Do you put your junk mail into the recycling bin before looking at it? You may be tossing checks, cash, and valuable coupons! Here’s how to find money in your mailbox by figuring out which trash mail may contain treasure.
Collect offers from businesses.
Hard to believe, but lots of businesses send money through the mail. They do it as a way to encourage you to look at their offers or as prepayment for participating in surveys. And since they want you to find the money, they’ll let you know it’s there! For instance, the Nielsen audience ratings company sends out two $1 bills in their letters, which you’ll spot through a clear window in the back of the envelope. Along with the cash, you’ll find an offer to receive $5 to $10 more if you fill out the enclosed survey about your TV and radio habits. Another example? Valpak coupons whose envelopes are stamped with, “Look inside! A $100 check could be in this envelope.” One in 50,000 Valpak envelopes contains a real check made out to “cash” for $100. If you find it, simply deposit it in your bank account!
Find money you’re owed from the state or government.
Wasn’t expecting a letter from your health insurer, your state, or another company or government entity you’ve done business with before? Even if you’re sure it’s nothing important, open it anyway. You could be surprised with a check made out to you.
That’s because companies, as well as federal and state governments, regularly use “snail mail” to send you money that you may not realize you’re due. For instance, this fall, 8.2 million American health insurance customers will receive a rebate check for up to $155 as a part of a federal payback program that happens when insurance companies take in more revenue than they spend. And some states are currently considering sending gas rebate checks or prepaid cards for hundreds of dollars to drivers to offset the high price of fuel.
Tip! Open mail from service companies, like auto insurance and wireless phone. If you’re offered a lower rate, let your current provider know. Many will match it to keep you as a customer.
Accept what you’re owed from a class action lawsuit.
An unsolicited letter from a law firm may seem like yet another unwanted ad. But it’s worth opening since the US Postal Service is the most common way that lawyers let you know you may be part of a class action lawsuit (a lawsuit filed on behalf of consumers) and that you’re due part of a settlement of hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Once a company has been ordered by a court to send out rebates, lawyers reach out to those they believe are entitled to cash by using the mailing address from your credit card or account you have with the company. But you can’t claim your cash if you don’t open the letter! Think you may have already thrown away a class action announcement? You can still find out if you’re entitled to a settlement and learn how to file a claim by visiting ClassAction.org/settlements.
Keep postcards with coupons from retailers and restaurants.
Right now, your mailbox is likely stuffed with postcards from politicians competing in the US midterm elections taking place on November 8. But if you sift through this pile looking for postcards from retailers and restaurants, you’ll likely be rewarded with a coupon that gives you 10 percent, 25 percent, or more off your next purchase! For example, Vitacost.com regularly sends customers coupons for 15 percent off their total order. And Macy’s mails out coupons for special savings, such as $10 off a purchase of $25 or more on certain dates. Businesses love to gift shoppers with postcard coupons since it encourages brand loyalty.
Your bulk junk mail can earn you money. Simply sign up for free to be a panelist for the market research firm Small Business Knowledge Center at SBKCenter.com or by calling 312-546-4922. Once accepted, they’ll send you prepaid envelopes so you can mail them your junk mail, which they use to follow trends in direct marketing. You’ll be rewarded with points that can be cashed in for a $20 Visa gift card, which you can earn every six to 10 weeks.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.