When’s the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? Letter writing is becoming extinct, but before kissing your stationery goodbye forever, consider these money saving benefits of sending handwritten letters. (See also: 11 Life Skills That Are Now Obsolete)
1. To get your dream home
When you find a home you love, there is a good chance that other potential buyers want to slap a welcome mat down, too. This is especially true when the market is a seller’s market and good homes sell quickly. When my husband and I were looking for a large one-story home in 2016, the listings were slim. When we finally found our dream home, our realtor suggested we send a personalized letter along with it.
I wrote a genuine letter about how beautiful the house was and that it was the perfect spot for our growing family. The letter worked, and we got our dream home instead of settling for a spot that might make us want to move a year or two later.
A heartfelt letter only takes about 20 minutes to write, so why not spend the extra time penning one before sending in your offer? (See also: Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter)
2. To save your credit score
When your credit report has a negative mark, such as a missed or late payment, sending a goodwill letter to the creditor can help solve the issue. An effective goodwill letter will get the creditor to empathize with your situation — perhaps you just had a baby or experienced a job layoff — while also pointing out that you are a good credit user. This is easy to prove when you have a track record of on-time payments and have been with the creditor for several years. (See also: How a Goodwill Letter Can Save Your Credit Score)
In many cases, the creditor will refund your late fee. In the best cases, they will remove the mark on your report, which should cause an uptick in your score. Though you might have to follow up after the letter with persistence to get a creditor to reconsider removing the mark.
3. To get the job you want
It should be common practice to send a thank-you note immediately after a job interview, but many applicants don’t. The letter should be a short read that genuinely thanks the interviewer for their time in the first paragraph, reminds them how much you want to use your skills to enhance their team in the second paragraph, and finally emphasizes how grateful you are for the opportunity in the last paragraph.
Even if you don’t get the job, you will have made a good impression, and you increase your chances of future employment opportunities with that company. (See also: 6 Things You Must Do After the Interview to Land the Job)
4. To get better service
In 2012, I bought a washer and dryer, but when it was installed, the installer cut the water line and flooded the hallway and my baby’s nursery. The company fixed the issue with some repair work and by placing industrial fans in my home for several days. However, the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth for trusting that company with installing another home appliance.
I decided to write a letter to the corporate office, and they passed down the letter to my local store manager. In this letter, I explained what had happened and how I was in the market for a new refrigerator, but felt like I couldn’t trust the company due to the horrible experience.
Shortly after they read my letter, the local manager reached out to me and offered me a huge discount on a fridge. We ended up getting a $3,000 fridge for $1,250 after the discount and also because it was a floor model. The manager also offered next day delivery with their staff instead of outsourcing the delivery to a third-party company like they had done with the washer and dryer.
Reach out to companies with letters whether you have received poor or amazing service. A professional complaint letter (i.e. not whining or full of cussing) is valuable to companies, and they are more likely to reach out to you to either fix the problem or offer a gift card or discount. Similarly, a positive letter for good service or your love of a product could result in free swag, too.
What makes a handwritten letter so effective in saving money is that it rarely happens in today’s go, go, go lifestyle. Shooting off a complaint on Twitter or sending an impersonal LinkedIn message just doesn’t have the same touch that a handwritten letter does.