You know that cool feeling of reaching into the pocket of your jacket and finding a $20 bill you forgot about? We all like to find money we forgot we had. Whenever you need some “extra” money for something—whether that might be paying an unexpected bill, buying something for your business, or just splurging to reward yourself—here are some ways you can find the cash you need.
These won’t all work for you, but chances are at least a few can put some extra cash in your pocket when you need it most. Maybe $20 or so, but more likely hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Give this a try and see how much money you can find!
Clean off your desk. Every professional organizer has stories of clients finding valuables as they get organized. Often, they find uncashed checks in the clutter, or even cash. Go through the piles of stuff on your desk and see what turns up. (Even if you don’t find money, you will have the satisfaction of getting your desk cleared off. That can make you more productive and save you time. Remember that time is money!)
Collect what you are owed. Some freelancers and small businesses are lax about billing clients. Make sure you have billed for the work you have done, and if you are owed money, follow up to collect it.
Check for unclaimed funds. You might be surprised to discover that your state (or one where you used to live) is holding money that belongs to you. If a company has money that belongs to you, and they can’t find you, they eventually turn the money over to the state escheat fund. The money may be from a forgotten bank account, insurance policy, utility deposit, etc. Learn more about how to find money online.
Gather up those unused gift cards and store credits. A check of your wallet may turn up gift cards from stores and restaurants, or even Visa or American Express cards that can be used almost anywhere. Spend them instead of cash the next time you make a purchase.
Cash in your credit card rewards. I checked my accounts recently and discovered that I have more than $500 available that can be converted to gift cards or cash, or used to pay my credit card bills. See how much you have coming to you, and put the value to work.
Call your utility company and ask for a refund of your deposit. If you had to pay a deposit to your electricity, gas or telephone provider, many will refund it after you have paid your bills on time for several months. But you will probably have to ask.
Use your change. Lots of people pull change from their pockets or purses every day and dump it into a jar. Over time, that change can add up. Take it to your bank and deposit it or exchange it for paper money. Your bank will probably be able to count it for you, so you won’t have to put it in rolls. And be careful about those machines in the grocery store that will give you paper money for change—they usually charge a fee.
Sell something. Chances are you have stuff around that you don’t need or use. Sell it on eBay or Craigslist and pocket the cash.
Return an unnecessary purchase. Did you start regretting the purchase of that jacket with the pink feather collar before you even got it home? Many people have stuff in their closets, unworn with price tags still attached. If you are within the store’s return period, take it back and get a refund or store credit.
Skip going to the grocery store this week. I’m not suggesting that you give up food, but most people already have lots in their freezers and pantries. Instead of buying more, shop in your kitchen, use up some of the food you have on hand, and pocket the cash you would have spent. You may need to buy a few perishables (e.g., milk, bread, produce), but stick to those items and stay out of the center of the store. “Finding” food in your own kitchen is just as good as finding that $20 bill in your pocket.
What are your favorite ways to find money?