Monday, August 17, 2009

Freecycle Envelopes- Not so much.

Remember my brilliant WFMW Post about Freecycling those envelopes that they send you to use to pay your bills? I suggested using those envelopes to mail things to other people- just stick an address label over the printed address and go to town.

Not such a great idea, it turns out. See those little black bar codie line up there? And at the top next to the stamp? Turns out those are called FIM marks and they are super secret post office language that will direct that envelope to whomever it was originally intended to be sent with no regard for the actual address you print on said envelope.

I used a USAA envelope to send in my Kraft Full Plate Gift Card Offer. Instead of going to Kraft in IL, it went to the nice people at USAA, in San Antonio, Texas, who were kind enough to send it right back to me with the following explanation:

The enclosed envelope and your correspondence were received by USAA because of the bar code and FIM marks on the envelope. The bar code is the line of small bars in the lower right corner of the envelope just below the address. The FIM marks are the longer marks just to the left of the stamp. Both were printed on USAA envelopes to expedite the delivery of official USAA mail.

Even though you addressed your correspondence to another location, it was received by USAA because U.S. Postal Service equipment "reads" and delivers mail based on these two markings, which are unique to USAA.

In my over zealousness to be frugal and save a $0.02 envelope, I am likely going to loose out on $30 in Publix gift cards. In my desire to save the planet by reusing that envelope, I actually ended up causing another envelope to be used, not to mention the gas and everything else to get the original envelope back to me. It seems like this happens to me all the time- I have the best of intentions and put forth the effort and it just blows up in my face. Anyone else have any stories that they would like to share about huge frugal flops???


  1. Oh my! I have never thought to do that.

    My greatest frugal flop is going just about anywhere past a 5 mile radius to save money on groceries. My SUV gets 14mpg!

  2. Early in our marriage we had a Sam's Club membership and thought we'd save money. The thing is, we ended up buying so much stuff that was a good deal but we didn't need. A lot of it went bad before we could use it or was just plain unnecessary. We've gotten a lot wiser since then.

    More recently I had a disturbing revelation regarding breastpumps. With our first baby we rented the Symphony for $70/month and also purchased a $150 Swing pump. Yesterday I bought a Harmony manual for $35 just to relieve engorgement and found out that for me (because I have some weird aversion to electric pumps), the cheap little handheld works just as well and even better. Ouch.

  3. Oh bummer!

    Don't be too hard on yourself save enough money in so many other areas to allow for a little oops every now and then. =)