Growing your savings by going on a ‘money hunt'

August 19, 2022

If you’re wondering how to boost your savings, you might find money in some unexpected places. Go on a “money hunt” to see how much you find, deposit your newfound funds and watch your savings grow.

 

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.

 

Check your person-to-person payment apps for forgotten money

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!”

 

Loose change can add up

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.

 

Look inside your wallet for unused gift cards

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.”

 

Returning extra shopping spree purchases

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."

 

Claiming your property

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!”

 

Saving found money

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. Explore your goals and meet with a coach.

 

 

Goals Coaches do not:

  • Recommend or offer any products or services of U.S. Bank or its affiliates.
  • Conduct financial planning or provide investment advice.
  • Make recommendations or give advice on matters involving health, including physical, mental, emotional or medical.

U.S. Bank assumes no responsibility for and makes no claims concerning the merit or sufficiency of your goals and does not assume any responsibility or liability for any losses or other outcomes resulting from decisions made by you, actions taken or not taken by you, in connection with U.S. Bank and U.S. Bank Goals Coaching services.

Related content

How compound interest works

How to talk to your lender about debt

How grandparents can contribute to college funds instead of buying gifts

Financial checklist: Preparing for military deployment

U.S. Bank asks: Transitioning out of college life? What’s next?

How to financially prepare for a military PCS

Should you buy now, pay later?

Friction: How it can help achieve money goals

6 common money mistakes to avoid

A who’s who at your local bank

Here’s how to create a budget for yourself

How to use debt to build wealth

Achieving their dreams through a pre-apprenticeship construction program

Transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce

How to prepare for healthcare costs in retirement

The connection between your health and financial well-being

Is a Health Savings Account missing from your retirement plan?

How I did it: Deciding whether to buy an RV

How to decide when to shop local and when to shop online

Retirement expectations quiz

Stay on budget — and on the go — with a mobile banking app

Year-end financial checklist

Checklist: financial recovery after a natural disaster

What financial advice would you give your younger self?

How I kicked my online shopping habit and got my spending under control

Credit: Do you understand it?

How to manage your money when you're self-employed

Personal loans first-timer's guide: 7 questions to ask

How I did it: Bought a home without a 20 percent down payment

Starting your homebuying journey: Tips from a U.S. Bank Goals Coach

Working with an accountability partner can help you reach your goals

How to stay positive when searching for a job: advice from a U.S. Bank goals coach

How to set yourself up for success in your first job

Growing your savings by going on a ‘money hunt’

How to build wealth at any age

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

7 ways for pre-retirees to get ready for retirement

Multiple accounts can make it easier to follow a monthly budget

You can take these 18 budgeting tips straight to the bank

Certificates of deposit: How they work to grow your money

9 simple ways to save

Are savings bonds still a thing?

Financial gifts can be a valuable – and fun – choice for the holidays

How I did it: Learned to budget as a single mom

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

Do your investments match your financial goals?

5 financial goals for the new year

Money Moments: Tips for selling your home

Parent checklist: Preparing for college

Which is better: Combining bank accounts before marriage — or after?

Does your savings plan match your lifestyle?

Don’t underestimate the importance of balancing your checking account

Do you and your fiancé have compatible financial goals?

Checking and savings smarts: Make your accounts work harder for you

Should rising interest rates change your financial priorities?

Saving vs. investing: What's the difference?

How to cut mindless spending: real tips from real people

Retirement income planning: 4 steps to take

Your 4-step guide to financial planning

What to do when you lose your job

Using 529 plans for K-12 tuition

Investment strategies by age

How to track your spending patterns

How to manage your money: 6 steps to take

How to discuss money with your family

Key components of a financial plan

4 tips to help you save for retirement in your 20s

4 financial considerations before changing jobs

Checklist: 10 questions to ask your home inspector

Webinar: 5 myths about emergency funds

Webinar: Common budget mistakes (and how to avoid them)

5 things to consider when deciding to take an unplanned trip

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

5 myths about emergency funds

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

7 steps: How couples and single parents can prepare for child care costs

Adulting 101: How to make a budget plan

Allowance basics for parents and kids

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

Finding a side gig to fund your goals

Helpful tips for safe and smart charitable giving

What you need to know about renting

Tips for working in the gig economy

How and when to ask for a raise

How can I help my student manage money?

5 tips for parents opening a bank account for kids

6 pandemic money habits keep for long term

How having savings gives you peace of mind

How to best handle unexpected expenses

How to manage money in the military: A veteran weighs in

How to save for a wedding

How to save money while helping the environment

It's possible: 7 tips for breaking the spending cycle

Personal finance for teens can empower your child

Save time and money with automatic bill pay

Stay committed goals creating positive habits

The mobile app to download before summer vacation

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Wedding

Webinar: Uncover the cost: International trip

What military service taught me about money management

Building a financial legacy for your family and community

First-timer’s guide to savings account alternatives

How to increase your savings

It’s time for a fresh start: A new way of thinking

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know what an overdraft is?

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know your finances?

Money Moments: 8 dos and don’ts for saving money in your 30s

Myths vs. facts about savings account interest rates

Bank from home with these digital features

Practical money tips we've learned from our dads

What’s in your emergency fund?

Tips to raise financially healthy kids at every age

Money management guide to financial independence

5 ways to spring clean your finances and save money year-round

Spring cleaning checklist for your home: 5 budget-boosting tasks

Saving for a down payment: Where should I keep my money?

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Building a home

How I did it: My house remodel

Are professional movers worth the cost?

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Home renovation

Beyond the mortgage: Other costs for homeowners

How to Adult: 7 tax terms and concepts you should know

How to Adult: 5 ways to track your spending

3 steps to prepare for a medical emergency

Family planning for the LGBTQ+ community

11 essential things to do before baby comes

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Starting a family

Preparing for adoption and IVF

Closing on a house checklist for buyers

How to prepare for a natural disaster

College budgeting: When to save and splurge

Webinar: Uncover the cost: College diploma

How to save money in college: easy ways to spend less

Checklist: How to gain financial independence from your parents

The A to Z’s of college loan terms

Co-signing 101: Applying for a loan with co-borrower

Practical money skills and financial tips for college students

How to build credit as a student

5 things to know before accepting a first job offer

How I did it: Paid off student loans

Webinar: Bank Notes: College cost comparison

How to use your unexpected windfall to reach financial goals

U.S. Bank asks: What do you know about credit?

Is a home equity loan for college the right choice for your student

How to apply for federal student aid through the FAFSA

Be careful when taking out student loans

Your financial aid guide: What are your options?

Dear Money Mentor: How do I pick a savings or checking account?

Military homeownership: Your guide to resources, financing and more

Webinar: Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

Consolidating debts: Pros and cons to keep in mind

Webinar: Smart habits and behaviors to achieve financial wellness

What I learned from my mom about money

I own two electric vehicles. Here’s what I’ve learned about buying and driving EVs.

Improving your credit score: Truth and myths revealed

How I did it: Turned my side hustle into a full-time job

How to get started creating your business plan

Talent acquisition 101: Building a small business dream team

Make your business legit

7 tips to help grow your business after launch

How to test new business ideas

Costs to consider when starting a business

How to choose the right business savings account

Does your side business need a separate bank account?

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.