7 Ways to Stash Extra Cash
By Joan Whetzel
There are lots of ways to earn and stash a little extra cash that are easy and painless. All it takes is a little discipline and a few seconds or minutes a day for most of them.
1. Coin Jar
First, try the trusty old coin jar - or piggy bank. At the end of every day, empty your pockets of any change and toss them in the jar. Periodically, when the jar or bank seems full, roll the coins in those paper coin rollers available at most Walmart and Target stores. After a while, take the coins to the bank to cash in for dollars. Store these dollars in a special "cash stash" can to be used for the occasional night out, to save for something special you really want (new car) or to set aside for emergencies. Even if you're only saving 50 cents a day, it adds up to $182.50 at the end of a year. That's a couple of inexpensive dinner's out for 4 people.
2. Set Aside $20 from Your Paycheck
Set aside $20 every paycheck or about $10 a week. Put it in your "cash stash" container; out-of-sight, out-of-mind. $10 may not seem like much, but this too ads up to $520 a year. That's a about a month's worth of groceries - depending on how many people you are feeding.
3. Set Aside A Portion Of Your Raises
Let's say your boss gives you a raise at work. Set aside a portion of it. Better yet, live one raise behind by saving the whole raise and living off your previous paycheck amount.
4. Reimbursements and Rebates
Every time you buy a product that offers rebates, cash them in and add the rebates to your "cash stash" box. If you get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses from your job, from a volunteer activity, or from some job you did for a family or friend, add the money to your "cash stash", especially if they other party gives you a little extra for your trouble.
5. Coupon and In-Store Savings
Coupons and in-store sales are a great way to save money on your grocery bill each week. Most stores these days print out your "savings" for this week's shopping trip at or near the bottom of the receipt. If you see that you've saved $35 after sales and coupons, instead of spending that new found money, take the cash and add it to your "cash stash" as if you had paid full price for your groceries. Put it out of sight and out of mind on purpose. Keep track of how much you save ever week. If you find you're saving an average of $15 to 20 a week, that adds up to $5,475 to $7300 a year. You could plop down cash for a good used car and never owe a payment. We're not talking high end vehicles here (Jag, Lexus, Rolls Royce), but we're not talking "rent a heap cheap" either. This would be a vehicle that probably cost around $20,000 brand new and is a few years old. It is in decent condition and still has plenty of miles and years left in it.
6. Quit a Bad Habit or Unnecessary Expenditure
You know which habits and expenditures I'm talking about here - cigarettes, weekly lotto tickets,
cup of coffee at your favorite expensive coffee store. Tally up the amount you spend these things every week stick it in your "cash stash" instead.
7. Odd Jobs
Do extra odd jobs for friends, family and neighbors, or even an anonymous gig you find over on Craig's List. They can pay you in cash or through your PayPal account. If they pay you by PayPal, all you have to do is transfer the funds to your savings account at the bank. Or transfer it to your checking and cash it out at the ATM to put into your "cash stash." What kind of odd jobs? Mowing the lawn for an elderly couple, helping an sick or injured neighbor with grocery shopping, babysit occasionally, check on a pet while they owner's on vacation, help someone move. I typed transcripts of some audio tapes for someone I met through Craig's List and got paid through PayPal. It wasn't much, but the work was easy and I ended up with a few extra bucks I didn't have before.
Cash Stash Container
The container you use can be as simple as a coffee can or as elaborate as locked cash box or a safe (preferably one that cannot be removed by thieves). Keep the container hidden where thieves don't usually look. If it's in a coffee can, hide it in plain sight - with your coffee making supplies. Of, course if you're reading this, the thief may well be reading it too. The point is, if you can't afford a hiding place that's locked and nailed down, or if you want a hiding place with easier access than a safe, put it someplace where you can put your hands on it easily, but not where the thieves usually look. They look for portable safes, coffee cans and other containers out of place, they look in dresser drawers and jewelry boxes… you get the point.
There are any number of ways to stockpile a little extra cash. And an even greater number of places to hide it or save it so that the cash is easy to get to. The fewer people who know about the money the better. I've managed to collect thousands of dollars over the years, which came in handy for a few emergencies. It paid a lawyer for unexpected legal services, rebuilt our entire fence after Hurricane Ike in 2008, and helped our kids pay off some overdue bills that they'd gotten behind on. That money may well buy you that new car you've always wanted, but on the other hand it may just save your hide in an emergency.