For us, Easter egg hunts never lost their joy: Going outside on a pretty spring day to find little treats hidden in unexpected (and sometimes totally expected) places?
But wouldn’t it be great if, instead of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks, those eggs were stuffed with money? Well, they can be … as long as you know where to look.
That's why we’ve decided to elevate the Easter egg hunt to a whole new level by dropping hints for you (big, giant, whopping ones) on where to find extra money and savings this spring.
The best part? You don’t even need to put on your Sunday best to fill your metaphorical Easter basket with bills instead of bunnies.
Get started with a free financial assessment.
Get started with a free financial assessment.
Hint # 1: Spring Clean ... for Cash
Let’s start your hunt in the house. You likely have money hidden all over your home in the form of clothing, electronics and other items you no longer want or need.
So as you’re organizing your closets, dusting your bookshelves and cleaning out your drawers this spring, assess everything you touch with a fresh eye, looking for items that you haven’t used in the last year. You can amass quite a collection of sellable objects this way.
“The average person only wears 20% of their closet,” says consumer expert Andrea Woroch, who is a fan of bringing unwanted stuff to consignment shops for cash. And donate whatever the consignment store doesn’t take to the Goodwill or Salvation Army—just get a receipt, so you can deduct your donation from your taxes next year.
Hint # 2: Nab Deals on Appliances
Speaking of spring cleaning, now is a great time to get deep discounts on items like vacuums and refrigerators. “Vacuums are really good to buy in April because, during the start of summer, they introduce a lot of new models, and the stores are trying to get the older models out,” says Erin Konrad of CouponPal.com. “Places like Best Buy, Kohl’s and other big-box retailers and online stores have great deals.”
Hint # 3: Maximize Your Tax Refund
If you’ve filed your return and you’re a salaried employee, you might have a refund coming your way—75% of Americans do! But what should you do with it?
If you want to get the most out of this big financial Easter egg, we have a guide that'll help you decide where to put your tax refund, so that it will grow and multiply—instead of slowly disappearing on do-you-really-need-that splurges.
The average tax refund is about $2,800. If you’re getting back more than $1,000, you should reevaluate your tax withholding. It's possible that you could have earned money on that money throughout the year—or put it toward another financial goal, such as paying off credit card debt—instead of lending it to the government. Here’s an easy explanation on how to better set yourself up come tax time next year.
Hint #4: Pick Up Some (Paid) Warm-Weather Tasks
As the barometer rises, people need help with a variety of outdoor to-dos. So why not let them pay you to do them? Throughout spring-cleaning season, keep a look out for organizing jobs on TaskRabbit.com, or pick up a moving job on Hire a Helper. Another option? Put your car or truck to good use by helping city slickers schlep their stuff using Relay Rides.
If you’re looking for something a little less stressful and a lot more fun, it's also the perfect season to go for a run—with someone else's dog. “I knew a guy who earned extra money year-round by running with dogs,” says Certified Financial Planner™ Mindy Crary. “Large dogs need to burn a lot of excess energy, and many people aren't regular runners, so this guy got paid $30 daily to run hard with his clients' dogs.” Not sure you have the stamina? Dog-sit a furry friend through Rover.com.
Fewer people travel between spring break and the start of summer—and hotels are eager to entice visitors. Bonus: Cruises also happen to go on sale during the spring.
Hint #5: Book a Budget-Friendly Getaway
Now is a great time to find last-minute deals. Fewer people travel between spring break and the start of summer—and hotels are eager to entice visitors. Bonus: Cruises also happen to go on sale during the spring.
Woroch's recommendation? Book through Hotels.com. “They have a really great reward system—once you reserve 10 nights, you get one free.” They also have a good price-matching policy, so if you find a better rate elsewhere, they’ll match it. Woroch says that she’s even gotten them to discount further when she found that, by booking through another site, she'd get free Wi-Fi. “It’s definitely a good way to get more for your travel dollars,” she says.
Hint #6: Shop Seasonally Smart
Think back on the last several months of winter: Were there certain things you needed but figured you'd wait until next year to purchase? Go out and buy them now.
As last season's items, like snowboards and skis, go on deep discount, it might save you money to shell out now instead of renting next year. Of course, other winter staples will also be on sale, such as coats, mittens and boots. These are items that, when you think about it, don’t change much in style from year to year.
You can shop wisely for warm-weather items too: “When it comes to spring clothes, you can oftentimes find good sales on sandals from last season that might not be the brand’s most recent offering,” Woroch says. “So look for last year’s models or designs, especially if you’re going for a classic look.”
Hint #7: Get Your Home Ready for Summer
If you make a few quick updates now, you can save for the next six months. First, inspect your house for gaps in the windows or doors that might have developed over the winter. One trick is to walk through your home on a windy day with a candle: If it flickers, despite the doors and windows being closed, there’s a gap nearby.
Second, replace filters in your air conditioning units to make sure they're operating properly and to save on energy costs. Then clean the coils in your fridge, so it doesn’t labor too much in the summer heat to keep your drinks and popsicles cool.
Finally, make sure you’re paying the best rate for energy. Texas and New York State both offer consumers the ability to comparison shop for electricity providers through the program Power to Choose. Check to see if electricity is deregulated in your state, and if so, what your options are for lowering your bill. You might even be able to switch to wind or solar power.
Hint #8: And Get Your Car Ready for Summer Too
You’ll be running your air conditioner, and may even have a road trip in the works, so get your vehicle into shape to save on gas mileage. Have the oil changed, make sure the tires are properly inflated, clean out any debris that might have accumulated under the hood, and check the radiator cap and its seal for possible damage.
To save money in the long-term, also give your car a good rinse—especially underneath—to wash off road salt from the winter, which can rust and corrode the metal on your car over time.
Want to save even more on transportation costs? Now that the weather is warm, you stand to make a mint by pulling out your bike. Not only will you save on gas, but if you use your bike instead of the car more than a couple days a week, you can consider putting your gym membership on hold for the spring and summer.
Hint #9: Cancel the Cable
It was probably hard to quit the cable habit while you were hiding inside from the polar vortex this winter. But “with more time to spend out and about in the spring weather, now may be the perfect time to switch to Netflix, Hulu or any number of Internet services,” says financial adviser Courtney Cook with Jones Advisory Group in Kansas, “possibly reducing your bill by $100 or more a month.”
Or you could get rid of your cable and never sign up for another service—forcing yourself to spend more time outside exercising and enjoying the fresh air.