I’ve Stopped Letting “Extra” Money Disappear

One of my minor bad habits over the years has been occasionally acquiring small amounts of money — typically anything under $100 — and immediately putting it in my slush fund, where it inevitably gets spent within a month. It might just as well never have come into my life at all!

During the last five years’ worth of financial education I’ve had periodic crackdowns on this habit. For a little while I was putting all “extra” money in my Roth IRA, but I haven’t been seriously contributing to that for several years while I built up my giant Life Fund instead. (I’m starting in on the Roth again next month after my last 403(b) contribution is made.)

I’m going to have another go, though, in this season of freelancing/volunteering. Actually, I’ve already started! This month I cashed in $94 in credit card rewards and got a $60 reward from Saverlife. Transferred them both immediately to my emergency fund. (Side note: Saverlife is worth doing! You have to link a bank account and it has to end each month for six months $20 higher than it was at the start of the month, but then you get a $60 payout. I mean, I’m not retiring early here, but $60 for ten minutes of setting up the account and autotransfer and then waiting around doing nothing for six months is just fine.)

In August, I’ll get about $85 from Ebates and intend to do the same thing. (Side note: that’s a big Ebates payout for me; some of it is from buying contact lenses, some of it is from godaddy for setting up my professional editing site, and some of it is a referral fee from the blog: thank you, person who clicked the referral link, for helping keep the lights on at The Single Dollar!)

Capturing all the extra money is much less significant than making a higher salary would be. But given that I am where I am, capturing this kind of money is better than not capturing it, right?

5 thoughts on “I’ve Stopped Letting “Extra” Money Disappear

  1. I, too, seem to always spend these small amounts of money that come in to my life. It’s a bad kind of mental accounting: this always seems like ‘extra money’ to me so I give myself permission just to blow it. Which is silly most of the time: money’s fungible, I have goals, why not put this extra money towards those goals?

    I’ll have to check out some of those programs. Sixty buck here, a hundred bucks there…it adds up.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Exactly! It’s windfall thinking at a smaller scale. I’m not going to lie awake nights worrying about my past sins here, but on the other hand, why let a few hundred dollars a year evaporate instead of being applied to stickier places in my budget?

      I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the two I discuss here were not scams! I used to make a bit of cash on Swagbucks but survey sites are just not worth the amount of time you have to put into them. I quit a few years back. I just love ebates though — if I’m going to spend the money anyway why not get a bit back?

  2. I get extra money so rarely that I haven’t had to think about this YET, but yes there are options.
    Glad to see that you are picking up freelance work and doing well, C. 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, it’s not a huge amount. But I decided it would be better off in my e-fund than buying random stuff. 🙂

  3. Chonce says:

    Money is money in my mind. Sure, a higher income sounds nice, but I love when some extra money just slides my way (with little work on my part). I save mine as well!

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