It’s past time for a found money update. In fact, I blew right past the three month mark and am now at the six. So what follows is an update for the months of October, 2013 – March, 2014.
If you’re wondering what found money is, I summarized the concept here. But the basics are that I take any extra money that comes in that is not part of our main source of income (my husbands business) and I set them aside according to the job that I’ve given them to do.
For the purposes of these updates I divide found money into two, separate categories:
- The money that found us
- The money we went out and found
Each of these is summarized below and I try to add info about where the money came from. We’re also using the found money method for business and that is at the very bottom of the post.
The Money That Found Us
The money that finds us is the money that we find ourselves in possession of with no real effort on our part.
It’s made up of things like rebates, reimbursements, and cash back from the way we pay for things.
Almost everyone has money like this coming into their lives and often it gets put into our wallets or checking accounts and we never really know what happens to it. The found money method gives this money a job to do; that is the key.
We’ve given the money that finds us the job of building up our emergency fund.
Since the beginning of October, we were able to add $4196 to our emergency fund. Here’s where that came from:
- Costco business membership rebate $104
- Business credit card cash back $204
- Costco AmEx cash back $581
- Mr. Rebates $66
The big story here is that I changed our reward credit cards to those that pay cash back. Our former primary credit card rewarded us in hotel points, and it was great to occasionally get a free hotel room, but it benefits us more to have the cash in our emergency fund. We switched to the True Earnings Costco American Express, because we’re big Costco shoppers (as evidenced by the membership rebate above) and it also rewards us especially well for gas, restaurants, and travel, in addition to 1% for everything else.
The Mr. Rebates amount of $66 is cash back for online shopping. You can get $5 of found money just for signing up, then get additional cash back when you shop online through the Mr. Rebates link. I did a quick check of my Mr. Rebates shopping from last year and I received cash back for shopping at the following stores: Nordstrom, DSW, JCPenney, LampsPlus, Marriott, Target, Old Navy, and Toms Shoes. Click here to get your own account.
- Birthday money gifts $150
- Ticket reimbursement $8
- Shared hotel room reimbursement $100
- Christmas gift reimbursements $200
- Car insurance claim reimbursement $830
- Medical insurance claim reimbursements $600
- Bridal shower expense reimbursement $73
- Tax Refund $1280
It seems we’re always being reimbursed for something where we fronted the money. Everything from joint gifts with other people to car and medical expenses that insurance eventually reimburses us for. Sometimes the amounts we fronted were large enough that I need the reimbursements to cover the original expense. But often, by the time we get the reimbursements, I can just transfer them over to our emergency fund.
Total added to our emergency fund from the money that found us = $4196
The Money We Went Out and Found
Unlike with the money that finds us, we have to work a bit for the money we go out and find. And that money has the job of helping to pay college expenses/save for college.
Here’s where that money has come from since October:
- Craigslist furniture sale $55 (see more posts about selling on Craigslist here, here, here, and here)
- eBay empty print cartridges sale $34 (see how to sell empty print cartridges on eBay)
Most things we want to get rid of I donate and tax the tax write off for. But occasionally I’ll sell something on Craigslist or eBay and – when I do – I put that money in college savings. I made two small sales during this six month period.
I earn a little bit of money from the blogging and other online work that I do and I put these amounts into college savings. The amount shown below is my six month total after expenses.
I answered a few of the more common questions I get about earning money through blogging in this post. If you have a specific question you’d like answered, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best.
Total added to college fund from blogging = $5095.
I keep two sets of books and the small monthly income I earn from this goes into college savings. The thing that’s important to say here is that these are small amounts from two very, very part-time jobs. Yet when the amounts are set aside faithfully, they do add up.
Total added to college fund from bookkeeping = $4172.
Found Money for Business
Just over a year ago we started using the found money method for my husband’s business. There’s not a lot to say here, except the amounts are small, but we still set them aside.
Total added to business savings account = $268
Altogether the various sources of found money came to $13,731 for October – March.
I hope you find these updates helpful and that they inspire you to give even your small amounts of money a job to do. The effect of doing this has been powerful in our life, first for paying off debt, and now for saving.
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