How to Find Money You Already Have!

Finding Money

Whatever your financial struggles may be, it is possible that you already have the money you need; you simply need to find it and put it to work. “How,” you ask? Three simple steps:

1. Make a budget.

Because money without a name will disappear, most people who prepare a written budget discover money they didn’t realize they had. Give it a try – you may be pleasantly surprised. However, even if you learn that you are indeed “upside down” every month, your budget is still your friend. Why? Because it tells you the raw truth . . . something only a real friend will do. A family I know (let’s call them the Jones family) recently prepared a budget which told them they were spending $600 more than they were bringing home every month. The good news is that they also discovered that they already had that much money – and more — they just needed to find it and start using it. How? Read on.

2. Utilize your income tax refund.

The average refund nationwide is about $3,000, but the Jones family normally received more than twice that amount. Think about what is wrong with this picture: They struggled to make ends meet month after month while sending Uncle Sam money throughout the year . . . money the IRS would clutch until the Jones’s filed a proper tax return the following year. By claiming more exemptions on their W-4 forms, this family was able to increase their take-home pay by $400 a month . . . a huge step in the right direction, but still $200 a month short of balancing their budget. Again, they already had this money, but weren’t making use of it until they applied step three.

3. Put your “extra” checks to work.

Because Mr. Jones is paid weekly, he receives five paychecks four months each year. His wife, who is paid bi-weekly, receives three checks two months every year. These “extra” checks totaled $5,000 throughout the year – just what they needed to be setting aside for property taxes and homeowners insurance (budget items which come due annually). Think with me on this: The Jones’s had already budgeted this $5,000 by having $417 automatically transferred from their checking to their savings account each month. However, by agreeing to always obligate their “extra” checks toward property taxes and insurance, they freed up $417 from their budget. Let me hasten to state that this tact won’t work for those who get paid monthly or bi-monthly because they have no “extra” checks.

This family, by finding and utilizing money they already had ($817 a month), are not only meeting their budgeted expenses, but also paying an additional $217 each month on debt reduction. Their stress levels have gone way down as their money management skills have gone way up. The Jones family is a happy family.

Have you applied any of these three steps to your finances? How did it go? Do you have any additional tips on finding money you already have? Leave a comment!












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11 Comments
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  1. These are good tips. My wife and I have utilized all of these steps in the past. Even though we have a set monthly budget based on our yearly salary, it sure is nice to have those months where we get 3 paychecks instead of 2.

    • Jake,

      It is indeed a good thing to get 3 paychecks during some months…especially when you have plans for that extra check!

  2. Sheila

    Thank you for reminding me of these methods. I have a tendency to forget about those months that we have the extra paychecks coming. I guess it would definitely help to try to think more long term (yearly) than just month to month as far as income is concerned. That does take some stress off those once a year bills or activities. Thanks!

  3. IL has cashdash.net. Money from IRA, investments, etc. where the owner cannot be found are turned over to the state. I found $175 and to this day have no idea how the money was mine. A friend of mine found stock that he purchased in the 60’s for a few hundred dollars and cashed it out for $50,000. A one time, that same stock was worth a 1/2 million. I’m sure other states have similar sites. Maybe you can get a finder’s fees from relatives for finding their money. It is all free to search.

    • Joe,

      Thanks for the tip. I tried it and, although I don’t have any unclaimed money, my 33 year old son has some (less than $100).

  4. Jeannie D'Amico

    I get your posts via email already, but saw this post about finding extra money on FB. You mentioned about tax refunds. I don’t get a huge refund, but I have always before really appreciated that check because I work retail and our hours always get cut after Christmas and New Years. I probably could use that extra money in my paycheck, although I don’t know how much extra I would get. I am single and have no dependents. Should I claim 1 or 0? only get back a few hundred dollars. Under $1,000.

    • Jeannie,

      If you normally receive under $1,000 refund, you should leave your W-4 like it is. Claiming more deductions might give you a few more dollars each month, but you are risking the possibility of having to send Uncle Sam a check with your return next April.

      • jeannie damico

        Thanks Joe. I really appreciate the feedback and will leave deductions as they are.

  5. This is one of the best articles I have read. This explains how to save money for the rainy days. I envy people or couple who are actually doing a budget for I have not done budgeting ever and this make me fall short from my expectations of saving something but in reality I was over spending from my monthly income.

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