I Don’t Want Your Free LED Pen.

free led light pen
So I’m back from the amazingly BRILLIANT Financial Blogger Conference this weekend – which was nothing short than *heaven* for me, I got to see my online family for the first time in 3+ years! And you all voted me the winner of FIVE Blogger trophies!!! THANK YOU so much!!! – and now that we’re back to the “real world,” I have a stack of emails and meetings and all sorts of interesting busy work to hopefully get through one year ;)

But one thing that really fascinated me when I got home, was the pile of letters sitting on my desk yearning for some good old fashioned affection. I don’t know about you, but one of my small pleasures in life is sorting through mail and *hoping* for something good. I don’t know WHAT that could possibly come since it’s not like I’m entering any contests or expecting any random $10,000 checks or anything, haha, but the pure fact of not *KNOWING* just excites the pants off me. In a totally non-sexual way, of course (unless, someone mails me Kim Kardashian!).

And this time around I was greeted by not one, not TWO, but SIX pieces of financial spam-mail! Woo! Some were actually kinda awesome, but most were pretty bad to the point where I wanted to hurry up and hop onto this laptop to start blogging about ’em ;) Which is where you’re finding me now. On my kitchen table surrounded by all kinds of financial offers calling my name.

Here’s what came in:

  1. An invitation to join the Archdiocese’s Annual Benefit.  In all it’s well-crafted and glorious marketing package.  It was so good that I actually DID feel special for getting it! And then I almost RSVP’d until I saw the slew of options forcing me to give a donation. I don’t know which one bothered me more – the fact that I got tricked feeling like I was specially selected to attend a fancy ball (I had a quick image of going as Lloyd Christmas from Dumb & Dumber! Haha…), or the fact that the lowest amount I was allowed to donate was $250.  Though I could easily donate $50,000 too of course – all these numbers were next to the “YES, I/We want to attend” check box.  The only other option wasto say No, which read like this: “NO, I/We are unable to attend, but would like to make a tax-deductible contribution of $ __________.” I was not impressed.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving back to the church and/or military – 100% – but these not-so-subtle ways of asking just rubs me the wrong way… I’ll just continue dropping in money during church.
  2. An offer to receive a free, no-obligation, LED light pen! Just by asking for more details on their Mortgage Protection.  Really?  A light pen?? Are we in the 90’s again?? haha… now I don’t know too much on mortgage protection insurance, so I can’t really comment on that one (though it does kinda perk some interest as it seems it would cover your mortgage if you were to suddenly die or something?), but I feel like life insurance pretty much covers everything you need anyways.  I could be wrong though, so if any of you use it lemme  know! And also let me know if you want my incredible offer for a FREE out of this world light pen!!  Come on!  They were invented on the moon!
  3. An invitation to watch a free UN-RELEASED Steve Carrell film! Before it’s official launch to the public!  Woahhhh!  Where the heck did that one come from? It turned out that, among our wreckage of awful spam mail, that *this* one turned out to be actually true!!!  But because my wife thought it was junk like all the rest, it was too late to take them up on their offer when we shot them a call :(  Turns out they had overwhelming response to it, and they didn’t need our sexy opinions any more – boooooo….  the audience was gonna help them w/ rating the movie (PG-13, R, etc), and give feedback in return for the free cinema.  Woulda been fun! (I blame you, stupid light pen, for making everything look like spam)
  4. An offer to open up a new ING Savings account.  An option that would earn you more than 6x the national average of interest.  Sadly, however, that’s only 1%.  And I’m not in the mood to go chasing rates around town – too messy for my brain.  But if any of you are interested, more info can be found here.
  5. A fake auto insurance card from Allstate telling me I could save $336 this year.  And also that I’d be in “good hands” with them ;)  And I believe them too – that President Palmer is convincing! Haha… (any 24 fans out there?  anybody?  Bueller?) I do give them props for saying how it is though, and trying to save people money if they’re jacked up in some other insurance plans out there.  Just the fact they’re not trying to woo me by offering up some weird object gives me a tiny bit more of respect for them ;) If I weren’t so obsessed w/ USAA I’d at least entertain ’em!  Though they’d have to compete w/ that awfully funny gecko, haha…
  6. A refer-a-friend offer from Flex Offers.  This I actually don’t mind, since it was right behind my check they owe me ;) For those unaware of Flex Offers, which would be 90% of you since you don’t blog, they’re a company where you can get advertising collateral from to promote companies you like and then get paid for it.  Kinda like a database you can sort through, rather than directly reaching out to whatever company you want to try and advertise with.  I use them for some things, but other bloggers/websites are much better about monetizing than I am. Anyways, if you’re interested in giving them a shot, I would gladly refer you to them ;)  (shameless plug!)

And that about wraps it up.  How much of this junk do you all get in a given week?  Anything new & exciting coming through?  I’m gonna start mailing out fun things to people since all we get now are emails and Facebook updates from each other. If we don’t continue doing so, our Post Offices will be sure to close down! And that would make me terribly sad :( So take a few minutes and jot down a quick note for somebody today. It might just be that *surprise* they’ve been waiting for!

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  1. cashflowmantra October 5, 2011 at 6:10 AM

    Congrats on winning FIVE awards. That is awesome and well deserved. I get a fair amount of junk mail. Mostly those fake insurance cards.

  2. J. Money October 5, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Thanks bro – wouldn’t be here w/out all of you guys :)

  3. Lazy Man and Money October 5, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    That movie thing reminds me of the time that I got invited to be in the test audience of Demi Moore’s Striptease. This was a highly anticipated movie – at least for young males.

    That was disappointing on just as many levels as the Red Sox baseball season was this year. A good percentage of baseball fans (and the few people who actually saw Striptease) know what I’m talking about now.

    I wouldn’t be too sad – it will be better when when you get to see the final cut with the feedback on Redbox for $1.

  4. Eric J. Nisall October 5, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Don’t you know that when you’re a big-time multiple-award winner everyone wants a piece of you!? I’m amazed that people still think putting their logo on a cheap-ass pen will get someone to do business with them, but that’s just me I guess since so many are still doing it

  5. Trinnie S October 5, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Allstate? really?!?!? Don’t even get me started on the whole raccoon commercial! and the coverage inaccuracies!

    Yeah, we get Disney Cruise spam all the time (which is kinda smart, actually…being that we’re a family w/2 kiddos)…so we give all the spam mail to Vinny. He feels important!

  6. Elle October 5, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    Our mailbox was full when we got back from the conference. We don’t get junk mail from Allstate instead we get letters from a State Farm insurance agency regularly.

    Thanks to my husband having the same first and last name with his dad, we’re also getting AARP mail this year.

  7. Miriam October 5, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    I love Allstate’s commercials, but I heart USAA so I’d never switch. Lately I’ve been getting more Discover and American Express card offers, though I’m not sure why, my credit rating is still only about a 600. Grats on the awards and glad you had a good time at the conference :D

  8. Stephanie October 5, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    President Palmer – if I could be guaranteed he’d answer the phone every time, I’d switch. lol

  9. Michelle October 5, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    I’ve always wondered about mortgage insurance. I was told I should get it when I bought my house, but I didn’t.

  10. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager October 5, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Congrats on winning so many awards! You definitely deserve them!

    As for junk mail, mostly auto insurance and credit card mailers. I usually just toss them. If I’m feeling brave I might call and ask them to add me to their no mailing list. But that is rare.

  11. brooklyn money October 5, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    I’ve heard mortgage insurance is expensive and not worth it.

  12. Zero Passive Income October 5, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    This free LED pen offer is ridiculous. I wonder how many responses they actually get from this gimmick. It’s not like LED pens are hard to come by or worth that much.

  13. Lindy Mint October 5, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    I don’t know, LED pens are pretty cool…

    In college I worked in the university mail room. We weren’t required to box bulk or nonprofit mail, which meant we, the mail room employees, got to keep all the cool stuff for ourselves. My best score was a promotional cigar cutter.

    Congrats on your rewards!

  14. Justin Wright October 5, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    That LED pen might have been the coolest thing ever. Who doesn’t want to be able to write in the dark?

    On a serios note, I constantly get letters from the AARP with a fake ID card in them and they drive me nuts. I’m about 40 years shy of retiring yet they keep them coming. I’ve been tempted to carry one of the fake cards in my wallet to try and get a discount.

  15. Janet October 5, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Having just moved, I’m in the process of having the majority of my junk spam mail stopped again. I’m happy to say it’s dwindling day by day. Although I am a little jealous of the LED light pen! Can’t say I’ve ever received an offer so exciting!

  16. Maximus Aurelius October 5, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Good instincts on the Mortgage Insurance. It’s a straight-up racket.

    In a nutshell, you pay about a 10x higher premium than term life insurance in order to insure your mortgage holder against your inability to pay your mortgage off in the event of your death or disability. It’s similar in concept to the “account protection” racket run by credit card companies and briefly by car companies during the depths of Great Recession Part I.

    The part that makes it a racket is that YOU pay the premium to insure NOT you, but the mortgage lienholder. The dirty secret is that your mortgage is ALREADY insured by the mortgage companies themselves, at pennies on the dollar you are paying, through insurers like MGIC or RMIC. If the policy pays out, it’s a pure windfall profit. You will never see a penny of the payout.

    Skip mortgage insurance and instead go for a term-level life insurance policy with the beneficiary being whoever depends on your income and would need money to payoff the mortgage (if that is a priority) in the event of your death or disability.

  17. Maria Nedeva October 5, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Good evening, J$. I was thinking to say congratulations and well done on the awards; well deserved.

    As to financial junk mail – annoys the hell out of me. In fact, I have gone entirely electronic (which has its downsides as well) so that I don’t have to bother opening them…except if and when bored or need a good rant and it can’t get out; helps!

  18. Ryan @ Budgetable October 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    People love LED pens… At the last place I worked we’d give them out to clients and they’d be giddy all the way out the door…

  19. J. Money October 5, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    @Lazy Man and Money – Haha, I would have totally jumped on that movie too! Lucky guy ;)
    @Eric J. Nisall – I know, right? I mean – I suppose it’s working if they’re still promoting it ya know? Unless I’m in their test run… it’s pretty amazing what people will sign up for in order to get “free” stuff.
    @Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – Maybe I’ll have to start sending you some then ;)
    @Trinnie S – Awwww, I can’t wait to MEET Vinnie sometime! Oooh! Which reminds me, we’ll be heading to Fort Collins next month for Love Drop!!!! WOOO!!! That was the surprise I forgot to tell you about ;) I’ll fill you in more later.
    @Elle – what?? You were there? Did we meet?? Haha… dang it. I totally wanted to meet you! Or maybe we did, and I’m just not connecting the two? Dang it! :)
    @Miriam – Oh, we get tons of Discover too. I don’t know what’s so great about them to be honest, but then again I don’t really pay attention much. USAA has my love for everything :) And thanks for the kind words!
    @Stephanie – Haha… how awesome would that be?
    @Michelle – Something tells me you did the right thing. Though I don’t have any way to back that up :) I feel like everyone would know more about it if it were really that important. My parents would have totally been on my case to get it.
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Oh wow, I’m way too lazy for that. And since I love getting mail I’d probably start feeling sad w/out ’em :(
    @brooklyn money – I probably should have read it more to find out, huh? Oh well, maybe tomorrow when I get another one in the mail ;)
    @Zero Passive Income – Who knows… maybe they trick old people? Or super young people?
    @Lindy Mint – Oh cool! I would have totally loved a cigar cutter too :) Though I probably have like 5 already, haha… something about them just seems *nice*.
    @Justin Wright – Hahahahaa… omg that would be funny. You should totally film it too :)
    @Janet – Haha, I can forward it along to you next time? ;) Hope the move went okay!
    @Maximus Aurelius – Oh wow, are you serious? That’s crazy! Man… what nonsense. I totally have term insurance (both me and my wife, actually) so I’m perfectly fine to stick w/ that. Thanks for passing that along, what a mess…
    @Maria Nedeva – Haha, I’d be too sad – I like getting stuff even IF it’s junk ;) Appreciate the warm words on winning the awards, it feels good to bring it home to our community here!
    @Ryan @ Budgetable – Haha… how do you know it wasn’t just cuz they liked YOU guys? ;)

  20. The Financial Blogger October 5, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    Yeah man, you are the Justin Bieber of bloggers ;-) lol!

    I got 2 “get 15K instantly, open up the envelope, URGENT!”.. I guess it’s better than a led pen, right? ;-D

  21. Elle@Odd Cents October 5, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    I don’t envy you J.Money. I don’t think the Caribbean has caught on to junk mail and I’m praying that it doesn’t ever happen. I would be very annoyed. How do they get your information????

  22. Babs October 5, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    My favorite spam was when my 17 yo son got a pre-approved application for an American Express card. He’s not old enough to legally get credit! We’re holding out till our cat gets a pre-approval, then we’ll jump on it. Attention AMEX: his name is Groucho (no middle initial) Wagner.

  23. Eric J. Nisall October 5, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    J–what’s even more amazing than what people will sign up for is what people will get excited about receiving when signing up!

  24. Edward Antrobus October 6, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    I get coupons for places I’ll never actually go to. Like the coupons that come every month for orthodontia!

    I love the offers from car insurance companies. Especially the ones that say something like, “you could save $1500 on your car insurance.” Umm, that’s almost 2 years worth of premiums for me.

  25. Jenni (Traveler for Good) October 6, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Why can’t they send things I’d like… maybe a logoed jump drives or mini first aid kit? I was offered a mini sharpie on a key chain yesterday. I don’t know about you, but my sharpie needs are minimal and don’t usually go on the road with me.

  26. Khaleef @ KNS Financial October 6, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    I didn’t even know that those LED pens were still being made! Cablevision sold my information, so now I’m getting a bunch of financial SPAM for my business. The only company that has both my business name and home address is Cablevision (for internet access), so I know it was them. I’ll be writing a post about it later this week.

    Oh, I actually had a company send me an ink pen with my business name and home address on it. They want me to order 1,000 of them – but the sample broke in the mail! lol

  27. J. Money October 6, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    @The Financial Blogger – Haha… do you know that every time I read one of your comments now, I hear your accent come through? It’s awesome! Love that I know what you look and sound like now :)
    @Elle@Odd Cents – Oh man, it gets sold over and over again all over the place here. I must have signed up to something back in the day and now it haunts all of us ;)
    @Babs – Hah! Sadly that’s not the first time that’s happened. Every now and then you hear stories of babies getting credit cards, and dogs too. Then the parents go on a binge and get caught. We live in a silly place!
    @Eric J. Nisall – That was a hard sentence to follow, haha…
    @Edward Antrobus – Yeah, sometimes I wonder if they could be on to something though? Cuz I got that call from Chase once and thought it was spam, and 2 months later we had a refinanced loan saving me $400 a month! :)
    @Jenni (Traveler for Good) – Oh now THAT’s hot!! I love sharpies!!!! But I’m actually glad they don’t offer anything we like – cuz then we’d get tempted to purchase their products! :)
    @Khaleef @ KNS Financial – Hahaha… I wouldn’t mind if companies send me stuff w/ Budgets Are Sexy on it, that would be hot :) But yeah – you should def. blog about Cablevision, that’s jacked up man. Wonder how many people will come out saying the same thing happened to them?! Will be interesting… also if one of their reps responded ;) If they’re good, they will.

  28. Natalie @ Mango October 7, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    An LED light pen, huh? You know, at Mango Money we’re brainstorming ideas for a great blog giveaway… Just kidding. Who wants an LED pen? Or any of the junk mail for that matter? I heard something recently that the reason the post office is doing so poorly is because all they’re really delivering these days is junk mail, and sometimes bills– but most people just pay their bills online these days. Anyone reading this: what (if anything) do you still use the postal service for? I’d be really interested to know, thanks!

  29. J. Money October 9, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    @Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey – Awww thanks! It was because of you all that I won them! :)
    @Natalie @ Mango – Hah! That’s an interesting theory actually… I happen to LOVE post offices. I’m always mailing out post cards from all my travels, or sending gifts to people via mail – I would be miserable w/out them :( Yeah you can do a lot of great stuff online, but if we cut out the more human-to-human element with mail, I have a feeling it wouldn’t be good for everybody… Hopefully they can just cut out Saturday delivery or something so they can keep operating for us! Love ’em!