A Found Money Update (Or How Buying Fertilizer is Helping Us Pay Off Debt)

Found Money, Paying Off Debt / Friday, August 26th, 2011
Little amounts of money can make a big difference when you give them a job.

I’m a big fan of giving jobs to different income streams. In the past I’ve blogged about how:

I’ve also talked about collecting small amounts of money and using them to make extra debt payments. And since it’s been awhile since I’ve done a debt snowflake/found money update, I thought it was time to revisit it.

What is Found Money?

Found money is anything that comes your way that isn’t part of your primary income sources of salary or business income. Usually these are really small amounts. So small, in fact, that you don’t give much thought to them and probably just deposit them in your bank account or wallet, where they get spent on who knows what.

The small amounts of money I collected from June through August have been especially varied. Here’s the list:

Sold Book on Amazon $8.44
PerkStreet Cash Back $50.00
Choir Refund from School $20.00
Netflix Refund for Cancelled Subscription* $15.21
Sold Book on Amazon $12.69
Fertilizer Rebate** $40.00
Sprint Rebate $50.00
Agency Commissions*** $109.12
Medical Insurance Reimbursement $100.00
Unclaimed Money from KS $55.53
Gift $25.00
Jury Duty Pay *** $62.44

* I have an on again/off again relationship with Netflix.
** Get the title now? :)
***  Too boring and complicated to explain.

What to Do With Found Money

The key to making found money work for you is to give it a job. We have one non-mortgage debt we are paying on so that is where our found money is going at the moment. When that debt is paid off (yay!) we’ll get to have the fun discussion about where to direct any found money that comes our way. The two most likely sources are the emergency fund or car replacement fund.

But for now I took the $548.43 that the above amounts totaled, rounded up, and sent $550 to the home equity loan we’d like to get rid of once and for all.

Do you direct small amounts of money to debt repayment or savings goals? Where do you find these little snowflakes of money?

28 Replies to “A Found Money Update (Or How Buying Fertilizer is Helping Us Pay Off Debt)”

  1. Hi, just found you from money saving mom! I have a found money jar. One of my kids gave me a jar that counts what you put into it, so I want to buy a wheat grinder but I don’t want to pay for it. (it’s a mental thing) So I’ve allocated the money jar as my wheat grinder fund. I have yet to find big amounts of money, that only happens if I empty the dryer after my teenagers have done laundry! I think I’ll need about $200, so far I have $87.00 in the jar since June. Can you believe all that change. My son(7) loves finding money on the ground and he puts it in there also.

    As for paying off debt, if we stay on task we will be completely out of consumer debt by Oct. 2012, Home equity July 2013 and our home by November 2014. I know everything seems so far away, but we just started to buckle down with a budget and so far so good!!

    1. Sakura, I LOVE the idea of using the money jar for a specific savings goal. And how fun that your son is in on the action.

      Congrats on the debt repayment too. Debt free including the mortgage in just over three years? That will be wonderful!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  2. Hey that’s quite a bit of found money! It really does add up. All of my money has a job, regardless of where it came from, and a part of that is definitely paying down debt.

  3. Hey Julie! I just found you from Money Saving Mom! Love the article! I have never thought about having a found money account! Just this month I got all these checks in the mail, but have no idea what they all really amount to! I know it was several hundred. I’m going to make a note to find out and throw that on our credit card! How long have I been just spending that money when it could have gone to better use…

    1. That’s awesome, Maria. Since I’ve been keeping track, I’m amazed at all the little places money comes from. Sounds like that’s the case with you too. Thanks for visiting the blog and thanks for your comment. I hope you’ll be back!

  4. Also found you on MoneySavingMom.com and have had a money jar for years. Although its been quite a while since I have used it for a goal… mostly been used for fun money. But you have inspired me to make a goal and use the jar to achieve it – thanks! Looking forward to frequenting your blog. :)

  5. Found money you say? We received a lot of them last month. $100 from my brother-in-law, $25 from my kids’ godparents, and $7 from selling scrap metals and plastic). Of course, we are very grateful to all those people who gave us these “gifts”, small amount but big help.

  6. Two things that have helped me to keep an emergency fund padded are couponing and change jars. I use coupons regularly for food, electronics, everything. The money I saved from using the coupons is deposited into the fund. The other thing I do is always use bills (greenbacks) when paying for anything. All my change goes into the money jar and deposited into the fund when full. This really adds up and quickly. I bet you would be amazed!

  7. […] A Found Money Update (Or How Buying Fertilizer is Helping Us Pay Off Debt) – This was an update on $548 in found money that came from a variety of sources, including a fertilizer rebate. I need to write a complete description of the found money method and how I use it. Until then, this post is the closest thing to that on the blog and I link to it often. […]

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