3 days into the easy money makeover, I've gotten $750 — here's how


Following along with the Grow 30-day Easy Money Makeover would, I hoped, make me more confident, more together, less stressed out by my individual finances. I did not expect to come out ahead, really, money-wise, except in terms of education.

Ha! Chalk it up to low expectations, I guess, because I am up about $750 after only Day 3.

On Day 2, as writer Sam Becker has explained , I found “up to $50” in my name back in Washington, D.C., where I grew up. Well, not exactly in my name: Technically the money is owed to “Lester,” but as the “Lester” they’re looking for resided in my childhood home, it’s safe to assume they mean me. Fourteen other people in my family, I found, are owed about $50-$100 each, too, including my grandfather, who died about 15 years ago. Good thing he has me looking out for him.

The big money rolled in on Day 3, though, when, prompted by the suggestion that I review my subscriptions, I noticed that the lunch service I used to get discounted meals sometimes around my office had somehow, without my knowledge, switched me to a more expensive plan and had been overcharging me for some time. Alarmed, I emailed customer service to ask for an explanation. Within 12 hours, a rep emailed me back:

I have our team investigating why this change took place. What I do know at this point is that you were charged more than expected and I want to refund this additional amount to you immediately. I calculated your refund … [and determined that] you are owed a refund of $706.28.

Holy cannoli! Because I looked, I noticed that something had gone wrong, and because I asked what was up, the rep identified the problem, fixed it, and is sending me over SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. This week!

It feels all the better because, in a rude surprise, I owed money instead of getting any kind of a refund on my taxes this year. So at least I’m getting a refund from somewhere.

Yes, arguably, this is all my money. But there’s a difference between money that’s technically yours and money that’s actually in your pocket.

There’s more than $40 billion in unclaimed funds out there, and some of it is yours, and some of it is my grandpa’s, and now a little more of it that belongs to me is safely home. While I’ll likely put most of that $750 in my high-yield online savings account so it can get busy earning interest, I’m going to keep $100 or so to splurge on something fun to underline the lesson that paying attention to money things can definitely pay off.

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