My late nana, bless her soul, didn’t set much stock by banks. She, like lots of other older people, preferred to keep her money where she felt it was safe: under her mattress. It was only after she died that the family discovered this – and with all the banking crises of recent years, who’s to say she was wrong?
Though most of us now keep all our cash in the bank I can see how older people, used to being handed a paypacket at the end of the week when they worked, would feel more comfortable keeping their money where they could see it. This week I’ve been thinking about that generation, as I’ve focused on the money lurking redundantly around our house.
The concept of found money – basically money you didn’t really realise you had or didn’t bother releasing – isn’t a new one, but I’ve never done much about it till now. Found money is essentially cash that you weren’t aware you had or had forgotten about – whether it’s £20 still lurking in an old bank account you’ve never closed, or leftover foreign currency that you’ve never converted back.
Most of us have got pockets of money like that, and this week I decided that I’m going to start cashing in those chips. So I’m rounding up all those odds and sods – and in a rare burst of activity I’ve done two more things to make collecting found money into a bit more of an adventure:
- I’ve opened a new bank account specifically for the purpose of depositing money this newfound cash, so I can easily see how it tots up.
- Just for the fun of it I’ve made a new page on this site, Money Under The Mattress, where I’ll list and keep a tally of the found money as it comes in. Yep, time to get all nosey and see how much I’m scooping up from here and there.
Money Money Money
I’m getting quite excited about this new scheme, as I think of all the little bits and pieces of redundant cash that I could access one way or another. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- $100 bill from about a decade ago. When I came back from a trip to New York the exchange rate wasn’t good, so I didn’t cash it. Then, when it was good, I forgot. Time now just to do it whatever the rate or that note will be as old as the Founding Fathers before I get around to it!
- 550 francs Ditto the New York trip. I forgot to cash them in before the euro replaced the franc. Now I need to investigate whether Bank of France will still buy them, or have a think what else to do with them. Have I missed the boat with this? Are they worthless now? Need to investigate this one.
- £50 travellers cheque. Are you sensing a theme here yet? What is it about me and returning from holiday? Do I hang onto the money in an attempt to hang onto the sunshine? This baby’s days are numbered – time to cash it in.
- £60 overpayment on my credit card. Yippee. Oh, it wasn’t always this way. I used to be very bad at paying credit card bills (*slaps hand*) and was always incurring late fees. Now, to avoid those I’ve been paying £10 by direct debit into my credit card account each month. But as I’ve also been trying to no longer use my card very much I’ve built up £60 surplus in my credit card account. Ba-bing – I’m shifting it into the found money account toot suite.
- Money found in old handbags, pockets etc. Nothing better than finding a tenner in the pocket of your jeans. Any I find from now on’s going straight into the found money account.
- eBay proceeds. From now on, if I sell anything on eBay, which I sometimes do, I’ll class the cash as found money.
Meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more about found money this is a nice site to check out. And if you’re a US reader you can also use it to see whether you might have any cash lurking in unclaimed dividends etc. You might be in for a windfall – and I won’t even take a cut! (Well, not unless you absolutely insist . . . heh heh )
I’ll keep you posted on the found money tally too. Have you ever done something similar and how did it go? And do you think I should go for a blowout with the money I find or invest it? Hope you have a brilliant weekend, x
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