$7689 in Found Money: April 2015 – February 2017

by Julie on March 6, 2017 · 2 comments

When I made the decision to start blogging here at The Family CEO again, I knew that found money would be a big focus. It’s such a little thing to do – capturing any amount of money that isn’t part of your main income stream(s) and giving it a job to do – but it’s done big things for our finances.

Plus, it’s effortless, and even fun.

The last found money update I did here covered a period of time that ended with March, 2015, so I’ll pick up there for this update and tell you what we’ve been able to put away since then, using just this one money strategy.

The total for the 22 months ending with January, 2017 was $7689.89. The job we’ve given our found money right now is beefing up our emergency fund, so that’s where that money went. (Past jobs for found money have included paying off debt, and saving for our kids’ college funds.)

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Rebates, Reimbursements & Refunds

  • $1663 Income tax refund
  • $588 Reimbursements from family for fundraiser tickets
  • $460 Reimbursement from friends for basketball tickets
  • $200 Reimbursement from daughter for iPhone
  • $157  Insurance reimbursement
  • $132.51 Golf tournament reimbursement
  • $80  Reimbursement from family for shrimp dinner tickets
  • $177.67 Property tax refund
  • $49.83 Reimbursement for business expense
  • $44.65 Medical reimbursement

Gifts

  • $250 Anniversary gift checks from parents
  • $500 Birthday gift checks from parents

Cash Back

  • $2579 Cash back from Mr. Rebates
  • $483.13 Costco Membership Rewards

Other

  • $325 Winning from betting on the Kansas City Royals in Vegas (Tom placed the bet in April…the Royals won the World Series in November!)

$7689.79 Total

A word about reimbursements

There are a lot of reimbursements on the list above. Reimbursements are one of the hardest found money sources to describe. One common source is when we front the money for something (tickets and golf tournament entry fees for example) and then are reimbursed for it. Insurance reimbursements of all kinds (medical, auto, home) also seem to be fairly common in our lives.

Many times when we’re reimbursed for something, we’ve already absorbed the original expense and can treat the reimbursement as found money. Sometimes, however, the expense was large enough or came at a time when we needed to put the money back into our checking account to cover the original expense.

When that’s necessary, I don’t sweat it. But if there’s any way we can do without the reimbursement, I put it in our savings account as a found money windfall.

What’s with Mr. Rebates?

I must tell you that I LOVE Mr. Rebates. I’ve been using the site to earn cash back on online purchases since 2006, so I can vouch for its credibility. It’s free to join (actually it’s better than free… you get a $5 bonus after your first purchase) and it’s easy to use. Ebates is another site similar to Mr. Rebates. It’s also free join and, for the time being, the bonus after purchase is $10.)

I’ll write more on how I use these sites soon, but if you’re interested in found money, check them out. Those are my referral links, FYI, which means that when you use them to sign up make money, I make a little too, at no cost to you.

You can do that too, by the way – refer others to Mr. Rebates and Ebates and use the referral bonuses another source of found money.

Wrap-up

We’re continuing to build our emergency fund with other sources of income, including my part-time job earnings. But I love being able to add $7689 to the kitty just from miscellaneous bits of money that found us is amazing.

The found money method continues to amaze me!

I can guarantee that if we had not given this found money a job to do, and had just deposited it in our checking account and gone about our business, there’s no way it would have ended up in our savings account.

Where are you finding money these days? Have you given it a job to do?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherri March 6, 2017 at 8:08 am

Hi Julie, glad to see you are back! Your blog was one of the first blogs I ever followed and introduced me to the entire blogosphere of personal finance bloggers! We are a few years older than you, I am not working, and my husband is about 3-4 years away from retirement. We are in good shape, but I have only recently tried to be more frugal about spending. Wish I had realized all the money flying out the door about 20 years ago. Better late than never. I just have one question. For us, food is one of our largest expenditures. I do not buy a lot online, other than a few books from amazon. So for us, I don’t think the rebate programs would pay off,. But looking at your rebate amount of almost $2,600 over 2 years, you must have spent a lot on online purchases. Usually these rebate sites offer 3%-5%, so that means you spent a lot online. Do you buy furniture or other big ticket items? Just asking, because I maybe spend $300 a year, and mostly from Amazon. Just curious. Great to see you back, will be following along.

Reply

Julie March 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Hi Sherri. Thanks for the nice words. Glad to have re-connected with you!

Good question about the rebate programs. There are two ways to get found money from sites like cash back sites: 1. cash back your purchases and 2. bonuses for your referrals. The amount that I receive from Mr. Rebates and Ebates includes not only my own personal cash back, but the referral bonuses they give me for people I’ve referred. Mr. Rebates, in particular, has a great referral program where they give you, the referrer, 20% of the cash back that your referee receives, every time he or she buys something from Mr. Rebates. So I still get referral bonuses from people I referred years ago if they’re still using Mr. Rebates. Does that make sense? Both sites make it easy to refer people with emails you can send, etc.

So referrals are one part of the equation. Also, even with your history of not spending much online, I would look at the hundreds of places inside Mr. Rebates and Ebates where you can earn cash back. There may be some you haven’t considered where you do shop, either online or off. Or you may be able to adjust your shopping habits to earn some cash back. (I’m shop online more and more because it’s so convenient and the cash back is a nice bonus.)

And, oh, I hear you on the food expense. Even with our kids gone, we eat out and carry out a lot more as empty nesters. It’s one of our largest expenses too.

Reply

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