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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

5 Unexpected Places in Your House You Might Find Extra Cash

Need $2,759? It could be right under your nose, in form of unused gift cards, clothes you forget to return, credit card bills you forget to pay, and more.

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Lost Receipts: $144 a year

Those jeans that don’t fit quite right? Stuck in your closet because you can’t find the receipt. Americans return almost 9 percent of the merchandise we buy in stores, according to the National Retail Federation. Many retailers will let you make a return without a receipt, though your credit may be for the lowest-ever price. When a clerk asks, “Do you want the receipt in the bag?” say no. Keep it in your wallet until you know the purchase works. Want even more extra cash? Here are 10 nifty ways to make a couple of bucks in a pinch!

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Unused Gift Cards: $48 each

Gift cards can get left in old purses and buried in drawers. The average card is worth about $48. Designate a holding tank, like an envelope or a file folder, and then schedule a shopping trip to use it. Record and store the card’s numbers (including the PIN) on your computer or phone. Should the card disappear, some retailers will replace it if you can provide those digits. (This is how you can make more money while you’re on vacation.)

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Missing Credit Card Bills: $665 a year

There’s your Visa statement, buried under a mound of catalogs and already overdue. Being 60 days late could saddle you with a penalty interest rate of 28 percent. If you’re making just the minimum payments, that would add about $665 in interest a year to a cardholder balance of $4,000, according to, an online credit card marketplace. Set your checking account to auto-pay at least the card’s minimum. Tuck any leftover paper bills into a drawer and handle in a monthly finances meeting with your partner, perhaps on the first Tuesday of every month.

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Rented Storage Unit: $1,416 to $1,812 per year

You’re going to use that practically new exercise equipment one day; you just don’t have room for it right now. So, like one in nine households, you rent a storage unit. Next thing you know, you’ve paid almost $2,000 to keep a ten-year-old Soloflex. Give yourself permission to toss (or sell) stuff without the guilt trip: You’re not being wasteful if you never use it. Try one of these 56 frugal, but effortless tips to save money.

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Stray Loose Change: $90 for the average household

All those nickels left between couch cushions, pennies in car cup holders, and quarters at the bottom of bags add up. Buy a piggy bank—seriously. When the jar fills up, haul it to your bank. Some banks will count change free for customers, as will some credit unions. Follow these clever rules that every savvy money saver uses!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest