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Want a little extra money? You might already have some

Many of us wish that we had a little extra money. It’s common to want to have a little more financial security. While there are a number of ways to earn extra money, from starting a business to taking on a part-time job, you might be surprised to find that you already have money.

In some cases, it might be an overpayment to a utility company, or it might be tax return money you haven’t claimed. No matter the reason, there might be money that you’re missing.

Go online to

If you are curious about whether or not you are missing money, it only takes a quick search of The web site includes information from participating provinces — as well as US states. Every week, the information on the site is updated. After running a search, you can see whether or not you have unclaimed money. The results tell you what province or state holds the money, and what the organization is reporting it. It also lets you know whether you are owed less than $100 or more than $100 (if the information is available).

Once you know where the money is, the site can actually help you communicate directly with the province (or state) in question so that you can learn how to recover your money.

What if you don’t have missing money?

Of course, you might not have the missing money. While it’s worth the minute or so it takes to search for missing money, you might not find any. If that is the case, though, you can still look for ways to improve your financial situation by plugging money leaks. If you have been wasting money, you can essentially find your own missing money by identifying which leaks to stop up.

Track your spending for one to three months to see where the money is going. You might find that there are money leaks that are costing you big. Once you plug those up, you can essentially “find” more money in your budget. That is money that is considered missing as well, and there is no reason to let it continue to leak out of your budget when you can put it to better use.

Ideas for missing money

Whether you find your missing money through a web site, or whether you plug up your money leaks, you want to put that money to good use. Some of your options for putting missing money to work on your behalf include:

Consider what use of your missing money will best benefit you right now, and help you reach your goals. While it might be exciting to buy something fun with your missing money, will it help you improve your financial situation? Consider your goals. Even if you only “find” that you have a couple hundred dollars, that money, carefully used, could offer great results down the road. Look around for money that’s already yours, and then do what you can to use it to improve your financial situation.


  1. Stewart Rand

    I just want to note that only covers Alberta. (my site) uses the actual, up-to-date Bank of Canada unclaimed money database (400,000+ unclaimed accounts as of 2012) and covers all the provinces and territories. You can find this same information on the Bank of Canada web site, but I think you’ll find my site much more helpful, as it allows you to search by city name, amount, year, and other options the official Bank of Canada site doesn’t offer.


    • Cherleen @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance

      I am sorry, Stewart. I tried to play around the search fields using the names of my friends and relatives and the results reported addresses from various US states. I also an auntie’s name on it. I called her and she confirmed that she lived on the address provided and was a policyholder of the insurance company that reported the money. She will be over $500 richer (because there were 5 reports on her name) and she promised to share a part of them when she receives the money. Thanks for sharing the info, Tom!

  2. Vision Investment Properties

    Nice article, Tom. I like that you include increasing contributions to RRSP. Individuals who want to earn extra cash should consider the very real option of real estate. It not only generates a monthly revenue, a mortgage for an investment property can be placed in a RRSP account, eliminating the higher interest mortgage loan to the bank and allowing the individual to instead repay the RRSP, generating an even greater monthly revenue that can be saved or invested elsewhere (perhaps more properties?).

    • Russell Matthews

      Tom/Vision Investment Properties
      Great post. RRSP’s are a great investment and so can be real estate. I like the idea of real estate but only once I have settled in one area. I like total control over each and every one of my investments and I wouldn’t be able to put my mind at ease not being near my rental property (still travelling and moving frequently!).

  3. The Wallet Doctor

    Very interesting! I never heard of this before. What a great thing to discover you have some extra money just waiting for you!

  4. Marie @ My Personal Finance Journey

    I want to try that but I’m not living from the US. Right now, I’m focusing on paying down my debts and to increase my savings monthly.

  5. Jonny

    Tracking your spending can be a real eye opener the first time around. It shows which categories you may be unnecessarily splurging on and helps curve future spending habits as well. Great post. I’m going to look in my couch cushions right now!

  6. Nature Tracker

    Great post!

    I have been tracking my spending for the past 5 years now. It does help me determine when I am ready for a purchase whether car, a new tv, etc. But now, I’m working on a personal challenge to be a millionaire by 50.

    I also invest in TFSA and RESP (with max contributions to maximize grants).

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