Now that you’re made your budget, it’s time to go looking for money that we have right in our homes, but is sitting there idle waiting to be put to good use. Search them all out, and right down the amounts. The total might surprise you! Here are some places to find hidden cash:
Spare Change. Check piggy banks, coin dishes, car ash trays, and anyplace you routinely dump loose change. This is the time of year to count it out, roll up larger amounts of coins, and get them back into your wallet to spend. Depending on your habits, it might not add up to a lot, but hey ... every penny counts!
Gift cards. Hunt them down, and check their balances. Some cards you can check online, others you will have to go into the store. Large value cards are great, of course, but even smaller amounts can make a difference. The $1.97 left over on a Tim’s Card could be applied to a new $5 card to give to your child’s teacher, for instance. If you have gift cards that are unused because they’re for a place you would truly NEVER EVER shop at for yourself or anyone you know, ask around among your friends and family, or post online to see if someone would be willing to buy the card from you, or trade for a different gift card instead.
Points Plans. Check the balance on any and all reward plans you participate in, and see if there is anything you can redeem your points for. It could be a gift item for someone else (body shop gift basket), something to help you celebrate the holidays (new cookie sheets), or an everyday item that will cut down expenses in other areas so you have more to spend on the holidays (Esso gas card).
Coupons. Coupons are like money in your pocket. You use them to pay down the amount of money you will owe at the cash register when you make a purchase. Now is the time to round up any loose coupons floating around the house, and make a plan of which ones will help you out over the holidays.
Bottle or container deposits. Collect up any items in your home/garage/basement that can be returned for money. In Ontario, this mostly means beer and liquor bottles. In some jurisdictions across Canada you can also return milk jugs, or other plastic and glass containers.
Credits. If you have any in-store credits from returns you've made, or money from selling items through consignment shops, find out how much money you have on account and either plan to spend it for items you need at that location (for gifts or everyday items), or arrange to have the money paid out to you, if possible.
Any other ideas of where to find hidden money? Share them with us!