10 Free Money Opportunities You’re Missing Out On

SAVING & SPENDING - BUDGETING & EXPENSES
Could you be leaving money on the table?
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
Smiling woman putting money in a piggy bank

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Have you ever reached into the pocket of an old coat and found a $20 bill? “Free money!” It feels good to find a little bit extra with hardly any effort. 

If you look around you, there are plenty of places where money might be hiding. Whether that means opening a new bank account or taking advantage of cashback offers, there are a ton of ways to earn a little extra income with little to no extra work on your part.

Here are some ways you might be missing out on free money right now.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources

Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Company 401(k) Match

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe 401k plan Document on table

A 401(k) account is a retirement account typically sponsored by your employer. Employers incentivize workers to contribute to retirement accounts by offering a match of the funds deposited up to a certain percentage.

In 2023, the average 401(k) match was 4-6% of your salary. That means if you aren’t contributing up to the full amount your employer matches, you could be missing out on hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. 

Not to mention that 4-6% compounded over your entire career could result in tens of thousands of dollars being added to your retirement accounts.

Rebates

chaiwat/Adobe online shopping and delivery service

Rebates are money-back offers on purchases made in stores or online. They usually require you to fill out a rebate form and submit proof of purchase, like a receipt and the barcode or UPC from the product packaging.

Only 2-3% of rebates are ever redeemed, which means a lot of people leave money behind simply because they forgot or didn’t think it was worth the trouble. 

Rebates may take a while to receive — anywhere from 6-12 weeks — so they won't be an instant fix to your bank account woes. Even if you have to wait, a small amount of effort can result in free money in your pocket.

Missing Money

Nattapol_Sritongcom/Adobe empty wallet with filter effect

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators estimates that 1 in 7 people have unclaimed property floating around. 

This type of property may include uncashed checks from past jobs, financial institutions, banks, or insurance companies, refunds from inactive accounts, unclaimed safe deposit boxes, and more.

The majority of claims can be completed online, and you can be on the way to getting your money.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.1

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

Try it

Skipping Rewards Programs

Andrey Popov/Adobe loyalty reward points program card

More than 90% of companies have some kind of loyalty program. 

While it may not be advantageous to sign up for every single rewards program from every single retailer, you should sign up for the ones from merchants you frequent. 

Even if you’re only saving a small amount on each purchase, whether that’s 1% cash back or free shipping, those rewards can save you hundreds of dollars over time.

Cash back sites

wifesun/Adobe woman enjoys online shopping

Sites like Rakuten or TopCashBack offer cash back when you click through their portals to shop on your favorite websites. They essentially operate as affiliates for various brands and pass some of that commission onto you for using their links. 

The cashback amounts vary and are often low, like 1-2%; however, some retailers boast up to 20% savings. While the amount you can make will vary based on your shopping habits and retailers, many bloggers report saving over $100 a year.

Employer Health Incentive Programs

Charlize Davids/peopleimages.com/Adobe group of business people stretching

Some companies offer health and wellness programs for employees to motivate them to make healthy choices. 

Incentive activities may include things like going for your annual physical or completing step challenges, and rewards can be cash prizes, gift cards, merch, extra PTO, and more. 

Taking advantage of these available programs can not only put money or free stuff in your hands but can improve your health as a nice side benefit.

Tax credits

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe sticky notes with tax credits

Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in your tax bill. Some tax credits are refundable, so if you don’t owe a lot of tax, you can actually get that credit back as a tax refund. 

There are tax credits for all kinds of things: childcare, health insurance premiums, energy-efficient appliances, and education, just to name a few. Even if you don’t qualify for the refundable tax credits, you should still take advantage of whatever credits you can to reduce your tax bill.

Welcome bonuses

Vittaya_25/Adobe manager giving bonus money

So many companies offer welcome bonuses for signing up. Credit cards, bank accounts, coupon apps, and more all want your business and are willing to pay for it. 

And since getting a new customer can cost companies up to seven times more than keeping a current one, handing out a $5, $10, or even $25 bonus seems like a reasonable rate to pay for new customer acquisition.

Take advantage of these offers, but watch out for the fine print. Some companies may require minimum actions to be eligible for the bonus. For example, a bank may offer $150 for opening a checking account but require you to have a direct deposit linked to that account for a minimum of three months.

Credit card rewards

pathdoc/Adobe showing credit card and banknotes

“Are credit cards worth it?” This question has pitted financial experts against each other for decades. 

While the science shows people spend more when they use a credit card, others point out the free money you can get for everyday purchases. 

The key to getting free money from your credit card rewards is to make sure you pay them off in full each month. Otherwise, the amount you pay in interest negates the cash back.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

High Yield Savings Account

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe savings account piggy bank

A high-yield savings account (HYSA) is like a regular savings account but pays a much higher interest rate, usually around 4-5%. 

Experts suggest using a HYSA for long-term savings like an emergency fund or house fund–money that you won’t withdraw for at least several months or years. 

The longer that money sits in the account, the more interest you earn. Be forewarned, though, as the IRS treats that interest just like income, so you will need to claim it on your taxes.

Bottom line

luismolinero/Adobe young girl taking money

Free money isn’t that hard to find, but it might take a little effort on your part. Most of the ways listed require an extra step or two outside of your normal routine — but can pay off big in the long run. 

While $100 a year won’t necessarily change your lifestyle in the next 12 months, compounded over several years, the savings could boost your bank account and have a significant impact.

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Author Details

Holly Humbert Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.

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