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:
- 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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.)
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!
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 contains my referral links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.