Pinecone Research is the online survey branch of Nielsen Holdings Company, which not only owns the National Consumer Panel that many Hiffers have joined, but who also have an A+ BBB rating. With Pinecone, consumers earn $3 via points for every survey they complete! In some cases, members can earn even more by completing product tests. However, the surveys are their main method of earning.
Pinecone Research can actually be hard to join, as they open and close registration based on their needs. Once in though, it's a great platform to earn a little free money throughout the year. Most surveys pay in the $3-$6 range
They also have a product testing service with many opportunities to try products that haven't even hit the market yet. These unreleased products are typically in their final stages of development, so you get to keep the product forever AND earn money just by answering a few questions.
One impressive factor about Pinecone Research is their payout options. Since the Nielsen Company owns them, Pinecone also has access to their paid trials, surveys, polls, and sweepstakes entries. Sweep prizes are paid out either quarterly or bi-weekly, with the quarterly prize at $4500 and the bi-weekly prize at $500. Both are sent out as checks made payable to the winners, so they're literally free money!
Aside from contest, members can withdraw cash starting at only $3! Snail mailed checks are sent in quantities of $3, $5, or $15 or you can redeem $15 through PayPal. If you opt to cash out through PayPal, you'll receive your pay in three to five business days. For those who choose to receive a check, you'll receive your compensation in seven business days or less.
Their crazy low payout threshold, along with their BBB rating and exclusivity earns Pinecone Research a rating. It's hard not to love a site where you earn free money! Make your voice heard today and take advantage of learning about new products before they hit stores while you make money with Pinecone Research.
I gotta admit, this is a better system than my current method of coin disposal. I save quarters for laundry, dimes for sugary snacks at midnight, nickels just kinda get lost all over the place, and pennies are thrown out my window at cars honking before sunrise.
Some Hiffers have already found a few hundred dollars owed to them!
Wow! $113 from an old insurance company! Thanks! 😁
I did a search on your “Missing Money” link and found my husband about $58! Nothing for me (rats), but still great for my husband. Thank you!!! – Barbara
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My friends and I have shared various online chats since 2001, but we didn't discover Slack wasn't until 2015. It's now a program I couldn't live without. Goofing off and sharing links throughout the day with each other is so easy, even as we're spread across the globe.
A while back, one of the Slack rooms lit when a buddy of mine found an old link on Reddit about free unclaimed money. The following conversation ensued:
We laughed and my buddy proceeded to call his dad to walk him through claiming his $113. It was only later that it struck me. If one of my good friends didn't know about this page on HIF detailing how to search for unclaimed money, then I bet a ton of readers who haven't been with HIF since Day 1 don't know about it either!
So I decided to dust off this old post and republish it in the hopes that more Hiffers could find some free cash!
Wait, Free Money? What's the Catch?
Long story short, there are a few websites where you can search your name for unclaimed money you're entitled to. This could be money from bank errors, back pay from past jobs or employers, money from stocks, or from a myriad of other ways for money to be owed to you.
And this is serious money we're talking about here. Collectively, all the states hold over $40 billion in unclaimed money, assets, and property! California holds over $9 billion and New York holds over $16 billion. Even little old Connecticut holds close to $876 million.
So where does all this money come from? Well, for starters, the government is a big source. If the government owes you money and you do not collect it, then it's unclaimed. They're not allowed to just keep it! This also applies to private companies. State laws demand companies that owe you or your business money to turn it over to the state after a certain amount of time. This includes banks, credit unions, utilities, employers, and more. It also includes investments like pensions, bonds, or stocks, among other sources.
Many sources of unclaimed money come from deaths as well. It's not uncommon for wills to be outdated, leaving assets to distant relatives with a new names. It's also common for money to be left in you
As you can see, my buddy found $100 for his dad from a tax rebate he was owed from the mid-90s. The most I've ever found for myself was an $8 check from Verizon. But hey, it was something! I know of people who discovered unclaimed property from bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, stock dividends, literal unpaid wages!, tax rebates, insurance payouts, and so many other ways.
Find Unclaimed Money
State Unclaimed Money Forms
All 50 states, plus DC, have a dedicated state website with an official search form. So that should clearly be your first step in searching for unclaimed money and property! I highly recommend searching your last name and business name in every state you've ever lived or worked in. Below are direct links to each state's search form and you can learn more from the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Your next stop should be this US Government official unclaimed money guide. They breakdown all of the individual sites you can search for unclaimed money.
While the government doesn't have a central website for locating unclaimed money, they do have specific areas to look based on where the money is coming from.
Unclaimed Back Wages
Unpaid Wages – If you think you may be owed back wages from your employer, search the Wage and Hour Division's (WHD's) database of workers for whom it has money waiting to be claimed. WHD is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
VA Life Insurance Funds – Search the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for unclaimed insurance funds that are owed to certain current or former policyholders or their beneficiaries. Note: This does not include funds from Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present.
SEC Claims Funds – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists enforcement cases where a company or person owes investors money.
FHA-Insurance Refunds – If you had an FHA-insured mortgage, you may be eligible for a refund from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To search the HUD database, you will need your FHA case number (three digits, a dash, and the next six digits—for example, 051-456789).
Foreign Claims – U.S. nationals can find money owed to them from foreign governments after loss of property.
Beware Unclaimed Money Scams
Finally, watch out fir people who pretend to be the government and offer to send you unclaimed money for a fee. These scammers use a variety of tricks to get your attention, but their goal is the same: to get you to send them money. Government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets.
If you're an Amazon Prime member and you haven't used the Amazon Photo app before, you may be eligible to get a free $10 Amazon credit in seconds! Simply download the Amazon Photos app onto your phone or computer, sign into your account before December 20, 2020, and upload a single photo. You'll then receive an email from Amazon within 7 days confirming your promo credit.
This $10 credit must be used by December 31, 2020. In order to use it, you'll have to make an order including at least $25 of products sold sold by Amazon.com or Amazon Digital Services LLC (look for “sold by Amazon.com” or “sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC” on the product detail page).
Amazon has renewed this promo every time since they started this in July 2018. So if you previously took advantage of this freebie, you won't qualify again this time around. To learn more or receive your credit, head to Amazon.
With everything happening out there *waves hand towards window,* I know some people are having trouble making ends meet. You should see my bank account right now! 🙃While making money via quick surveys is available to most of us, I recently stumbled across an even better survey site exclusively for military families.
If you're an enlisted military member, veteran, military spouse, or military parent then you qualify for Military+Families. This includes Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves, which means roughly 10-15% of Hiffers should be able to join!
The payout for their surveys are a bit higher than what civilians are offered via other sites. This is a great way to earn a little extra cash during lockdown without having to put on pants! Simply answer a few basic questions to see which surveys you qualify for, then earn points and cash out for giftcards to Amazon, Walmart, Target, and iTunes!
If you sign up before May 31, you'll receive free Allstate Identity Protection throughout the rest of 2020. You're able to sign up for any of the individual or family plans, so this freebie could be worth up to $315.
Some of the services you'll receive are data breach alerts, bank account monitoring, and up to $50,000 in stolen funds reimbursement. You will need a credit card to sign up for this, but you don't get charged now. You will have the option to elect a paid subscription before your free service ends, but it's not required.
If you're not in the market for identity protection, perhaps this freebie from Ikea might help. It's a free instruction set on how to stay home in self-isolation!
This past summer, I wrote about earning money by scanning your receipt with ReceiptPal. This past week, as I cashed out an Amazon gift card with them, I started wondering what other apps will pay you for snapping quick photos of your receipts. Turns out there are a ton and my newest favorite app is Fetch!
If you've been using ReceiptPal, then Fetch will seem just like home. Scan your receipt with your smartphone, earn points, then spend those points on gift cards. You're literally getting paid for everyday shopping you're doing already.
After downloading Fetch for either Android or Apple iOS, create an account and enter promo code FETCH2K. This bonus promo code expires soon, but earns you 2000 free points – good for $2!
Earn your first gift card today
When I posted this last month, multiple Hiffers earned $5 gift cards right off the bat.
Thanks, Goob! In less than 10 minutes I downloaded the app, set up my account, scanned my grocery receipts from the last 2 weeks and earned enough points for a $5 gift card. This is awesome!!
Same for me as the previous commenter! Scanned the receipts I had in my wallet and along with the bonus (and a bonus for buying hot dogs, lol), got myself a $5 Amazon gift card.
I had a few recent receipts in my purse and, not knowing if they’d be accepted, decided to try and capture them. They were accepted and, along with the referral bonus, in about 10 minutes including sign-up time, I had enough points for a $5 Visa card. WooHoo! Of course I’ll be proactive now and build toward a real reward. Thanks…
How Fetch Works
One thing you'll quickly notice is how much more info there is with Fetch! Not only do they scan your receipt, but it'll actually break down what you bought into categories and give you a nice summary.
On top of that, Fetch gives bonus points if you buy certain products. These items rotate each week and you don't have to buy them in order to scan your receipt and earn rewards. However, if you happen to buy any of them, you'll get a few hundred or even thousand bonus points.
My absolute favorite feature is you have 14 days to scan your receipts in Fetch. ReceiptPal forces you to scan receipts within 5 days, which left me forgetting to scan tons of receipts. Now, I let them pile up on my shelf. Then I scan them each weekend and toss them away.
I find I'm earning points, and therefore gift card rewards, much faster with Fetch. Not only are their rewards easier to obtain by having lower thresholds, but even the time I spend in the app itself is small. The camera function couldn't be faster to snap a picture and move on with the rest of my day.
One of my small gripes is that Fetch doesn't work with some retail receipts, like clothing stores. I kept forgetting about this and trying to scan retail receipts before my pea-brain finally started remembering.
Can I use coupons or other receipt rewards apps and still earn Fetch rewards points? – You bet! Fetch can be used with coupons and other apps, so you can save money and stack your rewards earnings on top. In fact, there's no reason not to use multiple receipt reward apps!
How long do I have to submit a receipt? – My favorite Fetch feature is you have a full two weeks (14 days) after the purchase date to submit your receipts.
Where does Fetch work and what stores participate? – Fetch works with most major grocery, convenience, liquor, drug, club, and big box stores. A full list of participating sites can be found on their website.
If you're looking to get your IRS tax return in faster than Homer or before another huge backlog piles up, then I've got some free and discounted options below!
Who can file their taxes for free?
According to the IRS, anybody who made less than $72,000 a year can file their taxes for free online. This means roughly 70% of Americans are eligible to file for free!
The IRS has put together a collection of 9 Free File IRS partners that each specialize in certain states and AGI. Here's the full list of 2021 praters with direct links to their IRS Free File Program pages and I've listed any free state filings they offer.
TurboTax Free Edition – TurboTax offers both free federal and state tax returns if you use the most common forms, like a 1040. However, they even offer slightly more forms for free than most other services – you can see a full list by scrolling down and click on grey “tax forms” tab. Also, if you're a returning customer, almost 50% of your work is done by transferring last year's info with a single click!
H&R Block Free – Another free federal and state tax option is H&R Block. On top of being free, they're heavily promoting the difference between them and TurboTax.
H&R Block is offering 45 forms required for filing your free online taxes, which is twice as many as TurboTax. They specifically mention these situations to look out for.
For Families – Child and Dependent Care Expenses
For Students – Student Loan Interest Deduction
For Students – Tuition and Fees Statement
For Uninsured – Health Coverage Exemptions
Obviously, if any of these situations apply to you, H&R Block sounds like the way to go! Here's a full list of supported forms on their “free online” plan.
Credit Karma Tax – Credit Karma Tax is a premium product that's 100% free, from start to finish. That includes all of our super-useful features, plus free filing for all supported forms and situations. Have a side-hustle? Own a home or sold some stock? Other tax services might charge you to itemize these deductions – but we don't.
From what I can tell, they don't even have a premium plan, so there's really no coupons or promo codes needed.
TaxSlayer – The final, highly rated service on our list offering both state and federal tax returns for free is TaxSlayer. Like the others, this is primarily aimed at single, married, and student filers with a basic 1040.
FreeTaxUSA – Finally, we have FreeTaxUSA, who my friend swears by. One of their nice perks is that they offer all of their federal plans, both Free and Deluxe, absolutely free. So if you have a slightly more complicated federal return, you can still get it completely free with FreeTaxUSA.
The downside is they don't offer any free state tax returns. However, I looked around, and believe you can save 10% with either code FREETAXUSA10 or COUPONS10.
Free Military Tax Options
Those in the military have an extra option with MilTax. It's a free service by the Department of Defense that uses a version of H&R Block's software. It's available to all active-duty service members, anybody in the National Guard or the reserves, and to their families. Their free program has no income or tax form restrictions as well!
One nice perk is they have both a free toll number (800-342-9647) and a live chat if you have any tax questions!
Where can you get free personal tax help?
If you need help with filing your taxes, you may qualify for thefree IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program if any of these conditions apply to you:
People who generally make $57,000 or less
Persons with disabilities
Limited English-speaking taxpayers
There is also a free IRS' Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program that can help you if you are at least 60 years old.
Both VITA and TCE sites are managed by IRS partners and staffed by their volunteers who want to make a difference in their communities. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country.
These coupons don't expire until December 31, 2021, so you have a full year to redeem as many coupons as possible. It only took my sister and brother-in-law a few weeks to make their money back with last year's coupon book.
One of the perks of these books is that all books come with a digital subscription! That means in addition to your hard copy with physical coupons, you also get access to over 75,000 digital coupons. They're accessed via Entertainment.com's website or mobile app and are perfect for traveling away from home, where space might be limited.
I first posted about the Entertainment Coupon Books back in 2009, but it's been a while since I've refreshed folks on their savings. Each year, they offer location-specific coupon books that come packed with coupons for local restaurants, entertainment spots, and retailers.
Remember, this great offer expires on 11/9/20. If you're a Hiffers who already bought the 2020 coupon book, what do you think of it so far? Any coupons you've especially loved this time around?
ReceiptPal is a cool rewards app for both Android and iPhone that lets you turn your receipts into gift cards and cash prizes. My favorite feature is that ReceiptPal lets you earn points on almost every type of purchase!
Unlike Ibotta, where you can only earn cash back at participating stores, ReceiptPal works with virtually every place that gives you a receipt! For instance, I ordered a pizza last night from a local mom and pop restaurant. However, ReceiptPal doesn't mind that they're not a chain pizzeria and allowed me to earn points!
With their super simple app, you earn points through a variety of ways, including:
Snapping photos of your paper receipts.
Connecting your email to automatically credit e-receipts mailed to you.
Connecting your Amazon account to automatically credit any purchase with the online retailer!
As you earn points, you'll be automatically entered into their weekly sweepstakes for cash prizes. Once you have enough points, you'll also be able to cash them out for gift cards for Amazon or other local retailers.
What qualifies as a valid receipt?
Receipts are those where you or a household member were involved in the purchase.
Receipts can be from any retailer/store for consumer goods purchases of all types such as convenience stores, travel and entertainment, restaurants, grocery stores, clothing stores, sporting goods stores, electronics stores, gas stations, car dealerships, online retailers, etc.
Receipts must include the store name, purchase date, total amount spent and either phone number or zip code of the store (the entire receipt must be in the photo).
In my experience using the app lately, points are added to your account almost instantaneously. I've also found myself asking for receipts for small purchases, like a single soda at the deli, simply because it gets me one step closer to a free gift card.
So if you've ever wondered how you could get paid to upload receipts, then you should definitely check out ReceiptPal on either Android and Apple!
If you missed the earlier free EpiPen replacement post, then definitely check that out. It's an amazing freebie that's still active if you can't afford an EpiPen.
In that post, I briefly mentioned how HIF has a brand new free prescription card that you can print out and start using immediately. It's a free drug card that helps people without health insurance afford their important medicine. You can print this page or bookmark it and start using it immediately!
Well, today I woke up to this alert.
That's a $78 prescription bill that some Hiffer only paid $25 for! I have no idea who they are or what they bought, but the idea that I helped somebody knock 2/3 off their medicine bill puts a giant smile on my face.
If you don't have health insurance but still need medication, then all you have to do is print out a free drug card and take it to any participating pharmacist (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Costco, most grocery chains, and thousands of independent retailers) to get a free discount on your prescription drugs.
How much are the free prescription savings?
Most savings are anywhere in the 10-30% range, but as you can tell from the example above, some drug discounts go as high as 85%!
Again, this discount drug card is only for Hiffers without health insurance, but it's 100% free and all you have to do is print out a card at home and take it to your nearest participating pharmacy the next time you need any medicine!
Multiple Ways to Save on Meds!
It's surprisingly easy to use the free drug card.
Each of these methods works, so take your pick!
Print unlimited copies of this page (in black and white, no need for color!) to always have a copy. Keep a card in your car glove box, purse, wallet, etc. so you always have a free card when you need it!
You can also give printed cards to friends and family who qualify. There's no reason not to share the savings!
I will follow up with you via email, so please use your correct information!
Print a free pet drug card too!
It's not just us humans that need meds either! If you have a pet, you can also print out a free pet drug card! 🐶 🙀
Make sure you print this page or bookmark the link on a smartphone so you don't miss the savings!
I can't emphasize enough that this drug card isn't meant to replace health insurance, but instead help those without it. If any of you fall into that category, hopefully this will help you save a little money!
If you have experience with these, please share in the comments.
The Dosh app (or Do$h, based on their logo, but I refuse to call them that) is one of the new cash back apps that automatically gives cash back based 100% on your everyday purchases. It's like an automatic, mini-Ebates for your everyday food, gas, and clothing purchases.
After creating a free account and linking your credit card, Dosh monitors your purchases and automatically gives you cash back if you buy anything at a participating retailer. You don't have to remember to apply for the credit or click a link before you make a purchase. It's completely automated by robots waiting to replace us and designed to run in the background of your hectic, daily life.
I've been using it and a few other similar apps this year and they're great. While you won't make a killing, it's nice logging into my accounts every month and seeing I earned a few bucks simply for buying gas at Exxon or dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.
Since their founding in 2016, Dosh has already paid back $25 million to their users. Like I said earlier, you won't make a killing, but 2% here and 3% there start to add up over time.