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7 Places to find money in your house

After moving to NYC, I made very little money and had to maximize every dollar I earned. That lifestyle taught me many different techniques on how to save for the things I wanted.

Most people have hidden money they have forgotten about. Go and find yours.

Photo credit: JumpStock/iStock/360/Getty Images

You probably receive a lot of gifts over the year from work, family and friends. Go through this quick list and see where you have money hiding in your house. I know you will find some.

Gift cards

I have a Ziploc bag full of gift cards with a sheet listing the place and amount. It is crazy to think how much money is wasted if they aren't all housed together. I may have more than the average person; however, you should get them all in order and start to use them. Don't wait until "someday" because when that day comes, you might forget you have it lying around.

Deal sites

I am a member of about seven deal sites including Living Social, Groupon and Amazon Local. I buy around four discounts a year from each one. Keep a list somewhere of all of the ones you have, including when the promotional value expires (the value you pay doesn't actually expire). This way, when you need a haircut, a photobook or a yoga class, you can check your list first and see if you already paid for one.

Gift certificates

Since these don't come in a new hard plastic card, and are normally online or in an annoyingly large envelope, keep these somewhere safe near the gift cards. I currently have four restaurant.com gift certificates; one of the restaurants closed down. Make sure you check in periodically as to when the expire and if they are still in business so you can pick a different restaurant to use the discount.

Loyalty cards

Do you have some "buy 10, get one free" cards from local soup and sandwich places? I have three Hale & Hearty Soup cards with different amounts of stamps on them. It is a good idea to consolidate and cash in the free ones.

Unclaimed funds

Technically this is not in your house, but you can check online and see if your state owes you money. In New York state, go to http://www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm. I just checked while writing this and found money owed to my aunt, uncle and boyfriend.

Leftover miles

You may have closed a credit card with miles and have less than a few thousand, which won't get you a trip anywhere. Before they expire, check if you can use them for something else, like a magazine subscription or a gift card. That is how I got rid of the last few for USAir that couldn't be transferred on points.com.

Sell your books

I have done this mostly with textbooks, but if you have other books that are in good condition, you might net some money on Amazon or eBay if you are sick of them sitting on your shelf.

Happy hunting.

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