When I worked, my company offered to match up to 6% of my 401k contribution. That meant that for every dollar that I contributed to my 401k account, my company would put in another dollar for free. That’s free money. This is a perk offered by many 401k plans, although the amount that is matched will vary. I’m continually surprised by the number people who never take advantage of the free money offered by their 401k plans.
Scholarships & Grants
When I was going to school, I applied for every scholarship and grant that I could find which I might even remotely qualify for. Many of them never panned out, but in the end I received several thousand dollars in free money that would have been debt had I not applied for them.
I remember when I was growing up, my mom would change banks whenever she needed a new toaster because banks were always offering them to open a new banking account. The new toaster of today is cash. There are a lot of banks which will give you a cash bonus for opening up an account, and even more if you agree to have your paycheck direct deposited. Don’t forget credit unions as well. You can earn several hundred dollars a year if you’re willing to move your money around which is a lot better than letting it sit there and having to pay fees to the bank.
Credit Card Reward Programs
My credit card pays me cash back for every purchase that I make. Sometime as much as 5% for certain purchases. If I’m going to pay for it anyway, why not get some free money back in the process? This only works if you pay off your credit card in full each month which I religiously do.
On the Streets
I’m astonished at the number of people that feel that coins no longer have value. That is the only reason I can imagine there are so many left on the ground to pick up for those who are willing to make the effort to bend over. Picking up coins isn’t going to make me rich, but it can add up to a substantial amount over time.
I must admit that I’m not a huge coupon guy, but that doesn’t mean that I will refuse free money when it’s there right in front of me. If there is a coupon for something that I use, I will take the free money. I also have a habit of writing to manufacturers about the good and bad aspects of their products, and this often gives me a lot of coupons that I can use. Those small amounts add up over time.
Community Shopping Sites
I do a lot more shopping on the Internet these days. When I do a search for something to buy on the Internet, I will often do so through community shopping sites. These are sites where they give a cash back reward for buying the product through their site rather than directly through the retailer. If I’m going to buy it and one place is going to give me money to buy it and another I get nothing extra for buying it directly, why not take the free money?
Lost Money Sites
I always thought that sites like Unclaimed.org (state treasuries) and missing money (state databases) were scams of some type, so you can imagine my surprise when I entered my name in one and it turned up an old account I had forgotten about which had several hundred dollars in it. Most states have forgotten asset sites where they try to connect money to their rightful owner.
Getting free money isn’t rocket science and it’s out there for the taking if you’re willing to do a bit of work. I know because when all added up, I’ve received over $50,000 in free money during my lifetime. With just a bit of effort, you should be able to do the same.
(Photo courtesy of dotpolka)
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