As I was rummaging through my golf gear (stored in the basement for the long-harsh winter that never materialized) I went through all the pockets…and guess what? I found…drum roll please…a $50 dollar bill!!!!! My wife and kids came running.
They must’ve thought I’d lost an eye the way I was screaming.
Have you ever found money when you didn’t expect it? Isn’t it a wonderful experience?
Now, since we’re all about honesty over here in Average Joe’s dungeon (yes, sir. This gruel tastes wonderful. May I have another?), I must confess I treat all found money as completely discretionary.
Here’s the rule: I can spend every penny without even the slightest ounce of guilt.
If you find money, what do you do?
So, if you want to find money, doesn’t it make sense to search places we’d likely have left some cash?
The first place you should look for cash right now
First, enter the following phrase into Google: “State of <insert your state> unclaimed property”
That search will turn up your state’s unclaimed property list – which I encourage everyone to check not just for your state, but for every state you’ve ever lived in.
You’ll be amazed.
Each state has an unclaimed money and property list and if you’ve ever left money somewhere, that’s where it’ll show up. I know what you’re thinking: I would never misplace a bank account. I know.
Here’s the thing: you may be entitled to a refund of some kind…maybe you paid home owner’s insurance premiums and they were too high. Trust me. I’m willing to bet my next bowl of gruel on the fact that someone who reads this and follows my directions will find money. It’d bring a tear to my eye if you shared it with me.
A couple years ago, I did the search for unclaimed money in our state and looked up relatives – and I was surprised when Aunt Donna’s name came up. I called her and asked if she ever did business with ABC Insurance Co., to which she replied that she had. I told her how to get the form to fill out and encouraged her to mail in the request form. Her response? “Ah, it’s probably not that much…so I don’t know…” WHAT THE @#$@? THIS IS FREE MONEY!
I would understand if the process took 6 hours, but in our state, it was a simple form and a stamp. Finally, I convinced her to do it…
Her reward? $418. It would still be unclaimed money today if she hadn’t looked.
Not a bad return for seven minutes of exhausting work stamping an envelope and completing a form.
The second stop on your treasure hunt
Let’s visit the United States Treasury department. Specifically, you should search the database of savings bonds.
Savings bonds aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be, partly because of their paltry rate of return, but that doesn’t mean that Great Aunt Betsie didn’t have a whole lot of ’em…here’s where you can check: Treasury Hunt Website.
When you visit the site, type your SSN or your Great Aunt Betsie’s and it will inform you if that SSN has any savings bonds registered under it.
Again, I know what you’re thinking: I’d never lose a savings bond.
Yes, you would.
You especially would if you were all of 11 days old when that well-meaning Aunt picked up that whopping $25 bond as a gift for you at the local Second National Bank.
Do yourself a favor and check the site for unclaimed money. Then tell everyone you know to check.
Because, get this: there are $16.5 billion worth of unclaimed bonds out there…that don’t even earn interest any more. That’s $16,500,000,000 reasons to check it out.
Any success stories? Post ’em in comments…if no one finds any money, I’ll donate my next bowl of gruel to the first person who wants it…
(About the photo….BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Benjamin Rudy, a Columbia, S.C. native, looks at a map that will help him find buried treasure while serving as a force protection non-commissioned officer for Combined Joint Task Force-82, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The mug and the map were sent to him as gifts from his kids, Logan, six, and Taylor, four, who believe he’s on a pirate ship to find treasures for them. His pirate character is a way Rudy bonds with his kids during long periods of separation.)