Have you ever put on your favorite winter coat for the first time that season to find a $5 bill inside your pocket? You’re not alone. Money can “hide” in many places outside your bank account, not just inside the pockets of seasonally used clothing or purses.
We recently asked consumers about some of the places they have found money that they didn’t realize they had. Read their answers to learn some places to go on a “money hunt” and uncover funds you’ve long since forgotten about or, perhaps, some that you didn’t know existed. You might be surprised how quickly this found money adds up, allowing you to boost your savings.
Person-to-person payment apps have made life easier when the time comes to split the check at a restaurant, but do you always remember to cash out when your friends send you their part of the bill? Checking your apps and claiming the funds they have sent at least on a monthly basis will help you make sure that your money isn’t just floating in cyberspace limbo.
“I use these apps frequently because I like being able to charge people if I am splitting a bill or if someone needs to pay me back for a purchase,” Heather H. said. “Sometimes, I forget to transfer the money if it's not for something urgent. Finding money in my account that I've forgotten about is always exciting!”
We’ve all found loose change in our car floorboard or the bottom of our washing machine. You might be surprised to see how saving some coins can add up to be substantial over time. Dedicate an empty water jug or large jar to hold your change and invite your household to join you in saving up your coin for a rainy day.
“I try to use cash so that I'm more mindful of my spending. But where there are paper bills, there is change. I keep a change cup by my front door and when it gets filled, I take the cup to the grocery store and convert it into cash or gift cards,” said Soumi C.
Gift cards are an easy one-size-fits-all approach to gift giving, making them a popular choice during the holiday season. However, it’s easy to stash one in your wallet and forget it until long after your last cup of eggnog. If you discover a gift card to a retailer that sells necessities such as groceries, use the card to purchase what you need and add the money you would have otherwise spent into your savings.
Although not as directly, gift cards to specialty stores can also help give your savings a boost. By treating yourself to something you would have ordinarily had to pay cash for, you can feel like you’re splurging by spending your gift card.
“I love finding gift cards or cash that I’ve forgotten about when I need a pick-me-up,” said Kelly C. “Most recently, I found a gift card from my favorite coffee shop inside my purse, and it made my day. I was able to purchase a treat without spending a dime.”
At some point, we all make impulse purchases, buying more than we need. Sometimes, after the cooling-off period, we realize we don’t need all of the items we purchased. If something you bought is going to collect dust or you’re not going to wear it, go ahead and take the item to the store before the return period ends. Not only will you be able to save the money you get back, but you will also free your home of unnecessary clutter.
"When my husband and I bought a house recently, we purchased a lot of things we thought we'd need to furnish and fix up our home,” said Kayla P. “Recently, we went through our cabinets and found a lot of those same items, sitting unused. Instead of letting them just sit and collect dust, we returned the items and deposited the money directly into our savings."
Do you have an old bank account that you never closed? Does a business or government office owe you money you haven’t collected? If you’re unsure, it’s worth looking to see if have money waiting for you to claim it. To find out if this is the case, visit unclaimed.org, where you can find your state’s unclaimed property website. During your search, be sure to check under other names you have used in the past.
“I’ve searched the sites for the three states I’ve lived in, under my married name and my maiden name,” said Monica W. “I found a little over $40, which I deposited right into my rainy day fund. I also got to tell my father-in-law that he had $200 waiting for him in North Dakota!”
Regardless of where you find money, there’s an endless number of dreams that you can start building by saving your newly discovered funds. If you’re unsure of where to start, U.S. Bank offers a free, goals coaching program. The coaches have been trained in behavioral science and goals achievement. Your coach can help you create an individualized plan to start working toward your goals.
You don’t have to be a customer to meet with a coach, and you won’t receive a sales pitch. In fact, the coaches are prohibited from selling products or services. You can learn more about the coaches and set up an appointment to meet with them at usbank.com/coaching.