Horrific Financial Advice, Right From My Mailbox

Horrific Financial Advice Right From My Mailbox - picture of hand pulling mail from mailbox

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A few days ago, I got some awesome news that I couldn’t wait to share. Apparently, Toyota Motors is seriously interested in my 2009 Toyota Prius as a trade-in and is willing to pay top dollar.

Even better, they want to upgrade me to a brand new 2015 Prius for – get this – only $20,988. And not only that, but they’re willing to let me pay on that baby for up to 72 months. 72 months!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s like a dream come true – like they read my mind. In some crazy twist of fate, Toyota got the memo that I wanted to pay a car payment until 2021 – the year my now five-year-old will turn twelve. Sometimes I just want to pinch myself. Is this a dream?

Obviously, I’m kidding. I hate paying for anything, let alone a new car that will only get driven once or twice a week. And we all know I absolutely hate car payments – even car payments at 0% interest.


Because I don’t like feeling like I am beholden to anyone, because I hate paying bills, and because I am a bad-ass, debt-hating freedom avenger. That’s why.

Save your credit for other things?
Save your credit for other things?

More Horrific Advice in my Mailbox

Some of the offers I get in the mail are so ridiculous that they literally make me laugh out loud. Take this Montgomery Ward mailer I got a few days ago, for example. Not only is the neon orange quite off-putting, but this brochure is so full of bad advice that it’s laughable. Let’s start with the front.

“You’re pre-approved. Buy now – pay later.”

Nope. But it gets worse. “Save your credit cards for other things,” it says.

Save your credit card for other things? Like what? Shopping sprees in other shitty catalogs? Nope.

Open the cover and it goes from bad to worse. After another spiel on how I’m all pre-approved and what-not, it says this:

“Monthly Payment Plan. Buy now and pay later. Pay as little as $20 a month. Order again, and your payments may not even increase.”

So let me get this straight. I can buy one pink and leopard print queen bedding set for only $20 a month, then buy another one without raising my payment? Is it my birthday or something? {insert sarcasm here}

Thanks, assholes!
Thanks, assholes!

Bath & Body Works, Seriously?

More horrific advice came straight from this Bath & Body Works mailer a few days later. But in this case, I was more offended than horrified.

It says:

“Our Gift To You: $10 Off Any $30 Purchase”

I immediately wondered if Bath & Body Works knew what a “gift” really was because I’m pretty sure making me pay $20 for $30 worth of overpriced whore-scent is not one.


Newsflash: A coupon is not a gift; it’s an invitation to spend money. I love a good sale and all, but damn, don’t call it a gift.

Horrific Financial Advice In My Mailbox

If I took all of the horrific advice in my mailbox and ran with it, I would pretty much be screwed. Fortunately, I’m able to see all of the mailers I receive for what they are – crap. And I know the vast majority of my readers are just as savvy as I am – able to weed through the bullshit marketing gimmicks to find real deals on things we actually need in our lives.

As far as I’m concerned, they can just keep these mailers coming. The cheesier, the better. At the very least, they’re good for a laugh.

Have you gotten any horrific financial advice in the mail lately?


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  1. Great post! Reminds me, too, of people who stay up late at night buying things off the TV. ‘Only 3 EASY payments of 89.99.’ Do you live in the Athens, GA area? I noticed the Heyward Allen flyer. I’m a certified financial planner in Athens. Anyway, just wanted to say that I am enjoying your tweets and blog.

    1. Yep, three EASY payments! What does that mean?

      I live in Indiana. I just happened to find that stock image on the web somewhere!

    2. Thanks Dustin! We’re glad you’re here 🙂

  2. Nice! We used to get a ton of those things, but a couple years ago I took some steps to decrease the amount of junk mail coming to our house- so we are now off of most of those mailing lists. Thank goodness! I call junk mail my “daily recycling duty.” Only now its weekly or monthly instead of daily 🙂

  3. I HATE those Toyota flyers !!!! I started getting those when I had only had my car a few months- are there really that many people that trade in their car less than a year after buying it? I bought a stick shift Toyota in the hope that it will last a loooooong time 🙂

    1. I think they just make it up. They make it sound as if people are showing up at Toyota dealers in droves asking for 2009 models specifically. Sounds pretty unlikely to me.

  4. I didn’t even know Montgomery Ward was still in existence!

    I get a flyer all of the time for trading in a car. The ironic thing is that I sold the car years ago. They might want to spend a few minutes to update their database and save money by not sending flyers to people that have sold their car.

    The one I really hate though are the ones that come in the mail that look like bills. Only in the fine print does it say “this is not a bill”. Most times they are for extended car warranties, but we’ve also gotten them for our sewer line too.

    1. I get those all the time for water/sewer lines and other stuff. I got one the other day that looked like a bill for having someone type up our annual meeting minutes, and it was very deceiving. They made it look like it was a service we ordered.

  5. I don’t even read this stuff–it just goes straight into the recycling bin. But, I should start because clearly I’m missing out on opportunities for humor :)! What I find hilarious are the coupons we get in the mail for all the things we do ourselves: dog walking, home repairs, house cleaning… cracks me up! I often think “if they only knew who they were mailing this to…”

    1. I don’t read most of it either, but sometimes its too silly to pass up!

  6. We just received a mailer recently that said there were lots of people in the market for our 2004 Scion xb and they would love to give us top dollar. I think it took me 10 minutes to stop laughing. The scary thing is we always get these mailers, so they must work enough on people to continually pay to make and mail them.

    1. Ha! I’m guessing your car is not in high demand.

  7. Hee! I’ve moved a couple of times recently and the advertisers haven’t really caught up with me yet — but these are hilarious. Especially the car one.

    1. I keep waiting for hate mail from someone who wears Bath & Body Works on a daily basis. BRING IT! (I have a ton of the stuff, so I’m obviously kidding)

  8. Incidentally, I did get one of the car notices, saying people really wanted a 2006 Kia Optima, and they’re willing to pay $4,400 to me, if mine is in pristine condition. It’s been three and a half years since I started making payments on it, and it’s been a crappy car ever since. I’d love to get rid of it, but they won’t be paying me that much! That I know for certain.

  9. Oh man, I got a pretty bad one because my husband is in grad school (and will receive his masters soon- woot!).

    Nissan is willing to offer financing on a new car to anyone who has a job offer (for within 3 months of graduation), even if they have no or low credit scores. They called it a “graduation gift” for new professionals. I think the rate was 7-8%, but I thought, “Oh no, this is how everyone becomes broke so quickly after graduation”

    1. “Graduation gift.” Yes, debt. The gift that keeps on giving!

  10. It’s amazing the amount of crap that we receive, I mean I get a letter every day to consolidate debt to save money through Discover, I basically throw everything away and I put myself on the do not mail list, although I think companies you have done business with sneak through.

  11. Hahaha loved this post, Holly!! We get offers like that in the mail all the time, too. And you know what’s even worse?! Is that there are people (probably many) out there who fall for this crap and sign up!!! Or else they wouldn’t be sending it!! Sad…which is why blogs like yours need to exist!!!

  12. Whore scent, hahaha!
    We always get letters from dealers in “desperate need” of our used car. It’s sad that that tactic works on so many people.

  13. Oh man, I get the mailer about upgrading my car all the time! I highly doubt I’d get much for my car and I’m planning to drive it into the ground anyway. And 72 months! What!? Of course they’ll be hounding that person to upgrade 12 months into those payments.

    1. Yeah, no kidding. After 12 months, I’d get a letter saying my 2015 Prius is IN DEMAND!

  14. Haha I can definitely relate! What’s sad is for some, this is the only personal finance “lessons” they receive. For some ill-informed they sound like great deals! Definitely taking advantage of the ignorant to make a buck – not a company I would want to associate myself with.

  15. The worst part about all these “deals” is that so many people fall for it. Low monthly payments doesn’t make car payments affordable, it’ll cost you more in the long run.

    1. Yep. And it makes it easier to buy more car than you can truly afford.

  16. Yes! I HATE Bath and Body Works and their constant ‘sales’ and mail, it’s driving me nuts! “Buy 5 soaps and get 2 free”… what?! Why do I need SEVEN hand soaps at home!?
    I also get annoyed with the “fill out the survey to win a chance at a $1,000 shopping spree” that I’ve seen at so many retail and grocery stores lately… I know it’s just a way to get my personal information.

    1. I know, right? It takes us at least a month to go through a thing of hand soap. Most people don’t necessarily want to stock up that much!

  17. I love the “don’t miss out” or “time’s running out” emails I get for great deals and when I open them it’s something like 10 or 15% off of something. If it’s not 80% or more, then I don’t even want to look at the deal because I probably wasn’t planning to spend the money anyway to 15% off really just means 85% expensive to me.

    1. Yeah, no kidding. I don’t consider 15% off a sale anyway.

  18. Ha ha, LOVE the whore scent line! We get these things all the time. For some odd reason Discover thinks they’re going to woo us by sending a mailer to us every other day. We get the same car ones as well – they obviously are looking for those who can’t do the math of being in an unending car loan. We just toss the stuff in our recycling bin.

    1. OMG, Discover is obsessed with me. Someone needs to tell them to suspend their mailings until they start offering legitimate sign-up bonuses!

  19. ‘overpriced whore-scent’, haha! I get so much crappy mail like that on a daily basis it’s overwhelming. The numerous credit card offers and the ‘you’ve been approved for a $30,000 auto loan’ offers never stop coming in though but they all end up in the garbage and it just sucks that these companies waste so much paper. I hate owing people too and overpaying for stuff and I’m not going to support businesses that try to trick me into buying things.

  20. ha ha yeah I’m sure I have…but to them it’s totally worth the bad advice because someone out there takes up on the offer! They totally make a ROI for their crappy mailers.

  21. I can’t believe you did not take them up on the offer of a new Prius ;-). It sounds like such a greeaatttt deal !!! The sad part is l know there are lots of people that would fall for that..

  22. Haha “overpriced whore-scent”… thanks for the good chuckle!

    I also have a Toyota Prius, glad to see I’m in good company! I’ve probably gotten some horrific mail lately, but I just don’t pay attention to any of it anymore. I’ll have to pay more attention next time to see what “deals” I’m missing out on 😉

  23. Too funny! The most offputting mail I’ve gotten recently are these letters from investors who want to pay cash for my home. Ugh…

  24. Ha love this! I always love the ones where they claim they are giving you a great deal by offering something such as a laptop for $50 a week for like 100 weeks. WHAT A GREAT DEAL.

  25. Haha great post Holly. I think personal finance bloggers and others who are tuned-in to personal finances have trouble understanding how some of these offers can be effective. In reality, our nation as a whole has a really low level of financial literacy and I’m sure most of these advertisements are extremely effective.

  26. Maytag is after me to buy a lifetime warranty on our washer that costs about as much as a new machine. Toyota has been after our truck for almost a decade, but they can’t have it!

  27. My favorite are the Buy More, Save More ads! If I need a coupon, I’ll go get it.

    I think the worst advice I get (besides the one I just mentioned) are the sheer number of credit card offers we’re sent. And never the good, rewards ones. Just basic cards.

  28. The sad part is so many people actually believe that it is good advice and they are actually being money smart. I honestly don’t pay that much attention to flyers but the TV ads that really bother me, are the one for payday loans where they make it seem like it’s no big deal and you should use the money for “fun”. Just a little short on cash, get a payday loan. Ack!

  29. Thank goodness the ‘Mad Men’ in Australia haven’t tried this – yet. We get plenty of catalogues in the mailbox but thankfully (at least to my knowledge) not the dodgy offers and ‘gifts’ you guys get.

    It’s not hard to see why so many people end up deeply in debt. There ought to be a class on this stuff in high schools…

  30. The mailed advise works for them when they get people who only look at the payment amount and not the total debt or length of time making the payments. I work with a very smart woman who only looks at the monthly payment. They just bought 2 motorcycles (who doesn’t need his and hers motorcycles) and went on and on about the low payments she got.
    The money spent in printing and postage to send us all the “GREAT DEALS” means it must work and make them a lot money. Very sad.

  31. Some great examples here. We get similar stuff in Australia and it drives me nuts. Especially the number or pre-approved credit card offers I get with high annual fees.

  32. Ugh my boss´ husband just got a promotion and so she and he both ran out and bought new sports cars. WHAT?! True. She was so excited, she came in and said, “they didn´t require a downpayment. They´re even letting us pay them off over 7 years!” My jaw dropped in what I´m hoping she interpreted as sharing in her joy. I wanted to slap her upside the head, but umm… not my place.

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