actually spending money.

Keep in mind that $200 off a $500 item still costs $300, and 40% off a $60 item will run you $36. All those savings might be costing you a ton of money!

If this sounds like you, the solution may be as simple as clicking that "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email, and stop temptation right at the source.

Sure, you might miss out on a great opportunity for half price hang gliding or $49 bed sheets, but you just saved yourself a couple hundred bucks by not buying them! And when you really need new bed sheets, you can still search for a great sale or another coupon, and you'll have more money saved to buy them.

- Chris Butterworth

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