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De-junk mail: Save time, save trees

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Junk mail's one of those things that annoys people on a daily basis -- but seems unpreventable all the same. Those supermarket flyers fill up our mailboxes week after week, and for most, the unwanted mail seems like an uncontrollable influx --

What's worse -- I know a good chunk of you have 1 or 2 pieces of said junk mail you want to keep coming, whether it be the car wash coupon in the "ShopWise" envelope or the cheap dry cleaning deal in the "Local Community Values" packet. But don't let that keep you from taking de-junking steps to stymie the avalanche of idiocy you have to sort through everyday! Here's how can you stop the Vons and Sav-On crap while staying your penny-pinching course:

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First, get rid of the credit card offers -- online for free. Even if you wanna keep your options open, you can just research your options if and when you decide you need another credit card instead of dealing with all the paper crap in the meantime. Trust me -- You'll get better deals online than on paper. If you're still queasy, you have the option opt out for just 5 years, though bye-bye forever's the option I took --

Then get off the Direct Marketing Association's list -- free if you mail in the form, or a buck if you do it online. No, this step won't stop the Val-Pak or ShopWise or any of the other local coupon packets, if you wanna keep those. What you will stop is the totally random junk mail that seemed to come outta nowhere. Give it a few months to kick in though -- DMA's kinda slow.

Now, if you're ready, ditch the local coupon lists -- Val-Pak, ShopWise, Pennysaver (call 800.422.4116), Local Community Values (call 626.472.5377), and Money Mailer. Yes, you do actually have to contact all of 'em separately to get off their lists -- but hey, at least you have me to link you to their de-listing pages.

At this point, you can say bye-bye the individual stuff, whether it's J.Crew or Dell or LensCrafters (email or Bed Bath and Beyond (call 800.462.3966) or whoever. For most, it's easiest to call the customer service line, then wait to get hold of an actual person who can take your name off the list.

If you're really pissed off 'bout junk mail, you can sign on to New American Dream’s “Declare Your Independence from Junk Mail” page. And if you really want off the lists but the above seems way too time consuming for you, pay companies like Green Dimes or 41pounds to do the de-junk-mailing dirty work for you.