Found Money Update, March – June: $7759

by Julie on July 25, 2013 · 17 comments

The last time I wrote a found money update was at the end of February. It seemed to me then – as it does now – that I should probably do an update quarterly and that’s something I’ve put on the calendar going forward.

Since this update needs to capture not only the second quarter months of April-June, but the month of March as well, it’s a four-month update instead of three. You can expect another update at the beginning of October and we should be on track at that point.

The found money updates are broken down into two main categories:

  1. The money that found us
  2. The money we went out and found

Each of those areas will include detail and sometimes commentary about where exactly the found money came from.

In addition, I’m tracking a third type: found money from business. That section can be found at the bottom of this post.

So, here is the found money breakdown for the months of March, April, May and June:

The Money That Found Us

The money that finds us is the money that simply finds it way into our wallets or checking account with no significant amount of effort on our part.

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It’s made up of things like rebates, reimbursements, and cash back from the way we pay for things.

It’s the kind of money that you no doubt have coming into your life too. The key to making the most of these often small amounts is to decide on a job for this money and then start looking for it.

We’ve given our “money that finds us” the job of beefing up our emergency fund.

Here’s what it’s looked like since I last updated you at the end of Feburary. 

Rebates

  • Rebate for changing cable companies $150

Although we didn’t change cable companies because of the rebate, this was so not worth it. A nightmare. But what’s done is done and at least we got a $150 Target gift card to dull the pain. (To turn gift cards into found money, I spend them on things I would have anyway – groceries, household supplies – and then transfer the money from checking to our emergency fund.)

Cash Back

Earning cash back from the way we pay for things is a regular source of money that finds us.

Reimbursements

  • Ticket reimbursement $16
  • Health insurance reimbursement $100
  • Postage reimbursement from bookkeeping work $39.90
  • Mortgage escrow refund $199.08

This category ranged from the surprising (an escrow refund!) to the mundane (we bought my sister-in-law’s ticket for our church shrimp dinner and she reimbursed us).

Sometimes I need reimbursements to cover the original expense, so you won’t see it on this list. (Like the reimbursements for train tickets we bought for my daughter and three of her friends to travel from Prague to Krakow during their study abroad; I used the reimbursements from the other girls to pay the credit card bill.) But often I don’t need reimbursements for that reason, especially for small amounts, so they become found money and you’ll see them listed here.

Total added to our emergency fund from the money that found us = $676.41

The Money We Went Out and Found

Some money doesn’t find us; we have to go out and find it. And that money goes toward paying for our daughter’s college expenses and saving for our son’s college (he’ll be a senior in high school this year).

Here’s what that’s looked like since March:

found money thumb

Selling Stuff

  • Samsung tablet on eBay $150
  • Computer equipment on Craigstlist $25

These were some unused items we had around the house that I finally got around to listing online.

Total added to college fund #1 from selling stuff = $175.01

Blog Income

I mentioned my blogging income for the first time in February’s post, and I heard from many of you that you’d like to know more about this stream of income.

button-2012I haven’t forgotten…I promise! Part of my challenge is deciding exactly what to share with you, because the possibilities are many. So with this update I’m requesting that if you have any specific questions about blogging for money, you leave them in the comments below or email them to me through the link in the upper lefthand corner of this page.

I’d be happy to answer almost anything if I know what it is you want to know.

Total added to college fund #1 from blogging = $3615.92 

Bookkeeping Income

Not a lot to say here. I keep the books for two small family businesses and the small income I earn from this goes into college savings.

Total added to college fund #2 from bookkeeping = $3127.60

Found Money for Business

Last November I started using the found money method for my husband’s business. It has worked just as well there as it has for us personally.

The amount we added this time wasn’t especially thrilling, but what was exciting was the fact that we made a $2000 investment in some extra marketing during these months and were able to withdraw $2000 from this account to pay for it.

Total added to business savings account = $164.63

Wrap-up

These found money posts help keep me accountable. I’m often guilty of questioning whether – with all the money that flows into and out of our lives – tracking these small (sometimes very small) individual amounts is worth it. And then I do a tally like this one and realize that it is.

It’s only one of the Family CEO techniques that I use, but it’s a very powerful one.

 

Do you have small income streams that you’ve given jobs to? Do you have a specific question about blogging or earning money from blogging? Meet me in the comments to talk about it.

This post contains my affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more details.

This post is part of Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel July 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Yah I think everyone likes reading about the details of making money online. How much you made from each source, trends you see, what actionable steps you can take to improve income, and whether you consider the income sustainable are always big questions for me.

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Julie July 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for these questions, Daniel. I’ll do my best to answer them in an upcoming post.

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Melissa July 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I find these posts so inspiring! I’d love to know more about your blog income–what works for you, what tips you’d give to others, etc.

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Julie July 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Thanks, Melissa.

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kat July 29, 2013 at 9:13 am

as you know, i love these updates–looking forward to seeing them quarterly! in terms of blogging income, i’m most interested to know why you started blogging. were you looking to make it a side income? how long were you blogging when it started to produce an income? an extra $3600+ a quarter is nothing to sneeze at!

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Julie July 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm

More good questions, Kat. I’m making note of them.

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Eileen July 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

I enjoy these recaps! From time to time I’ve done the found money when funding a specific/expensive vacation. More recently I’ve used ING accounts and scheduled transfers to fund specific things (graduation present/laptop and a big ‘parents only’ trip planned for Sept). I noticed that ING (well I guess it’s now Capital One 360) supports mobile deposits and I’ve been adding “found checks” that way and it’s SO simple to do.

I have an unrelated to this topic question. After sending your daughter off to college, did you notice a difference in the outflow for her as compared to HS? Our son is headed to college in 3 weeks and once we pay his bill this week (he’ll have full meals due to the new and only dining plan they offer) and he has his summer job money for incidentals, I feel like somethings will go down (he’s leaving car at home, so less gas $, no school lunch $, lower grocery bill, no entertainment help).

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Julie July 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Eileen, I love Capital One 360, as you know, and I love your idea for scheduling transfers. May have to borrow that in the future.

Yes, we did notice a drop off. During her senior year, for instance, we spent about $2000 on dance classes, dance team, softball, basketball, senior year expenses, etc. Those are the kinds of expenses we don’t have in college.

We didn’t notice a change in the grocery budget because we lost a 5’2″ girl but still had a growing (now 5’11″) teenage boy at home. He ate up any savings we might have seen, pardon the pun. ;) Hope that helps. Good question!

P.S. Have a great parents only trip! Do you mind if I ask where you’re going? We’re planning one for next September to celebrate being empty nesters and my 50th birthday.

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Eileen July 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm

The one going off to college is 6’1″ so I’m thinking there might be some savings! We are already realizing the savings from him being done with club/travel soccer.

We are going to Yosemite, Carmel/Monterey, & Big Sur. We are both turning 50 this year, plus we celebrate our 25th anniv this year too. I started putting a small amount each payday away a few years ago before we’d even decided where to go. I was pushing for Ireland, but we settled on this part of CA (where we’ve never been). I think it’s costing almost as much as an overseas trip, lol! Accommodations in CA aren’t cheap, particularly in places that don’t have a lot of lodging! Our cheapest nights are in tent cabins with no electricity in the High Country of Yosemite, and that’s ~150 a night and then a splurge (~385) at a beach front hotel in Half Moon Bay our final night. Most places are somewhere in between.

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Julie July 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Wow! Congratulations to you on so many fronts. And yes, you’re going to see a big reduction in your grocery budget, I would assume.

You’ve chosen such a beautiful place for a trip. We’ve been to the Bay area several times and to Carmel/Monterrey once. Although no tents for us. LOL

Enjoy!

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Stacie July 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Hi Julie! I love these posts. It always inspires me to make my money work harder and not let the $25 here and $40 there slip through my fingers when it could be adding up to serious money. I’ve started a blog but I don’t know how to make it into something that produces income for me. Where do I start? How do I put ads on my blog? What can I do to get writing jobs? Where is it worth it to spend your effort trying to generate income? Thanks for the interesting post, as always!!

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Julie July 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Hi Stacie. Glad the found money posts are inspiring to you. I’ve made a note of your questions, along with the other questions I’ve received in these comments and via email. I’m working on a Q&A style post for next month, so be on the lookout!

Thanks so much for commenting.

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Judi Robinson August 16, 2013 at 7:00 am

Julie,
I can’t believe how helpful your postings are to me. I learn something new or confirm something that already believed. So funny to read your “Found Money” segement…because every other Tuesday, I dedicate two hours of time to locating lost funds . I call it .. “Money Tuesday “, rebates, cable bill reduction, etc… I have never thought of craiglist or amazon but do have a few items I could sell … keyboard, books, furniture … So thank you for the updates and great ideas.

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Julie August 16, 2013 at 8:26 am

What a nice comment, Judi. Thanks for taking the time to leave it. Selling stuff is win/win: less clutter, more cash. And I love your Money Tuesday idea. Genius!

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Cheryl August 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I love the found money technique and putting it into different accounts. I am learning a lot from your site and like the idea of treating your finances the way you would a business. In fact, I just reviewed our sons college bills and have found 2 errors that I intend to have corrected. I have never done that before just went along thinking everything was correct. Thanks so much for this site!

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