Saturday, May 22, 2010

Everyone Loves Free Money

In my mind, free money is just as good when it is perceived as free money - that $20 bill you found in last year's winter coat pocket surely came out of your checking account at some point, but I'm sure you jumped up and down when you found it!

This month I explored a few ways to find over $200 in free money and bump up the monthly budget (I did have a Nashville girls weekend to pay for, after all!)

A Major Reward
 - after a full year using our Discover More Cash Back card, Bob and I decided this would be the month to cash in the points we've earned thus far and apply to our monthly balance. Yes, you get a little more bang for your buck by ordering gift cards instead of straight cash, but that can be tempting to spend it on something you don't need and we figured we would be better served to apply it to our balance.  I didn't realize you could only cash in the rewards in denominations of $50 so we applied $150 to our checking account and still have an extra $22 hanging out in our pool. Wondering if we'll be able to build the points up in 2010-2011 as we did 2009-2010. Keep in mind, the first month we had the card we put close to $5,000 on with new apartment purchases! Being able to pay off the card every month has been a stress-saver for us and we look forward to continuing in that trend!

Change is Good
- I let my loose change build up for a full year - haven't cashed it in since right before moving last May. With a bag o' coins weighing down my purse, I headed to the nearest Chase to figure out how much I'd be bringing home with me - $45.50! Not too bad! I probably don't use cash as much as I used to, impacting the number a bit, but that is made up for the fact that I no longer have to save my quarters for laundry! I love you, in-unit washer and dryer. For both your freeness and your convenience.

Trade it In
- I'm a frequenter of and recently noticed the trade-in program they offer. I have had seasons 5-7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, unopened, in my closet for the last few years and finally found somewhere to send them in. (Craigslist postings did nothing, I still do not know much about eBay and - perhaps unsurprisingly - none of my friends were itching to take them home :-) The reason for the unwanted discs is that my original order of them from got lost so when I called about it they sent me a replacement order. Then, the original order came to me about a week later! The "trade in value" of the seasons were $7.50 each so I printed off the pre-paid postage label and sent them off. A quick $22.50 in Amazon gift cards - put that on top of the $50 gift cards I regularly earn with my Amazon Visa card and I'm thinking Christmas presents this year will be pretty easy to find. Now I'm just waiting for the 7th Harry Potter book to be eligible for trade-in - Bob and I had 3 copies between us!

So there are a few ways I made a few extra bucks this week without doing any work. If only it were always that simple. . .what have you been up to to make a little cash on the side? Nothing illegal, I hope.


  1. I am intrigued by Amazon's Trade In, but I can't find any reference to it on Amazon's website. All I can find is about setting up a store. Do you have a link to share?

  2. I also linked the "trade in program" text in the post - should have done that from the start! Thanks Amy!