Money-Saving Deals Lead to Money-Spending Addiction

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Dressed for Success at Art.comOne of the last bastions I’ll need to face in my dream of mastering my personal finance mastery is my inbox full of money-saving deals.

These are deals I’ve subscribed to or that get offered to me because I’m such a good customer. Here are a few of my favorite things weaknesses.

Discounted Mac Software Deals

I got addicted to these about 2 years ago. They are such a deal! Some of them offer me ten great Mac software packages for the price of one. Some of them offer me a today-only 30%-50% discount on individual programs. Mostly the software relates to productivity, to which I am especially addicted because I’m always aware that I’m about 1/3 as productive as I could be. (There’s an inverse relationship between one’s productivity and the number of productivity tools installed on one’s computer. Truth.)

Let me tell you, there are some exceedingly clever Mac programmers out there.

I’ve got programs that allow me to store notes and web clippings all in one place. If I want to save an image I like, it goes in there. If I want to save an idea for a post, it goes in there. If I have a pdf that I want to read later – it goes in there. The idea is to have a central location for all the flotsam and jetsam of computer life. But I don’t have a central location. I have four or five of them.

I’ve got programs that allow me to tag my files and just throw them in one big folder, then search for them by tag. I’m liberated from the rigid, linear, top-down nested file hierarchy common to most computers. I like this concept so well that I have three programs that do this. That I can think of on the spur of the moment.

I’ve got note-taking programs that peg audio, video, and PowerPoint slides to notes as they’re being taken. Later, if I remember part of what someone said but not the important details, I can go to that place in my notes, click on it, and it will play back exactly what was said. This is an especially nifty feature for someone who spends most of her professional life talking on the phone to clients and colleagues, and most of her private life in online classes, listening to recorded lectures. It’s so nifty that I have two of them. No, wait. I just thought of a third one.

Do PC users get seduced like this? Or is it just a Cult of Mac thing? (Or is it just me?)

Discounted Audible Recorded Books

I’ve been an Audible subscriber for years, and a couple of times a year I get seductive e-mails advertising a one day sale. Lately I’ve been getting deal-0f-the-day e-mails.

These are hard to resist because (1) reading is a virtue and (2) I love recorded books. They save me from boredom when I’m doing chores. Folding the laundry proceeds in a flash while my mind is busy with the book in my ear. Costco is a haven much like story time at the library (back in the day). I can shop for an hour, stand in the checkout line for 45 minutes, hang around the food court waiting for my pizza for another 15 minutes, and follow the slow procession through security out to the parking lot, all the while listening to a great book. It’s downright painless.

I also love that audio books allow me to indulge in two passions at once. Knitting goes extremely well with audio books. (I do know knitters who can knit while reading, but this is a supernatural skill that I’m sure I’ll never possess.) The time-consuming parts of cooking, like stirring polenta, shelling fava beans, and sweating onions can also be combined with listening to a book. Double your pleasure, double your fun!


Netflix. HuluPlus. HootSuite. Scribe. Audible. Amazon Prime, for heaven’s sake. So many seemingly small monthly subscriptions add up to a chunk of change.

I’m not giving you links, because that would make me a pusher.

Going Cold Turkey? Aargh.

Andrea Woroch of sent over an e-mail on just this topic. She calls it “daily deal addiction.”Andrea makes some sensible suggestions, like cutting down on subscriptions, choosing deals wisely, and setting rules.

It’s a measure of my addictive personality that few of these suggestions seem realistic to me.

How could I possibly choose which subscriptions to eliminate? I love them all. This feels the same as the advice to overweight people to cut one poor eating choice from their panoply of poor eating choices. But which one? The oreos? The animal fries? The full-fat mascarpone on my morning toasted pound cake? Too hard.

Setting rules? If I could do that, I wouldn’t be doing this. An addict specializes in making “obvious” exceptions to rules. “I don’t need any of these software programs, but someday I might, and look at this price! $24.95 for a bundle worth $250. It would be dumb not to make an exception for this.”

Go Halvsies with Friends? So it’s not good enough that I’m buying something I don’t need – now I’m supposed to enlist a friend to do it too?

But Andrea has one rule that does make sense. Go cold turkey. “Consider unsubscribing entirely ,” she writes, “and get back in tune with your real needs. You’ll likely find they’re much less expensive.”

That’s how addicts have to do it. Admit we have a problem we can’t control, and take the bold step of cutting it out of our lives and turning it over to our higher power.

Unsub. It is the way forward.

How about you, World of Dreamers? What addictive pleasures find their way into your e-mail inbox every day? Leave a confession in the box below.



  • I was trying to think what my habit is, and it’s buying fresh produce from farmers market. I absolutely love it. Another one is my garden. If I am not careful, a great deal of money can be lost there, even though it soothes me.

    I’m not addicted to any online spending, but I could over books, but then I always want to go sit in a bookstore and experience the book before I buy it, so this saves me money.

    Great post.


  • Un-sub! That will be a word one day! I would be happy to go halves any time with you — great post. xo Rem