Found Money Update: $10,319

by Julie on February 27, 2013 · 17 comments

When I started writing this update, I meant for it to be a quick one, just letting you know what has happened in the time since I last updated.

But I wanted to say a bit about each area of found money and, as I wrote, the post became longer and longer.

I hope you’re okay with that.

The Money That Found Us

The money that finds us is the money that arrives in drips and drabs, with no real effort on our part.

If you’ve ever heard me talk about income streams on this blog and thought it didn’t apply to you, listen up:

This is the income stream that everyone has.

Your sources may look different from mine and the amounts may be larger or smaller, but it’s there, I promise you.

We’ve given the job of beefing up our emergency savings to this “money that finds us” income stream.

Here’s what it’s looked like since I last updated you in August:

Rebates

  • Costco membership rebate $67.62
  • Contact lens rebate $100.00

Rebates are an ongoing source of found money for us. The Costco rebate is an annual one and – with three contact lens wearers in the family – we seem to always have a contact rebate in process.

My poor husband should have married someone with better eyes!

Cash BackIMG_4062

The cash back we earn from our PerkStreet debit card is our most regular source of “money that finds us.” Our cash back to date (since we opened it in the fall of 2010) has totaled $858.

With PerkStreet, can have your cash back deposited directly to your checking account, but there is a small fee to do it, so I take my cash back in the form of a $100 Target gift card. I use it to buy things I would be buying anyway – like groceries, toiletries, and household items — and then transfer $100 from my checking account to my emergency fund.

I also received a small bit of cash back from going through Ebates to make online purchases. Ebates (and Mr. Rebates, my other go-to site) rewards me with a percentage cash back. This amount came from two purchases I made at Walmart.com and Lowes.com.

Both Ebates and Mr. Rebates pay you a $5 bonus for singing up for a free account, so you could have $10 in found money today just by doing that.

Reimbursements

  • Auto insurance reimbursement $100.00

We had to have my son’s car towed for a repair and, because we have tow coverage with our auto insurance, we were reimbursed.

Sometimes when I receive reimbursements, I’m counting on the money to replace the money we had to front; especially if the amount is large. But often, by the time a reimbursement has arrived, I’ve completely forgotten about it and absorbed the original expense, so I can treat it as found money.

Gifts

  • Cash birthday gifts $210.00

Happy birthday to us from parents and in-laws! Birthday checks always go right into the found money pool.

Total added to our emergency fund from money that found us = $582.70

The Money That We Went Out and Found

Some found money doesn’t find us, we go have to find it. Here’s the breakdown for this update.

Selling Stuff

  • Amazon sales – books $21.21
  • eBay sale – printer cartridges from old printer $58.56
  • Craigslist sale – ceiling fan $10.00

Knowing how to sell stuff – especially online – has been so helpful to me since much of my Family CEO job description seems to be managing our stuff.

Can you relate?

These three sales are a perfect example of how I use the three big online selling sites:

  • Amazon for books
  • eBay for small, shippable items
  • Craigslist for furniture and larger household items

I used to treat online sales as money that found us and put it into our emergency fund. But since it requires a bit of effort on my part, I decided to start treating it as money we go out and find and putting it into the college fund to offset my daughter’s college costs.

Total added to college fund #1 from selling stuff = $89.77

Blogging Income

I’ve never talked about my blogging income before, other than to mention that it exists. It’s safe to say that it’s a pretty modest income stream, but since it’s for something I love to do and would (and have!) done for free, I’m happy to have it.

Besides, the found money method was made for small amounts of money.

The blogging income stream is also earmarked for college fund #1, for my daughter.

Total added to college fund #1 from blogging = $4147

I’m committed to growing this income stream. If you’d like to hear more about blogging for income, let me know in the comments or by shooting me an email.

Bookkeeping Income

Numbers Nerd

I keep the books for two small family businesses and this provides a small income stream each month. It’s been used in the past to pay off debt and to save up for a used car for my son.

But once those goals were met, this income stream had no job to do and the bookkeeping income was just deposited into our checking account each month.

Guess what? It got spent.

Back in August I gave the bookkeeping income the job of funding a second savings account for college, which is earmarked for my son.

I also changed the direct deposit info on one of the bookkeeping paychecks from our checking account to the Capital One 360 savings account designated as college fund #2. That took all the thinking out of it for me.

The second bookkeeping paycheck I still get by check, so I’ve had to be more diligent to make sure that it gets transferred to the savings account. (Read more about how I use an individual savings account for each savings goal.)

Result?

Total added to college fund #2 from bookkeeping = $4136

Using the Found Money Method for Business

In November I shared with you that we had started a savings account for my husband’s business. This was long, long overdue.

My husband loves what he does and is really good at it. His business income is the workhorse of the family. It pays for everything we need and much of what we want.

I’ve always wanted to have a savings account just for the business, so that my husband could make future investments in it, without using debt.

Last August, I started a business savings account, also at Capital One 360 (formerly ING).

Without going into too much detail, my husband has an insurance agency and 99.99% of his income comes from the company he is a contractor for. But several times a month he receives small checks from other companies, for reasons too boring to go into here.

Those checks are the main source of funding for this savings account.

The last time I updated you the business savings account stood at $783. Since that time we’ve continued to add those small, irregular checks to it. We also had one large infusion of $491 in cash back from his business credit card, Chase INK.

Total added to business savings account = $ 1365

That brings this account total to $2148. That’s so exciting to me.

I’m not sure what this money will be used for. Possibilities include additional advertising or marketing, or to someday help offset the cost of a new staff member.

In the meantime, it also serves as a little extra emergency fund.

The found money method continues to work so well for us!

Wrap-Up

Whew! So there’s the short, quick post that became a monster.

I write these posts as a way of keeping myself accountable and organizing my thoughts. I also hope that the information they contain is helpful – and maybe even inspiring – to you.

Of all the things I’ve done and learned as a Family CEO, this found money method has been the most powerful.

Do you have small income streams that have been given jobs to do? Are you interested in more information about earning money from blogging? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

This post is part of Penny Pinching Party and Works for Me Wednesday.

This post contains my referral links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate February 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Wow — it is amazing how much found money there is, if you’re willing to look for it and get creative!

If you don’t mind me asking, for the college funds, was that saved since the last found money update in August? And if so, what are your tips/suggestions on blogging for income?

Thanks!

Reply

Julie February 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Kate, yes the college fund numbers are the amounts saved since the last update.

Blogging for income is a big, big topic and I’m still figuring it out myself. I’ve already had a couple of inquiries about it so I’ll plan to do some blogging about it in the future. Until then, if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them here or email me through the contact link at the top of the blog. I’d be happy to share what I know.

Thanks for your comment. – Julie

Reply

Wayne @ Young Family Finance February 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm

That’s a lot of found money! I love all your different ideas. I should really look into selling our stuff online; I seem to be quite the dinosaur. Is it difficult to get into? I’ve been saving all of our junk for a garage sale, but being able to release it over time online sounds like a great idea.

Reply

Julie February 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Wayne, there is a learning curve, but it’s not that difficult.

Here are some places where I’ve talked about it:

My Weekend Selling on Craigslist (see the tips at the end of the post): http://thefamilyceoblog.com/2012/03/cash-in-stuff-out-my-weekend-selling-on-craigslist/

What Kind of Stuff Sells on eBay? http://thefamilyceoblog.com/2011/02/what-kind-of-stuff-sells-on-ebay/

Quick Tip: eBay Complete Listings: http://thefamilyceoblog.com/2008/04/ebay-completed-listings/

Hope that helps! – Julie

Reply

Marie at Family Money Values February 28, 2013 at 8:58 am

It’s fun to set the goals and see the money grow to meet them! Believe it or not, it is still fun even after you achieve significant success!

Reply

Julie February 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Awesome, Marie. Good to know!

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Suzita @ playfightrepeat.com February 28, 2013 at 9:40 am

Great post, thanks! I would like to hear more about how you make money from your blog.

Reply

Julie February 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Suzita, I’m getting a lot of feedback like yours, so look for a post or two on blogging coming soon.

Reply

Stacie February 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

Way to go Julie!!! That is awesome! You’ve definitely inspired me to tally up my recent totals & make sure I’m giving ALL my “non-paycheck” money a job. I so relate to the part about the money that has no place to go other than your checking account: gets spent! I am so excited for you. 10k is a lot! Thanks for taking the time to detail it for us. I found it a very worthwhile read. And I will chime in with another request to tell us about how to make money blogging. It seems like a fun way to generate a little bit of income. Tell me if I’m wrong! :)

Reply

Julie February 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm

You’re not wrong, Stacie. It’s a very fun way to generate income. Not the easiest way, but maybe the most fun way. :) Thanks for your nice comment.

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Barb @ A Life in Balance March 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Wow! I am so glad you linked this up to Fabulously Frugal Thursday! To me, one of the key takeaways in your post is that you put the money into savings funds rather than putting it into your checking account and then hopefully remembering to move it. I need to be more diligent about that myself.

Reply

Connie L. March 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Great post!

Tell me more about this Costco membership rebate!! I’ve never heard about it… I’m interested :)

Reply

Julie March 10, 2013 at 8:43 am

I would really like to read more about your income from blogging, I already have a blog but seem to be “stuck” when it comes to actually generating any kind of income from it as of yet.

I would love to hear about some of your ideas on how to do this more effectively!

Reply

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