Many stores these days, both online and brick-and-mortar, will ask for your e-mail address when you make your purchases. In these days of overloaded inboxes it may seem odd to encourage companies to send you “junk mail”, but the way I look at it, it ain’t junk if it saves you money!

Many stores send out newsletters with tips and ideas as well as information on new products. They also often send reminders when they are having sales and sometimes even coupons or other special offers. I am signed up for e-mails from bookstores, photo websites, toy stores, travel sites, theme parks, hotels, specialty stores, local theaters and Ticketmaster (oh, and I highly recommend signing up for the Friendly’s coupon mailing list as well. I think it may have saved us $10,000 this year alone!).

In general privacy advocates needn’t worry too much – most big name companies have privacy policies in place where they will not sell your personal info to other companies, and a few well designed e-mail filters can easily separate out the “useful” junk from the “real” junk.

If only my real mailbox’s junk mail was as easy to manage!