We’ve all been there. Sitting at home, twiddling your thumbs, wishing there was a way you could pump up your bank account a little, or beef up your income to make things a bit easier. Instead of pumping you with money making ideas, I dug up these 9 ways you might be able to unlock a little extra money from your existing life, while barely lifting a finger.
1. Unclaimed tax deductions
It sounds boring as hell, but tax deductions can be the answer to freeing up tons of cash. Some people neglect to ever claim any tax deductions because it seems like so much hassle, but it’s really not that hard.
Think about any aspects of your job that cost you money – or things you use at work that aren’t provided. Just today my boyfriend’s dad said he had to use his own personal iPhone to navigate with Google Maps for work. Shocked that those tools weren’t provided, I reminded him to claim a portion of his mobile data bill on his next tax return. Reducing your taxable income can trigger a tax refund, if it means you’ve paid more tax through your job than you owe.
2. High home loan rates
Recently, we very nearly sealed a very attractive refinance deal. We were set to reduce our home loan rate from 3.99% to 2.29%, which would’ve saved us $300 a month on our repayments – AND got us a $4,000 refinance bonus.
Sadly, the pandemic pooped on us a little bit and we lost out big time when the bank backed out, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Our mortgage broker Al Jordan of Woodrow Finance Group was amazing and basically sorted the whole thing for us. Even if you think you’re on a good rate, it’s worth having a broker look at your home loan rate from time to time, as you could unlock thousands.
3. Superannuation/pension accounts
When you’ve worked a variety of jobs throughout your younger years, you tend to lose track of superannuation or pension schemes that you unknowingly enrolled in when retirement felt like an old person’s problem.
Make it your mission to check for any unclaimed superannuation or pension money in your name.
In Australia, you can use myGov to find old super and consolidate it into one fund.
In the UK, the Pension Tracing Service may be able to help you uncover old pension money and help you roll it together with your existing fund.
4. Old savings accounts
Alright, this might seem silly, but if you have a free afternoon, sit down and log into all your old online banking systems. Even the most organised of us can forget – and even if you find a tenner, that’s a couple of coffees for your efforts! But, you never know, you might find some old birthday money you’d forgotten about!
5. High credit card or personal loan rate
If you’ve got a credit card or personal loan, chances are you’re paying some pretty hefty interest, and your debt might not seem like the first place you’d go looking to unlock money! That said, reducing your rate even a tiny bit can make a huge difference to your repayments and overall interest paid. Call your lender and just ask if there is anything else available – sometimes they’ll surprise you. Alternatively, you can look for interest-free balance transfers. Even 6 months of not accruing interest can make all the difference.
Example: you’ve got $5000 on a credit card at a 19% interest rate. If you were able to balance transfer the full $5000 to an interest free card for 12 months, you’d save $950 in interest across the year.
6. Poor savings account rates
With rates so low, it’s easy to ignore the rate on your savings account. Meh, what’s 0.4% between friends, eh? Well, maybe a lot – especially when it’s basically free money. Always, always, always ensure your savings are in high yield savings accounts – and sometimes that means opening a saver with a few banks to make the most of it. Some banks only let you have the bonus interest rate on one savings account, so if you’re storing your cash in a couple of accounts, you could be missing out on interest on the others.
Example: if you’ve got $5000 in a savings account with a 0.4% rate, you’re making $20 a year in interest. Switch to a 1.8% rate, however, and you’re getting $90 a year. Not bad for one switch.
What’s more, consider the compound interest. Leave that $5000 there for 10 years untouched in the 0.4% rate account, you’re looking at $5,204 in 10 years. However, leave the same $5000 untouched for 10 years in the 1.8% account, and you’re looking at $5,985. That’s over $600 you’d be missing out on if you didn’t switch.
Side note: generally interest rates would move up and down over that 10 year period, but for illustrative purposes, let’s assume it’s a constant.
7. Old travel money cards
Remember getting back from Europe in 2017 and not knowing what to do with that random 80 euro left on your travel money card? Well, it’s worth nothing sitting there on your old card. Speak to your bank or provider about how to withdraw it and do something useful with it. Especially with international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, don’t leave your old dollars waiting!
8. Cashback accounts
Ever used Shopback or TopCashBack or some other cashback provider and found yourself bored waiting for the 90 day payout? You could have unused money in your account that you’ve forgotten about. Check your cashback accounts for any commissions you’ve been paid and not withdrawn.
9. Service discounts
Switching utility providers or mobile phone companies sounds like a lot of hassle that you just can’t be bothered with – I get it. But, not only could you save money month after month, you might be able to unlock a tasty offer for switching.
Shop around for deals that offer new customers a sign up bonus, or see how much you could save each month by switching your gas, electricity and internet providers. Nowadays, often not much more than a phone call or live chat is needed to switch you over and save some cash.
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