“Found” Money

So, the other day, this article pops up in one of my news feeds.  I immediately thought to myself, “I know exactly what they’re talking about.”

Turns out I was wrong, but it was a good thought anyway.  While the Good Morning America segment is talking about the value of the junk in your drawers, I was thinking about the actual cash (or cash equivalent) that often gets lost in our busy lives.  Ever lost a small check and found it six months later?  What about that gift card that has $8.32 left on it?  What about an item that needs to be returned, but sits in the back of the closet until it is too late.

I’ve talked about this before, but it remains a problem.  Life is so crazy and hectic, and sometimes things get overlooked.  Hopefully, they are small things, but they still add up.  $5 here, $10 there, next thing you know you’ve misplaced enough for a car payment.

Is there a solution?  Obviously, there is no right solution for every person, every family, or every situation.  However, there are steps that you can take to improve the situation.  First, make a designated place for checks to go.  Try to keep it consistent from house to house.  (I know it is hard.)  Next, when you get gift cards, try to use them in one transaction.  It is so hard to keep track of, and use, small amounts of money left on gift cards.  Returns need to go straight into the car, with the receipt in the bag.

This is all easy for me to say, but less easy for me to do.  I’ve a stack of questionable gift cards on my desk, and several returns scattered around the house.  I intend to take my own advice and get all this stuff organized first thing tomorrow.  Really, I do.

Do you have any tricks or techniques for staying on top of the small stuff?  I’d love to hear!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Elijah

    I see that my computer starts working good when I show a little proof. I have no debit or credit cards. I had to cancel them because of security issues. Everybody wants to steal the old coin, no one wants to buy it.

  • Kara

    I used a giftcard with $0.21 on it the other day. My husband laughed at me, but I always end up with giftcards with teeny amounts! It’s not like I wouldn’t be shopping there anyways, so why not?