Monday, December 27, 2010

Found Money?

Yesterday a friend of mine excitedly told me she 'found' $280. She was organizing her papers to do her taxes and she found a statement from her brokerage account when she sold a few shares of stock last January 2005. The check for the proceeds was still attached to the statement. Of course, the check had expired, but a quick phone call to her broker resulted in the promise that another check would be sent to her.

What bothered me about this story is that my friend was ecstatic over the 'found money.' She should have been furious at herself for the oversight. In fact, it should be considered lost money given the fact that she lost the opportunity to pay down a debt or to earn interest on the amount.

When I have money owed to me, I jot it down on a little post-it note next to my computer until I receive the funds. I do this for refunds, rebates, personal loans, etc. If I return an item to a store and received a refund slip for my credit card, I put that next to my PC and check my online credit card activity every few days until I see the refund appear. Currently, my little list looks like this:

IRS refund $295
Amex credit $25
Qwest Wireless credit $75
Personal Loans $528
Best Buy rebate $13
Chase Visa cash back reward $100

It doesn't matter how big or little the amount is. If I'm awaiting payment, it goes onto the list. I hope I never let a $280 check slip by unnoticed.

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