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Ways You May Be Able to Uncover Extra Money for Yourself

Updated on February 1, 2015

Ways to Put More Money in Your Pocket

Some of these might seem obvious to you, but not everyone thinks of them or has the time to do anything about it. One of the first places I looked when I wanted to curtail our spending was our bills. There isn't much you can do about the basics, heat, water, sewer, etc., but then I came across the auto insurance. Just by submitting some requests via e-mail through various websites, I had the companies calling me, which was great because I didn't sit around making calls, which I hate. The only work on my part was getting the declaration page of my current policy, which is the basically the first two pages of the packet they send to you when you initially get the policy with all of the figures on it. In the end I wound up saving over $1,000 a year, and not changing any of the coverage I had with the previous company. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is the actual truth. I had to ask the agent several times to confirm my coverage and the price because I couldn't believe it.

The next thing I did was a little time consuming, but I made some money. I looked through the house for items we didn't need anymore, especially kid related items and sold them online. The fastest way to go is to take pictures on your cell phone and use the mobile app of the website, like Ebay or Amazon to sell them. That way, you don't have to download the photos from your camera or phone to the computer and then list them. The app cuts a ton of time. The only drawback is that with some of these websites, like EBay, they will take a selling fee the month after the sale. So, if you sell $100 worth of merchandise this month, you could pay them $15 the next month. You have to take that into consideration. Typically, there are special selling events hosted by these websites where you can list your items for free for a specific period of time. Also, I keep the earnings in my PayPal account and then use it to buy things for the house or the kids instead of buying them at the store. I feel like I am shopping for free. PayPal is accepted at so many retailers these days, you can even use it in-store at Home Depot and Lowe's right at the checkout.

Homeowners Insurance Companies get a bad rap most of the time, and for good reason. Let's hope you never need it, but you may at some point have an unexpected incident occur at your home that causes damage. I don't mean something small like the garbage disposal breaks and you need a new one. But, if your garbage disposal breaks, causes a flood in your kitchen which leaks through the floor and into your newly finished basement which causes water damage and so forth and so on, then you are more than likely going to need your homeowners' insurance to kick in. Let's face it, the person they send out to inspect the damage at your home isn't looking out in your best interest, but instead the hand that feeds them, so to speak. So, who is on your side making sure that you will get enough money to fix everything back to the way it was 100%? That's where a public adjuster comes in. They look over your policy with a fine tooth comb and deal directly with your insurance company and ensure you are being compensated fully for all of the damages. Now, sometimes they look everything over and tell you that the insurance company is right on line with what they are reimbursing you for, which is great. They have done their job, you feel better knowing that everything will be taken care of and it was a free evaluation, so it didn't cost you anything to find out. On the other hand, if there was a discrepancy and the public adjuster decided the insurance was only reimbursing you for bare bones, then you will be entitled to more money. The only drawback is that the public adjuster will take a percentage of the entire reimbursement check, which they should tell you up front. While this isn't necessarily a way to "make money", it is a way to ensure you incur less out-of-pocket expenses should an accident occur at your home. It is just good sense to know what options are out there so you can make the right decision for your circumstance.

Here is another potential situation which may bring you some cash. Have you ever traded in your car to buy a new one and purchased GAP insurance in the finance office at the dealership while they were asking you if you wanted to buy extended warranties and other sales products during the signing process? If you did purchase GAP insurance and have paid that car off or traded it in, then you may be entitled to a GAP refund. Here's how it works: You decided to add on GAP insurance at that time because you traded in a car that still had payments left and they gave you less money for it than it was worth. Basically, you rolled over negative equity into the new car loan. If you didn't purchase GAP insurance and you totaled the new car, you will only be reimbursed for the cost of the new car, you will then owe that negative equity. Since then, you paid off the loan or you traded in that new car for something else-you never used the GAP insurance. So, what happens to that money you paid for this insurance? Well, you are entitled to a portion of it back. It is prorated, so depending on when the loan is paid off/traded, it determines how much you get back. Bottom line-that is your money. Nobody tells you that you are entitled to it, even though they should. I found out by reading my junk mail one day and came across a postcard stating that I should call the dealership where I purchased that car from and ask for my refund. All I needed was a letter from the bank that gave me the loan stating that the loan was paid in full...really! So, that's exactly what I did-I called the selling dealership, faxed them over the letter and in about a month, I got a check for about $550. If I never read that postcard, I would have never know I was entitled to that money back.

Speaking of those postcards and other junk that comes in the mail, there could be some money in it for you somewhere in all that small writing. (Just a reminder that my GAP refund check came from me calling the 800-number from one of those cards) Yes, the majority of the time, it is junk. But, sometimes it is not. It could be one of those lawsuits that somebody else initiates, but your name is somehow involved. It is usually a financial institution, or maybe a mobile phone carrier, that overcharged some fees and you will get a portion of the settlement and in order to receive it, you may have to call or go on a website to confirm information. Of course be cautious of scams, because there are certainly a lot of those out there too, but the point is, don't trash it before reading it. You may be missing out on some money.

Another way you may uncover some money is from your states' Unclaimed Property website. This might seem unlikely, but I first heard about this on my local news channel. I went on my states' website, which if you search for Unclaimed Property ___(with your states' abbreviation), you will find the appropriate site for your state. Just be sure it's the government website, the web address will end with .gov and never pay for this type of search. If they ask for money, you are on the wrong site. So, they will ask you for basic information-name, address, date of birth, etc. and you will find immediate results. Unclaimed property can be anything from excess of taxes paid or maybe money left to you in a will you didn't know about. In my case, I had a paycheck from a job I had as a teenager that I never collected. It was about $115. I guess for tax purposes companies are required to turn that money over and it sits in this unclaimed property division until it is recovered. If I had never watched the news that evening, who knows if I would ever had checked that website or found out that money was sitting around waiting for me. It was certainly worth the few minutes it took me to check it out!


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