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Found Money...No Not The Money You Randomly Find Walking Down The Street

| September 30, 2019

By Kristi De Rycke, Registered Assistant

So all of those financial needs that need addressed in your 30s will take money to meet them.  This part is to try to help you find those painless or less painful ways to free up money to address the issues of paying back student loans, paying mortgage, paying off any debt, saving for kid’s college or saving for retirement. 

Found money can be money you find one day walking down the street…. but it probably won’t be.  Found money is a concept that I have used to put money away for the future.  This term means any money that I had come into my life that I didn’t expect like a bonus, birthday money or an expected expense that was cut.  It also is money that I was willing to spend and decided not to.  The tricky part is that I had to take this money immediately either in cash or write it in a notebook and pull that money into a separate savings account.   

  1. Tax returns (it is always an unknown amount that you didn’t expect or haven’t spent yet). You can always just choose to save 50% of this and spend the other 50% if that seems easier.
  2. An item or activity that I paid for that someone reimbursed me for. The money was already out so move the money to the specific savings account.
  3. Rebates on items bought.
  4. A purchased clothing or other item that you decided that you didn’t need so returned to the store. Take that money that was already spent and put it away.
  5. Putting an item in your cart or basket and then choosing to save the money instead. Mark that money on your notepad, put it in notes on your phone or take that amount of cash and put in an envelope to deposit in your account later.
  6. Turn in your coin jar.
  7. Birthday money (could consider a percentage of it if it is less painful).
  8. Have drinks at home instead of the restaurant before you go out to eat. Figure the cost difference and set it aside.
  9. Choose to cook at home instead of going out to eat.
  10. Decide to split a meal at the restaurant, save the difference.
  11. Cut cable for a year and use cheaper options like Hulu, Netflix or YouTube TV. Each month put that money aside.
  12. Check your house and car insurance to see if there are other options. (Note: We have people that can help run quotes to compare)
  13. Buy a used car vs new.
  14. Keep your vehicle for 6 or 12 months after it is paid off, put the car payment amount aside each month.
  15. Make your coffee versus buy it.
  16. Prevent food waste.
    1. Freeze leftovers within a couple days so you don’t throw them away. First, Google if the food can be frozen.
    2. Look up recipe builder sites that you type in what foods you have and they will build a recipe for you.
    3. Plan ahead so you make meals that use up the ingredients.
  17. Buy an item generic that you don’t think will make a difference, mark down how much you saved.
  18. Avoid the movie theatres and wait for them to come out on Redbox or Fandangonow. Or decrease the times you go to the theatre.  This really doesn’t apply to the Belle Plaine King Theatre as the tickets are so cheap but certainly for the theatres with reclining chairs that require reservations.
  19. Sell items you no longer need on Ebay.
  20. Have a garage sale.
  21. Put in a few extra hours at work.
  22. Find a side job to raise a little extra cash.
  23. Cut your heat or decrease your air conditioning by 1 degree.

The trick to this is to write down or use cash and stash it away immediately, so you can feel the instant gratification and it doesn’t get spent later.  Have a special place in your wallet to put it. Or write these down every week and move the money over every week on a certain day. Make a picture in your mind of what financial goal you are striving for like paying down a mortgage so each payment goes to more of your principal, having an emergency fund so any unexpected expenses don’t have to go on your credit card or having a celebration that your student loan bill will not be coming in the mail anymore.