Find more money without more work
You’d love to find extra money to have an extra drink before last call. It’d be nice to find extra money to buy business-class instead of coach. Best of all, it’d be great to find extra money to pay off that extra debt. But, who wants a new job?
Read below for 17 ways to find extra money without finding an extra job, and download our finding money tool to find extra money by reducing your expenses.
10 super-simple ways to find extra money
1. Increase allowances on your W-4
Your W-4 lets your employer help you pay your income taxes in advance. A percentage of each paycheck is sent to the IRS to pay your income taxes. For most, this means getting a tax refund between February and April the following year. If that’s you, you’re giving the IRS a no-interest loan.
Who gives a no-interest loan? No one, except you to the IRS.
Request a new W-4 from your employer and increase your allowances so you pay less throughout the year. Please keep in mind that this may reduce or eliminate a tax refund. Talk with an accountant about how best to calculate this.
2. Increase contributions to your retirement plan
If the rich don’t pay taxes, why should you? One way to lower your taxable income is to invest more of your income in tax-deferred accounts, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, Traditional, SEP or SIMPLE IRAs. It’s likely you’ll be in a higher tax bracket today than when you retire, so take advantage of this tax arbitrage and reduce your net income tax payment.
3. Increase contributions to your HSA or FSA
Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flex Spending Accounts (FSA) are accounts that let you save and invest money to pay for qualified medical expenses. That’s the first benefit. The second is that your money in these accounts grow tax-free so long as you use it to pay for qualified medical expenses.
4. Use cash
It’s a dying commodity, but people who use cash for their everyday purchases spend 12% – 18% less than those who use credit cards. For example, “McDonald’s reports its average ticket is $7 when people use credit cards versus $4.50 for cash.” So, use cash and save yourself 12% to 18%.
It’s easier to use cash when you spend less money. Spend less cash by downloading our Spending Reduction Worksheet.
5. Pay attention to your money
Experts agree that simply paying attention to your money and your spending helps you better manage and spend your money. If you have no idea how much money you’re bringing home or where it’s going, you can’t have a realistic handle on your money nor control it.
6. Cut out big expenses
What’s that one thing even you admit you overindulge in? Do you get $300 haircuts? Are you making $600 a month lease-payments on your Audi? How’s that $200 wine of the month club working out for your budget? Cut the ridiculous expenses out and start saving ridiculous money.
7. Cut back a little on all your expenses
You aren’t one for the dramatic but the subtle? Try a corporate-like corporate cutting. Departments and whole companies often cut a certain percentage of expenses across the board. For example, cutting 4% on all expenses. Do the same. Need some help figuring out how and where? Start with this simple to use tool we created for you.
8. Return unused items
Have a collection of things and clothes you’ve never used, return them.
Return. It. All.
Stores like Amazon, Nordstrom, Home Depot and Target have amazing return policies. Ideally, have the tags and receipt. Have at least the debit or credit card you used, and you’ll get a full refund. Then, do #4 and save your receipts.
9. Redeem gift cards
Don’t have actual things to return but a collection of gift cards with a few cents to a few dollars? This is found money if you take them to PlasticJungle.com. Sure, you’ll only get 80% value, but it’s money you didn’t have to buy things you don’t need.
10. Pay off debt
What interest rate are you paying on your student loans, 4% – 6%? Save 4% – 6% by paying those off faster using the money finding strategies above and below. How much interest are you paying on your credit card debt each year, 15% – 25%? Pay off that debt faster and save 15% to 25% a year.
7 not-so-simple ways to find extra money
11. Sell stuff
Most of us have more stuff than we need. Remember that food processor you got a few years ago for Christmas and never used? Will you ever read all those books you’ve been collecting? How about that gently-used clothing you’ve been holding onto for when you’re no longer holding onto that extra weight?
Sell it! Sell it! Sell it!
12. Ask for a raise
You may not want to find an extra job to find extra money, but you may be able to find extra money at that job you already have. It’s not easy, and it will time, but earn it and then ask for it – a raise, that is. If you need help writing the perfect request for a raise, read our six tips to write the best annual performance review ever.
13. Rent your extra space
If someone’s willing to pitch a tent in in someone else’s yard, you may have more space to rent to a needy inhabitant. You may not want them living in your backyard, but if you have extra room in your house or above the garage, Airbnb or VRBO for short-term rentals or use the space for long-term renters.
14. Change banks
If you’re paying fees of any kind at your current bank, leave. Whether you’re paying ATM or low-balance fees, find a more appropriate bank, even if it’s a virtual bank. Regardless of your needs, you don’t need to pay fees. Of course, the freer the bank account the lower the savings rate.
15. Rent out your car
Have a car you never or rarely use, use Turo.com, JustshareIt.com or GetAround.com to rent your car to people who temporarily need it.
16. Sell your photos online
If you’re even a mild photo hobbyist, sell your iPhone or Android photos online to Shutterstock, Photoshelter, Fotolia, DreamsTime and/or iStock.
17. Use the Saver’s Credit
Take advantage of the Saver’s Credit. Instead of taking a tax deduction on your individual IRA or company-sponsored retirement account contributions, file for the Saver’s Credit. The Saver’s Credit may take up to $2,000 off your tax bill. Talk with your accountant first.
Now that you have 17 new ways to find extra money without finding extra work, you have 17 new ways to pay off debt or save for retirement faster. Be smart with the extra money you find and the extra money you find will work for you.
If even one of our 17 recommendations helped you, you’ll love our Spending Reduction Worksheet. Download your free copy by clicking the image below.