Some time ago, we here at Money Crashers published an article with advice on how to stop receiving so much junk mail. To avoid unwanted mail, you may utilize services like Catalog Choice online. I agree that it is prudent to prevent unsolicited mail, and I can even see the logic behind doing so, but… I actually enjoy receiving junk mail.
I’m also the type of man that, when they have the time, enjoys watching infomercials and patiently listening to the entire telemarketer’s pitch. Even if I haven’t given in to a telemarketer’s pitch or bought into an infomercial bargain, I appreciate listening to what they have to offer. My dad is the same way; he enjoys frustrating telemarketers by asking them questions about the product they can’t possibly answer. Perhaps it is due to some wacky genetic quirk.
Whatever the case may be, I find great pleasure in rummaging through my trash mail. Finding a pile of letters in the mailbox is always a pleasant surprise because I rarely receive any mail these days that isn’t junk mail. For two reasons—curiosity and the remote possibility of a good deal—I often peruse unsolicited letters.
One of the few types of junk mail I’m willing to open is Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes and similar contests that encourage me to make a purchase. Once upon a time, when I was a youngster, I would eagerly tear open these letters and spend hours poring over the various opportunities they presented. I’ve even used the address stamps they provided to decorate my space. Sadly, I no longer have any interest in PCH because it used to contain stickers and I no longer collect them like I did when I was a kid.
I despise junk mail that pretends to address an urgent matter just to get your attention. It may seem like a collection agency, an overdue bill, an audit notification, or any other official-looking document, but it’s all a hoax. For me, opening this type of junk mail is a frustrating waste of time that really gets me a little bit upset.
There are, however, four categories of junk mail that I never throw away without first perusing.
Credit Card Promotions
Many of you know that I enjoy receiving junk mail from credit card issuers because of the promotional 0% APR on debt transfers they provide. Although I seldom get a new credit card, I do like to check out the conditions and debt transfer fees that are being offered by other issuers.
The rewards of credit cards extend beyond only balance transfers. When you use a credit card, you may be eligible for a sign-up bonus or bonus cash back on certain types of transactions. Why not receive anything back if you’re going to buy it anyhow and can pay off the debt in full?
The best part of opening up a new bank account is discovering promos and offers hidden amid the trash mail. When I worked at a bank, I once received a bonus package valued about $2,000. There are a lot of wonderful alternatives to cash that banks are giving these days. So, if I establish a new account and enroll in direct deposit, you’ll give me an iPod touch as a gift? Count me in!
Even though I no longer need to maintain 30+ bank accounts and rush to plan direct transfers, I still like opening a new checking account once a year in the hopes of scoring a freebie or bonus cash.
The piles of junk mail we get each day are littered with free discount coupons for a variety of stores and services. Discount coupons for things like new tires, oil changes, and car washes are always welcome.
Some of the junk mail you get may contain coupons for a free meal, a discounted outfit, or even a free haircut. As long as our spending stays within our means, I will gladly take advantage of any deal that will help me save money.
Even political campaign mail is something I enjoy. While it’s possible that I’m actually crazy, my primary motivation is genuine curiosity. I enjoy reading about the candidates’ promises and thinking about how their campaigns are marketed. It always piques my attention when a candidate sends out expensive pamphlets or doesn’t list their party membership anywhere.
These fliers may be an irritation since they crowd your mailbox, but you can turn that frustration into a learning experience by reading them. You may easily ensure that, when you go to the polls, you have a firm grasp of each candidate’s platform with no effort.
At the very least, opening spam can provide some low-cost amusement. The occasional discount I find actually helps us out. Even though I appreciate the garbage that arrives in the mail, I cannot stomach receiving spam emails. Everything about that smells like a scam waiting to happen.
Don’t just chuck out those fliers and credit card offers without giving them a second glance. You might perhaps discover something of value. If you do decide to look inside that junk mail envelope, please do not let its contents lead you to spend money that you do not have.