No need to search the couch cushions to drum up some extra money. Here, money gurus and real people reveal the savvy places to find (and save!) money with ease.
Claim lost money here.
“There’s actually more than $49 billion in unclaimed assets in the U.S. — from utility security deposits to tax refunds! To figure out if any of it may be yours, visit the National Association
of Unclaimed Property Administrators at Unclaimed.org, or search online for the treasury of any state you’ve lived in. It’s free to search, and you’d be surprised at what you didn’t know was owed to you!” —Ben Reynolds, moneysaving expert at MoneyShow.com
Check your receipts to score freebies.
“Take a look at the bottom of your store receipts before tossing them. Many have phone numbers to call or websites to visit, where you can take a quick survey about your experience. Dick’s Sporting Goods has offered a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase when you complete the survey, and McDonald’s has offered free sandwiches — it’s like finding free cash!” —Kelly Bates, mom of four, Cincinnati
Nab cash back post-purchase.
“A great way to snag ‘extra’ cash is to ask for price matches on past purchases once the price drops. But keeping track of everything you’ve bought can be a time-sapper. The good news? I got $300 back this year just using apps like Earny and web extensions like Paribus.co, which did the work for me! They monitor the receipts in your inbox and claim your cash back if the price drops. Refunds are then applied to the credit card you used to make the purchase, minus a 25 percent service fee — your first refund is free. They also track delivery times, so if you paid for expedited shipping and it wasn’t delivered on time, they’ll request a refund of the shipping charge on your behalf.” —Lisa Washington, mom of three, Rapid City, SD
Cash in with bonus gift cards.
“Take advantage when restaurants offer bonus gift cards for purchasing a certain amount — like a $10 card for buying a $50 gift card at Applebee’s. Most restaurants offer similar deals in stores and on their websites or social media pages. In some restaurants you can buy the card before you pay your bill, then use it to pay for your meal. Amounts vary, but if it’s a place you visit often, it’s really like getting free cash to spend!” —Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst at DealNews.com
Follow social media account to earn.
“New store or restaurant recently open in your area? The next time you’re scrolling through your social media, do a quick check to see if they have an account. In order to introduce themselves to the community, a lot of retailers will offer promotions or freebies on their Facebook or Instagram feeds. I once netted a free entrée worth up to $21 just by doing this. All I had to do was click through a link and show the cashier the voucher on my phone. Easy money!” —Millie Price, mom of two, Denver
Get paid to shop from your phone.
“I recently discovered a free shopping app called Shopkick that pays you when you make purchases from your phone. How it works: Every time you shop retailers—like Amazon, eBay, Apple, Sephora, Forever 21 and even experiences from Groupon and travel from Booking.com and CheapOair.com — through the app on your phone, it rewards you with points (called ‘kicks’) you can use to redeem free gift cards to many of the same stores you just shopped and more. Best of all, it’s simple to use.” —Trae Bodge money- saving expert at TrueTrae.com
Make $20 a week selling your junk mail.
“The one thing we get that we don’t ask for can actually be worth cash! For example: The Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKcenter.com) has a consumer panel that will pay you up to $20 per week for your junk mail — including spam! Your ‘junk’ is valuable to them since they use it to research marketing methods.” —Dawn-Marie Joseph, President at Estate Planning & Preservation, Inc
Search medical bills to get cash back.
“If you’ve had some hefty medical bills, ‘find’ money by calling up the billing department and asking for an itemized bill. Once you receive it, call back and go through it all, line by line, with the customer service associate. The reason it pays to do this is because according to surveys, up to 90 percent of hospital bills contain billing errors. It’s actually relatively easy to question the charges, and if you find a mistake, to make the changes. Then, after you negotiate the bill to the lowest amount, see if there are any perks to pay it off in full or with cash, if possible. Typically billers will knock off 10 percent right off the bat for doing so.” —Michelle Katz author of Healthcare for Less
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.