Author Topic: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?  (Read 6374 times)

AgentCooper

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Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« on: November 24, 2015, 12:52:56 PM »
The vast majority of mail we receive (in our rural driveway mailbox) consists of unwanted advertisements (see:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/11/09/grim-comedy-from-mr-money-mustaches-junkmail/).  We get ads for cell phone service, internet, paid TV, low-price but crappy furniture, inground swimming pools, toys, clothes, etc.  Some of it is our own fault - for instance, we bought a mail-order cast iron waffle maker and now the seller stuffs our mailbox with a new catalog every month or two.  We cashed in some points for two free magazine subscriptions, but now realize that the magazines are about 95% advertisements -- and worse, advertisements for things I really don't want to have advertised to my children (e.g., make-up, fashion).  We already severely limit TV viewing, and only permit it when it is a scheduled program, as in, something specific that we know we want to see at a certain time, as opposed to just turning it on to see if anything good is on TV.

Some of the mail is the result of our names and addresses being sold - f'instance, days after applying for car insurance through 21st Century (we didn't buy it), we started getting new junk mail from companies we'd never heard of.  Shortly after getting a health insurance quote, strange paper ads started appearing in our mailbox once a week directing my 7-year-old son to buy diamond ring(s) for his wife (the ads list his name, and my wife's name, on the concept art for engraved rings -- "Mini AgentCooper, now is the time to buy Mrs. AgentCooper the diamond ring that shows you'll love her forever!").

Anyway, to reduce the amount of consumerist messages being dumped at our doorstep daily, I'm thinking:  why can't I just take down my mailbox?  Then what?  Anybody disconnected themselves from the US Mail?  Anybody got a great reason why I shouldn't? 

« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 12:54:46 PM by AgentCooper »

hops

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 01:07:48 PM »
Didn't Kramer try this on Seinfeld? Because I pass both my trash and recycling bins on the way into the house after retrieving the mail, it's easy to immediately dispose of the junk and not give it a second thought. Anything that might contain sensitive information goes inside and is shredded. Most of my mail is unnecessary, but there are some things (like birthday cards from elderly relatives, personal property tax declarations or jury duty notices) that I can't receive any other way.

Even the junk mail is useful sometimes: around the holidays when Penney's and Kohl's send out $10 vouchers, I make the $10 minimum purchase and never have to pay more than a few cents out of pocket for bath mats, wrapping paper or kitchen towels.

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2015, 01:09:19 PM »
Yep, Kramer tried it.
Convinced me not to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hox-ni8geIw

ROY2007

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2015, 01:14:42 PM »
https://www.paperkarma.com/

This app has decreased the amount of junk mail we receive by about 80-90%. Snap a picture of the address label, hit submit, done.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2015, 01:33:25 PM »
It might not still be true, but the IRS used to primarily communicate "hey, you owe us $$$$" via snail mail. I recall "we will not initially contact you via phone" as one way to weed out the spam crap.

 I'm sure you could route that to online but the Feds do like a paper trail.

I've lived rural or in a resort that had no house delivery for so long I'm used to just going the post office, going through it there, and only bringing home what I want and/or what burns nice in the woodstove.


Spork

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2015, 01:40:50 PM »
This helps.  That's the trade association for the people sending you crap.  Opting out mostly works.

We have, for a while, gotten rid of house delivery and rented a PO box -- though I realize that's not exactly what you're asking.  When we did it originally, we were living between 2 houses in 2 cities and needed a place to park mail.  Also our rural mail was awful and untrustworthy.

I will say PO boxes are a bit of a PITA.  They more than doubled in price between 2005ish and 2010ish.  There are some that won't deliver to POBoxes.  And those that do ... you have to get to the Post Office when it's open to retrieve your package (and they were pretty awful about notifying that there was one, so you have to track each one of them.)

Eventually we moved our POBox back to the curb for cost savings and convenience.  Our rural delivery is better than it was ... but still not stellar.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2015, 01:41:28 PM »
If you freeze your credit, you will get less junk mail.  The banks you have credit cards with will still send you crap, but most others won't.

shadowmoss

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2015, 01:43:42 PM »
I use a UPS Store mailbox for my official USPS address.  It is over near work, and I stop and get my mail about once a week.  Very few times having a mailing address different from my actual geographical address is a problem.  Even for my drivers license and car tags they use my UPS Store address.  It reads like a normal address, not a PO Box.

When I move, I don't have to change my address.  Also, all those 'get a map to the listed address' do not send anyone to my actual front door if someone were to try and find me from something listed online.

This could help keeping stuff from actually making it home if you sort it before taking it home.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 01:45:44 PM by shadowmoss »

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2015, 02:58:29 PM »
I wish I could do this as well.  I had a PO box once but that was even worse as I had to go to the PO once a week, even though I knew I didn't have any real mail, just to empty out the junk mail or it would fill the box up.  So that was more work that just having it all come directly to my house every day.  Doing the opt-out stuff like paperkarma works for a while, but you have to do it for everyone in the house, and maybe everyone that used to live at that address if you can, as I get more than a little junk mail for previous tenants of my apartment still.

It's all a huge annoying PITA (and waste) for minimal benefit for sure.

reader2580

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2015, 03:06:16 PM »
I still get enough"good" postal mail that I could never stop mail delivery 100%.  Government likes to communicate most everything via postal mail.  My insurance company does most everything via postal mail.  I just got my yearly insurance renewal via my mail box.  (Yes, I could probably find an insurance company that does everything electronically, but price and service are more important than how they communicate with me.)

Governments in many European countries do most everything online.  In some countries even taxes can be filed online at no cost.

Rural

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2015, 06:18:30 PM »
 We've been without home mail delivery for years now. We do rent a PO Box in town, one of the smallest ones, and it runs us 60 something dollars every six months. There's not a problem with having to go in when this post office is open; our small rural post office is unlocked at all times.  Any packages get put in package lockers and the locker key gets put in our box.


 There are a few things that we can't get delivered this way, but for us, we wouldn't have been able to get them anyway. We lost so much mail before we finally took down the box I think the local methheads were digging through it. So, any mail we got, we didn't get anyway.


 It's worked well for us. About once a week I go to the grocery store, the post office, and sometimes the drugstore, bank, or library. Those are all in town. Folks greet me by name when I walk into all of the above, too. It's not so bad.

arebelspy

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2015, 01:40:19 AM »
Having no home address, being a nomad on the road, I use travelingmailbox.com

They scan in the outside of all pieces of mail that comes in, email me, and I can have them open and scan it, or shred it.  You can also have them forward it somewhere.

I deal with all my mail online now, no physically checking anything.

I forwarded one set of things (checks, and our renewed driver's licenses) to my parents to deposit and hold on to, respectively.
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ozbeach

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2015, 02:46:22 AM »
Here in Australia a lot of companies (maybe most) charge $2 to $5 extra to receive bills in the post vs being emailed.

I have been living in my current house for a year now. In that time I have assiduously "Return to Sender" all the mail and junk catalogs that previous tenants received and now I would be lucky to get one piece of mail a quarter.

The postal service here is government run, and they are looking at increasing the cost of stamps, reducing the frequency of delivery from daily down to two or three times a week, slowing the delivery of "standard" mail etc. The writing is clearly on the wall.

Greg

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2015, 02:19:04 PM »
Yes, you can just take down your mailbox.  The post office prefers you don't, and may try to convince to have one, but it's not law that you do.  If it were me, I'd send them a letter saying that you're doing it and that way they won't hold mail for you thinking it's a temporary thing.

You should keep an address marker for emergency services though.

I remember when I moved to my current location in the country, it was undeveloped land and so we didn't have a mailbox.  Eventually we put one in and after a day or two got a bunch of mail that was on "hold for mailbox".

The USPS likes to use the mailbox for small packages, but large ones that don't fit anyway they bring to our door (long driveway) and other delivery services aren't technically allowed to use the USPS box.  I say go for it.

But, if you do online shopping or similar things that almost always come via mail, you may lose packages.  Theoretically they'd be held at the post office under general delivery, but then you're depending on the postal folks doing things they don't like or usually do, which introduces risk.

Rural

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2015, 02:45:10 PM »
Yes, you can just take down your mailbox.  The post office prefers you don't, and may try to convince to have one, but it's not law that you do.  If it were me, I'd send them a letter saying that you're doing it and that way they won't hold mail for you thinking it's a temporary thing.



Ours didn't seem to mind. I went in and told the postmaster about the trouble we'd been having with mail going missing and that the box had been knocked over by a gravel truck the day before (true), and did she mind if we just left it down. She agreed it sounded like the best idea and handed me a change of address to forward everything to the PO box (I don't recall how long we had both, but it wasn't long).


Have meant to put up a address marker for years, but no fire truck or ambulance could pull our road anyway. Besides, I know the county fire trucks don't carry enough hose because they couldn't reach a forest fire halfway up one time, and I know the forestry service fire gear can and will manage our road because they did that same time, so we may never do it. (They don't need address markers because they use spotter planes, not 911 calls).
« Last Edit: November 26, 2015, 02:46:56 PM by Rural »

Jouer

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2015, 02:56:53 PM »
Quote
In some countries even taxes can be filed online at no cost.

Wait? You can't file your taxes online in the States? I've been doing it for years in Canada.

Are there at least on-line calculators/forms to do your calculations for you and then you print it off and mail it? Or are you stuck with pencil and calculator?

BlueMR2

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2015, 05:10:24 PM »
Quote
In some countries even taxes can be filed online at no cost.

Wait? You can't file your taxes online in the States? I've been doing it for years in Canada.

Are there at least on-line calculators/forms to do your calculations for you and then you print it off and mail it? Or are you stuck with pencil and calculator?

EZ form is free.  Beyond that you have to pay.  It's cheaper to pay them via mail...  And yeah, mine are done in pencil with a calculator each year...

Convenience fee I guess.  Like my gas and electric bills.  It's cheaper to have them mail me a bill and pay postage with a check enclosed.  There's a "processing fee" that you get nailed with if you have them auto-paid...

Cpa Cat

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2015, 06:30:31 PM »
Quote
In some countries even taxes can be filed online at no cost.

Wait? You can't file your taxes online in the States? I've been doing it for years in Canada.

Are there at least on-line calculators/forms to do your calculations for you and then you print it off and mail it? Or are you stuck with pencil and calculator?

The IRS approves only certain services/companies for E-filing. So anyone who buys Turbo Tax, or hires a CPA who uses professional tax software, will E-file most returns. But it's not quite an "online" service and it's not open access to the public.

Individual states are much further ahead than the IRS with online services.

It is commonly rumored that technology at the IRS is 10-15 years behind normal technology. But another challenge is that the IRS simply doesn't have the funding or expertise to defend online services against hackers. Anything they attempt to put online is a beacon for nefarious activity.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2015, 01:43:45 AM »
Quote
In some countries even taxes can be filed online at no cost.

Wait? You can't file your taxes online in the States? I've been doing it for years in Canada.

Are there at least on-line calculators/forms to do your calculations for you and then you print it off and mail it? Or are you stuck with pencil and calculator?

EZ form is free.  Beyond that you have to pay.  It's cheaper to pay them via mail...  And yeah, mine are done in pencil with a calculator each year...

Convenience fee I guess.  Like my gas and electric bills.  It's cheaper to have them mail me a bill and pay postage with a check enclosed.  There's a "processing fee" that you get nailed with if you have them auto-paid...

Wow, you'd expect they'd want to actively discourage paying via check, it is 2015 after all. There'd have to be a massive added administrative burden of getting all of the checks cashed. I generally just log on to my internet banking and pay my bills online (or log into the utility's site and pay via credit card).

This year I even lodged my tax return with my smartphone.

I'd love to cut down the junk mail. I've got a habit of checking the mail in the letterbox and just leaving it there if there's nothing useful. I might need to get a 'No Junk Mail' sticker for the letterbox, but I don't know if I can do that on a rental. :)

johnny847

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2015, 06:24:58 AM »
Quote
In some countries even taxes can be filed online at no cost.

Wait? You can't file your taxes online in the States? I've been doing it for years in Canada.

Are there at least on-line calculators/forms to do your calculations for you and then you print it off and mail it? Or are you stuck with pencil and calculator?

EZ form is free.  Beyond that you have to pay.  It's cheaper to pay them via mail...  And yeah, mine are done in pencil with a calculator each year...

Convenience fee I guess.  Like my gas and electric bills.  It's cheaper to have them mail me a bill and pay postage with a check enclosed.  There's a "processing fee" that you get nailed with if you have them auto-paid...

Nope. Free fillable forms is free for everyone to use and cam be submitted online. I've done it before.

jengod

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2015, 03:22:09 PM »
Use optoutprescreen.com to block credit card offers. Banks you already deal with can still send you offers, but others cannot.


BlueMR2

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2015, 07:21:04 AM »
Nope. Free fillable forms is free for everyone to use and cam be submitted online. I've done it before.

I tried to use that.  I only found the EZ version of returns though.  Could not find all the forms I needed.

johnny847

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2015, 08:52:23 AM »
Nope. Free fillable forms is free for everyone to use and cam be submitted online. I've done it before.

I tried to use that.  I only found the EZ version of returns though.  Could not find all the forms I needed.

I can't show it to you now because it's shut down for the year (it will be back up early next year) but I have personally electronically filed using the full 1040, schedule B, schedule D, and Form 8888. I guarantee you it has been there in the past, and almost certainly will be again.

From the IRS website:
Quote
HELPFUL LINKS AND INFORMATION

    Prepare and E-File your 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040 for free.
    For the best experience, make sure you are using an updated browser.
    Don't forget to Add your W-2s and 1099-Rs in Step 2, E-File Your Tax Forms.
    What's the Right Form 1040 for Me? 
    Need help activating E-File Now?
    All accounts are deleted from this program after October 20, each year.


[Emphasis added]

reader2580

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2015, 10:49:31 AM »
The free fillable forms are still on the IRS website, but you can't actually submit a form right now as the function is turned off until January.  I had never heard of these free fillable forms until this thread.  I was aware of the free filing software for those under $60,000 income.

For the past several years I have gotten the H&R Block tax software free or substantially discounted so I use that.

Jouer

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2015, 03:40:57 PM »
Quote
EZ form is free.  Beyond that you have to pay.  It's cheaper to pay them via mail...  And yeah, mine are done in pencil with a calculator each year...

Convenience fee I guess.  Like my gas and electric bills.  It's cheaper to have them mail me a bill and pay postage with a check enclosed.  There's a "processing fee" that you get nailed with if you have them auto-paid...

Ok, so there online options. Good. Everyone isn't like Homer Simpson putting tape around an envelope and throwing it into a mail pile.  ;-)

In Canada, we get charged extra for mail options, especially from telecommunications companies. Everything is paid online, if we wish. I'm sure some 20-somethings don't even know how to write a cheque these days. And why would they?

Jack

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Re: Anybody turned off their snail mail delivery service?
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2015, 06:30:51 PM »
Keep in mind that the IRS could have a first-party online tax filing system just as easily as any other first-world country. The reason it doesn't is that TurboTax spends tens of millions of dollars lobbying against it, and because we live in a fucking oligarchy instead of democracy, the lobbying works.