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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Opt Out Completely...It Actually Works!

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Opt Out Completely...It Actually Works!

About ten months ago, my mailbox was overflowing with junk mostly...well, there were some bills and a few nice letters and cards, but for the most part, it was just junk that went directly into the trash. After awhile, I resented having to go through the pile. Not to mention, I didn't like getting all these credit card offers. I finally took some steps to try to eradicate the crap, and you know what? The other day, I realized that I hadn't gotten any significant (or should I say un-significant) junk mail in a long time! I might get one or two pieces of junk a week...but that's it! Let me tell you how I did it.

Carefully follow these steps, and you'll get rid of your junk mail too. Some of the steps might be tedious, but you will only have to do this pay attention.

  • Write up a list of all the companies you have to do business with (your phone company, credit cards you want to keep and the like). You are going to call each one and say that the only mailings you want from them are bills. Tell them you don't want all the inserts they stick in your bill either. They will actually comply (and are bound to do so by law)!
  • While you are on the phone with the company, tell them not to share your information with third parties. This will take you off the junk mailing lists they sell. When you first sign up with a company, always read the fineprint. There is sometimes a checkblock or a number or website you must check before having your information removed.
  • Print out this form and mail it to the Direct Marketing Association. Be sure to fill out the appropriate information such as your name and address (do it for your husband too). They even sent me a nice letter back saying that my information had been removed. Most legitimate companies are members of the DMA and therefore, cannot use your information. If you don't want to send something in the mail, you can use their online form (where they will charge you $1).
  • This next step is the most tedious. You are going to write each company below that maintains mailing lists, and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Be sure to give the information for you and your husband. Again, most of them sent me back a letter saying our names and information had been removed. These names and address came from the Junkbusters Guide to Reducing Junk. Feel free to use the form letters on their site.
    • Metromail Corp., Consumer Services, 901 West Bond, Lincoln, NE 68521 (1-800-228-4571, Ext. 4633)
    • Abacus Direct, PO Box 1478 Broomfield, CO 80038-1478 (1 800-518-4453 or 1 303-410-5294)
    • InfoUSA, Attn: Product Quality, PO Box 27347, Omaha NE 68127 (1 888-633-4402)
    • Donnelly Marketing, Inc., Data Base Operations, 416 S. Bell, Ames IA 50010 (1-515-382-5441)
    • The Polk Company Attention: Opt-Out Coordinator, The Polk Company, 26955 Northwestern Highway, Southfield MI 48034-8455 (1-800-873-7655)
  • To try to track who sent you that last piece of junkmail, whenever I request a catalog from a company I want to do business with, I like to add a new middle initial. This way, if you receive a new piece of junkmail, you at least know who the culprit is. Be sure to call them!
Do-it-yourself: Stop Junk Mail, Email and Phonecalls has even more interesting tips and tricks...some even I didn't know about!

What do you do to reduce your junkmail?

Read this article and other articles on personal finance at Advanced Personal Finance - Moving Beyond the Basics.

Update 9/20/2007: Another great tip to add here from Money Magazine October 2007, "always write 'no mailing lists' on product warranties or rebates you send in".

Clipart provided by GRSites



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually did the same steps, and you're right, it works!

August 30, 2007 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this post on your blog..this is really helpful..the post is so informative. :) Cheers!

December 12, 2007 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Alana said...

So DH and I are PCSing soon to Germany, and I thought I'd tackle this in advance of our move, trying to prevent possible identity theft potential. Anyways, that JunkBusters site you linked to is defunct, and I had to do some searching, but found this: which has all of the steps you list, plus more! Including steps for unwanted phonebooks, etc. Hopefully this is helpful for others who are trying to do this themselves.

Great site, great tips!

March 6, 2011 at 5:59 AM  
Blogger Alana said...

Trying to do this in advance of PCSing to Germany, but unfortunately that JunkBusters site is now defunct. Did some searching, and found this: which lists most of the steps you have, but some extra companies to email, how to opt out of phonebooks, etc. Hope this helps others!

Great site, thanks for all the tips!

March 6, 2011 at 6:03 AM  

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