Uncensored Money Season Four: Find More Cash in Less than 15 Minutes 

Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 12/07/2023


Show Notes

Many of us know how to tighten our belts but we don’t know how to find more cash. So in this episode Mel & Lawsie share 12 different ways to find less cash and each tip will take you less than 15 minutes to implement. 

If you know you need more help with your finances make sure you join the waitlist for the My Financial Adulting Plan 

If you're not already, come play over at insta at MelBrowne.Money and make sure you are signed up to Mel's Money Musings and Monday Money Moments (yep, we love us some alliteration) for more tips, tricks and ideas on how to best work with your money. 

Finally, if you love this episode please make sure you subscribe and leave us a review. 



Mel: So this month in our weekly newsletters to our community at melissabrowne.com.au, we're talking about different ways to find more cash. And I know we've talked it about it here a lot before, a lot, but that's because many of us know how to tighten our belts, but we don't know how to find more income.

And I'm always amused, cause every time I talk about this, the number of people that will go, oh my gosh, I hadn't thought about that. Oh yes, please send that to me. Or I wanna find out more about this. So clearly Lawsie you and I think we're talking about it a lot, but we need to keep talking about it. Because the problem with only stripping expenses, which is super important and most people should be looking at where they could be cutting back or swapping, pausing, and cancelling, is that you can only cut back so far before we're all wearing sackcloth and ashes and living in tents.

And I don't do outdoors. Outdoors for me is three stars cause I wouldn't do that.

Lawsie: No, you wouldn't do that. No. Outdoors for you is like stepping outside of your house or stepping outside of your apartment and walking somewhere in the great outdoors....

Mel: Oh, yeah I will walk places.

Lawsie: ...to another location and then coming back.

Mel: Yeah, yeah.

Lawsie: Unlike me, that's just come back from several days of camping, living my best life.

Mel: That's not natural.

Lawsie: That’s very natural.

Mel: why we wanted to share some tips today. Not because I can't handle the great outdoors, but because you can't handle stripping back past a certain point and having to live in a tent. And so we wanna share some tips today around finding more income, but to make it a bit of fun, I'm gonna put a caveat view around it.

These things can only take less than 15 minutes to do because let's be honest, most of us are time-poor and this finance admin isn't something necessarily that we love to do and everyone can find 15 minutes. I mean, I'm going to suggest that, and I dunno if women do this, but I know Tony and blokes do this. They disappear to the bathroom for 15 minutes at a time, probably on your phone. So there's 15 minutes.

Lawsie: Okay.

Mel: Multitask. So Lawsie and I are gonna share, not our bathroom habits, but some things you could do to find more cash in less than 15 minutes. We've got 12 different things that you could do to bring in some much-needed cash at the moment.

Now some will be obvious. But the question as always is, what are you doing about it? Because if you know this stuff but you're not doing it, then you need to do something about it. We're gonna list 12. We're gonna go through 12 things. Pick one. There is one thing on this list that we give you that you are not doing or that you could do, and I want you to pick it and try it for July.

So, Lawsie, let's go one for one. So the first one is an easy one and we've banged on it a lot about it a lot before. But use a cashback app like Shop Back or Cash Rewards when you shop and receive cash back simply for shopping online or in store as well, like you normally do. So I use both Shop Back or Cash Rewards. I play them off needy lovers against one another. And just when I'm shopping, I've got them both saved as an extension to my browsers. Cause I'm not gonna think about, oh, I should go see if there's a reward. I want it to tell me. I wanna use technology to personalise my experience. So, I have it as an extension on my browser.

Will that mean that they understand my browsing habits? Yes. Do I give a $hit? No, because it means that I'm more likely to do it. And so far I have saved, I have thousands of dollars in my Shop Back or Cash Rewards accounts. So why on earth? Like, why wouldn't I do that? Let's be honest, we're all giving away data. We're all giving away our sharing history. I figure at least this way, we're getting paid for it. So this is the simplest tack. It will take 15 minutes maximum if you are a technology laggard to set it up. Once it's set up, it will take you less than one second to click on it while you are already shopping online.

So this is my favourite one.

Lawsie: Beautiful. The next one that we've got is to rent out your stuff. So there are so many sites and things that you can rent out, and just some examples of this. If you've got a caravan or a motor home or a camper trailer and you're not living in it full-time, then chances are it's sitting on your front lawn or in your garage, or you're paying it for it to be in some other storage spot. So consider renting that out. It's really simple. You just can Google these sites online, obviously read the T's and C's and understand that other people are gonna be living in your stuff. But hey, if you're not using it and it's gonna be making you some dollars, that can be a good thing.

Other things that you can rent out would be like your car spot or your driveway, depending where you live, but particularly if you're in the city, CBD or things like that. And if you've got a car spot that you're not using that you're paying rent for your apartment, or you own your apartment and you don't use your car spot or you've got a spare one or a driveway, rent this space out and make some dollars from it.

Same with your car. Like you can be using things like, I think it's Car Next Door, and places like that. Again, you've gotta be comfortable if you're driving around in a Lamborghini or a Ferrari 1), I doubt you're listening to this podcast.

Mel: Yeah. Oh, you should. Cause it's probably on credit. Let's be honest.

Lawsie: Well, there we go. There is that. So you are going to have you might not want somebody else driving that expensive car, but if you're happy to share your car and make some extra dollars and it look at things like that. Even a pool, if you've got a pool and you just not using a lot, and you are again, happy for people to come into your yard, you can be doing that. Same with your clothes. And even if you're a tradie, then you've got tools and stuff lying around that you're not using, consider renting those out. Sure, some of these things might only get you a few bucks, but it's a few more bucks that you're getting than not, and there are things that are just sitting there not being used. So definitely consider renting out your stuff if you're comfortable with it and getting some dollars, and it won't take you long to register for.

Mel: And so many of us have got that one dress that we bought for that special occasion that if you throw that on at Christmas time or when formals are on, like that can be such an easy way to make money regularly every single year off something that you're not wearing anyway. So there are so many ways to rent out your stuff. And it will only take 15 minutes, I promise.

Number three is completing surveys online. I know people that rent out their caravan make thousands of dollars during the year they rent out. Driveways can do the same. Even clothes can make you hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Completing surveys online might not bring in the same amount of cash, but every little bit can help. And where I love surveys, if you are sitting at the doctor's office or if your kids have got sport and you are sitting in the car, you could be sitting there doing surveys rather than doom scrolling and actually make 20, 30, 40, 50 bucks while you're sitting there. A better use of your time than sitting there doom-scrolling on Insta. So the sites that you can go to do surveys include Octopus, Stable Research, Chat For Cash, Farin, Askable, Purple Patch, Realtime Research, and so much more.

Another version of surveys is to mystery shop. So it's another way that you can be that you can be, getting paid to judge people. That's like my perfect world.

Lawsie: Yeah, and the only thing I'd add with that is with some of the surveys, I know some people get a bit frustrated. So the registration and getting all of that sorted absolutely will satisfy our 15 minute requirement for this episode. But just be aware for some of them, I know in the past people have gone, oh, I just haven't been selected for a survey. So there can be a little bit of a lead time in doing it. But like you said, once you start getting some runs on the board, if you've got the spare five, 10 minutes or when you're sitting in the car waiting for kids to finish sport or whatever their case may be, then this can just be a great way of just getting a few extra dollars coming in.

Mel: And register for half a dozen different sites, so that way if a couple don't pick you up, then the other might. But even if you don't have kids while you're at the hairdresser, sit there and do some surveys, it can then be paying for you for what you're getting done. So we have so much downtime, we just don't think about it.

Next one, LawDog

Lawsie: Is to email your mortgage broker and ask for a better interest rate. We all know how easy it is to email. You're definitely gonna be able to create this email and send it off in under 15 minutes. Yes, we appreciate that some of the two and froing might be a little bit longer than that down the track, but to actually get the ball rolling with this super easy and has the potential to save you thousands of dollars every year. So why don't you do it? I think if you've got a mortgage and you haven't asked for a better interest rate in the last six to 12 months and that this has to be a non-negotiable task to do because it's just got the potential to save you thousands of dollars, all for just sending that email.  Just do it.

Mel: Yeah, absolutely.

Number five is shop once a week. Again, sounds really simple, but if you are going every day, who, when they go to the supermarket doesn't pick extra things up. Even if it's one extra thing and you go to the supermarket three times a week, that's three things that you're spending on, which might only cost 10 bucks, but then over the whole year, that's an extra 500 bucks.

So again, it's your habits that can be contributing to having more income. So sit down, write a shopping list before you head out and stick to it. I make my husband, so my husband goes to the supermarket, I do the online part of the supermarket shopping and whenever he goes, I always make him write a shopping list cause he will always come back with stuff that I'll say, why did you buy that? We already have four in the cupboard. But as he's walking past, he thinks, I’ll grab that.

Lawsie: Oil

Mel: Oil! That was the latest thing. It's so funny. Hummus, he's a funny man. But it is one of those things where he walks past and goes, Ooh, I wonder if we need that. I'll just get it cause I know it will last.

But you end up throwing out or end up with a surplus that you end up. Because there is used by date on so much of this stuff. So when it's paper towels, not such a big deal, but for something perishable, yeah, it's a little more problematic. So sit down, write a shopping list before you head out and stick to it.

Keep your eye out. So we highly encourage you to jump on to subscribe to our mailing list. We're about to create or we're in the process of creating a guide on how to save money with Chat GPT, which as soon as it's out, we'll do a podcast episode on it and we'll give you a download. So that's like an extra step for how you can do that. So just to so you know that’s coming. But definitely shop once a week.

Lawsie: What I'd say with the whole writing a list and doing all those things as well, is consider one), if you can get it delivered. Yes, I appreciate there's a delivery cost, but you can sometimes you can get special deals and you have to be tempted when you go in the shop. But then it's also the time saving with that of not having to go and get your groceries or even to do Click and Collect or Direct to Boot or whatever your supermarket and stuff does near you. So then again, you're not having to physically go into the store. But I would also say that back to our point three where we said, potentially mystery shopping and stuff like that, you could be super savvy if you're still someone that wants to go into the shop, see if you can combine it with a mystery shop. So that way we are going, yes, we're still sticking to what we're shopping, but also then making some money while we're in there. So combining two for one.

Mel: I love that.

Lawsie: The next one is as the Melster often says, you can't eat your house. Meaning, it is obviously an asset that you've got and generally you're not making money on that to help pay for your groceries. But there is a way that you can, and that could be taking in a student, by say, looking at, Australian Home Stay Network if you're in Australia. So you have a student come and live with you and they pay you for that privileges. Same as renting out a spare room taking in a boarder, that kind of stuff. So it is a way that if you do have the space, and if you are not someone like you and I that would prefer no one in our space then that you could look at having someone else coming in and living and sharing your place with you and making some dollars at the same time.

Mel: The reason I love this idea is that it's for a limited period of time. So there's not that awkwardness of you are coming for 12 months, or, oh, it's just not quite working. How can I ask them to leave? It's a term at a time that you are having them stay. So yes, even if they're a little bit painful, you know that this will pass.

Lawsie: Yeah. This too shall pass.

Mel: Exactly, and you don't have to renew. So I think it's a beautiful option to be able to do it in sprints, but without having to do it all the time.

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: And I know the reason I was reminded of it is so there was someone inside the My Financial Adulting Plan, which is where that community aspect of the My Financial Adulting Plan is amazing, because some shared that they were doing that and it was just that reminder. And as so many people at said in their comments, oh my gosh, I'd forgotten about that or I didn't realise that. For me, the community part of what we do inside the My Financial Adulting Plan, which is my eight week course can mean that you are able to share and to, and know these tips constantly.

So number seven is ask for a pay rise. So this is such a simple tip, but also it's also one that is not necessarily easy to do. So what we do not want you to do is go to your boss and say, cost of living's rising. I want to pay rise cause your boss will go, I don't give a $hit. Yes, they might care for you, but also they also care about the business needs. They're not concerned about rising inflation and what that might mean for you. They are, if they're a nice boss, but at the same time they're juggling profitability. They're potentially juggling shareholders concerns and more. So when I was a boss of multiple people, like many people my most hated thing was when someone would come and say, I've been here for 12 months. Can I have a pay rise? Or my rents going up, can I have a pay rise? Cause my thoughts were always, why? Why am I giving you a pay rise simply because of your life choices? But instead what we want to suggest is that you go and ask for a pay rise with a system. We will do a whole podcast episode on this and we are preparing a download for it as well.

But the system is you basically put a case study together for why you deserve a pay rise right now. And that would be what do you contribute to the business? How have you gone over and above the job that you're in? You would wanna compare to what other people in your company or other organisations are getting and benchmark your role to say, hey, for what I'm doing, I'm really being underpaid it's the benchmark and yet I'm going over it above.

Or maybe it's a pathway conversation with your boss around, I've done the research and I'm being paid appropriately for where I am now, but I wanna earn more. So can you talk to me about how that's possible? And they would talk to you potentially about more responsibilities or moving up a role or maybe studying or more, but asking for a pay rise, a 15 minute conversation potentially. But it's also that work beforehand to say what's my reasons? We wanna go to our bosses with a non-emotional pragmatic case study that either they can take to their bosses or they can look at and go, huh, yeah, you are right. I can't argue with that.

And then the conversation might be, I can't give it to you right now, but here's some other things I could give you instead, which might be more time off or discounts or something else. And then still a pathway to more income.

Lawsie: Definitely. I think depending on your role and where you work and all those things, this probably is a little bit more than a 15 minute task, cause you do need to make sure that you've done that groundwork in advance and that you're prepared for the meeting. But the 15 minute thing could just be that decision to actually contact your boss, send them an email book in an appointment, doing those things. So then it is that commitment of okay, great. Now I actually have to be prepared for this meeting so I can go through and ask for that. And don't just on a Friday night, have a few drinks and go, oh boss, I'd really like a pay rises cause I've been here for two years. Yes, that's gonna be a lot quicker than 15 minutes, but it is not gonna have the long-lasting positive effect that you would otherwise be hoping for.

Mel: Definitely not. Definitely not.

Lawsie: So our next one is to sign up for dog walking or pet sitting services. So if you're someone that loves getting up in the morning and going for a walk and you might just see if you can monetise that by going, oh, let's see if I can walk some people's dogs. At the same time, that way you're still doing the thing that you already like doing. It's not necessarily taking any more time for that, and then you're getting paid for it by walking, hopefully a cute little, well-behaved fur friend or, a pet-sitting service as well. So if you are going, oh, I'm often home on a weekend or even during the week, and you go, I'm happy to go and stay at someone's place and look after their pets, you can do that.

Or you could have pets come and stay at your place if you are comfortable with your setup and having other dogs and cats and birds and turtles and, I don't know, whatever else someone might like to drop off to you. Then it's just knowing that's another avenue to be able to make some money.

And it's all just cause it's about you being able to provide care to these animals or to be able to walk them and do things like that. And if you can get it to fit into your everyday lifestyle, but just get some extra dollars. It is a win-win.

Mel: Absolutely. I've got friends who they've got young kids and they don't want the commitment of getting a dog, but their kids really want it. And the daughter also does ballet and it's super expensive. So they walk dogs. And again, it means that they're getting exercise. The kids get to play with dogs, so they love it. And the ballet lessons are paid for. So it's so smart. I love it, like that one's just such an easy one. And so the 15 minutes will be the signup. Then you're gonna walk anyway potentially. So you may as well take a dog.

Number nine. This one seems really random, but look for cash. So whether it's physical cash under your car seats at the bottom of your bag or cash that you don't realise that you are owed. So you might go to the Tax Office website or there are different websites where you can find forgotten shares, forgotten bank accounts, forgotten super. This is money that is yours that you didn't realise. And so it's just about recovering it.

So there are so many sites. If you Google forgotten shares, forgotten bank accounts forgotten super, forgotten retirement funds, there'll be a host of sites that will turn up. The only thing caveat I will say with that is there are some sites that, for example, and we get sent them constantly where they might say, hey, you've got a share and this is the share that you've got, and we can recover that and sell it for you, but we're gonna take a clip for it.

And you might be happy with that if you can't be bothered to do the legwork. But the legwork actually isn't that much. Because my theory is if you're not going to get around to it, you may as well pay one of these services to do it for you. But it's finding out if you've got some there in the first place.

I remember when I did that for Super back in the day and I did it, I think I did it with a client just to say, oh, you know, I'm just showing you how it works. I was horrified that I had some super from an account that I set up when I first started working for the bank that I completely forgotten about, that I didn't realise that I had, and I was like, oh, look, what's there, one for me? But again, it's really easy then to click the button and to roll it over to your existing fund.

Lawsie: Yeah. I think too with those ones, if you're someone that has got, and this will sound ridiculous, but I mean I'll put our hands up cause we just seem to always have this lying around, is if you still have a physical piggy bank that has got coins in it, go to the bank and bank it. You're gonna feel, oh, I feel like such a criminal if we go and do it. I’m always like, how have we collected all of these coins? And you walk in with this like bag feeling like you're a robber even though you're bringing back the cash to put in the bank. But actually just go and do it cause you're never gonna spend all of those, 10 cent pieces and the dollar coins and the two dollar coins and whatever else.

Go figure out your closest bank the next time you're going to the shops and the bank is there, take the damn coins and bank them and then go, oh, this is really nice. One, it clears the crap out of your house but also then you get that nice little boost into your bank account as well.

Mel: I agree and I would add to that. So we've got what's called an important draw, which we just put all a box that's got all our important docs in it. We now have like a little container in there for money that we've had when we've gone overseas because Tone, my husband, goes overseas for three months of the year to Europe and London. I go across as well. And you come back with small amounts of money and coins and they are so not worth cashing

Lawsie: Trying to convert

Mel: Exactly. And that money will last, it's legal tender. So by having that there, next time you go away, even if it's five years time, it can go, oh, cool, I've got five pounds. Excellent. I can just grab it and take it with me. So having that as well and just storing it somewhere.

Lawsie: Definitely. Our next one is the return and earn bottles and cans system. So for anyone that has not heard about it or seen the machine things in random car parks and places around if you take back your drinking cans, so soft drink cans and beer cans and anything that's got the little logo on that says that you can take it back. Same with like glass bottles and things. Just make sure it's got the logo. Then you can get, I think it's 5 cents or 10 cents per one that is you deposit. I think you can't have them squished and like obviously in your 15 minutes do the recon with that. But then it's the same thing. Just create a system where we might just go, here's the crate, and all of those things go in it. And then next time you're going up to shops or wherever your local one is, take it, do deposit all the things and get the dollars for it. It's stuff that you were gonna send to recycle. You are getting dollars for it. And you also get the environmental pat on the back cause it's a closed recycling system. So it's actually all getting recycled back into these things rather than getting mixed with all the other stuff in your recycling bin. And we've all seen the reports of where some of our recycling ends up. So this is just a way of, yes, getting dollars for you, but also better for the environment.

Mel: Yeah, I was horrified to learn that it's just getting shipped to India. Honestly, I was horrified. That's actually one that I'm gonna talk to Tone that we don't have a lot of cans and bottles. We're gonna have to do some recon, but that's just really sensible.

Lawsie: We get it with VB strangely.

Mel: Oh, hilarious. Oh, that's too funny.

Lawsie: No, it's not me drinking the VB. Just for the record.

Mel: But I wonder if it would be on Tone's beer. I'm gonna have to check. Not that he drinks a lot of beer, but yeah. He's gin with this a whole different conversation now.

Lawsie: You can probably get it on your little Fever Tree with your little mixers

Mel: I probably would!  Yeah. Good point. We would do this when we were kids. After we played sport on a Saturday, we would go around to all the bins with our garbage bags and we'd scab all the cans out the bins and then take them up to the local place and you earn decent cash.

Lawsie: Yes.

Mel: But you are out anyway with something to do.

Number 11 is to get a part-time job. So I'm not suggesting that you are only working for 15 minutes a week. It's that the job might only take 15 minutes to apply for. I have so many girlfriends that are looking for part-time employees at the moment. So this might be hospitality, it might be a barista, it might be bar staff. It could be part-time copywriter or marketing or whatever your specific admin support, like whatever your specific skill set is. And it could either be a part-time job as an employee or a part-time job on Fiver or Airtasker or one of the many sites that you could put your skill set on. I know one of my friends recently he got a job as a trainer a day week, and it supplemented his income hugely, and he had to go and get something, a Certificate, something in training…

Lawsie: Certificate Three or Four probably

Mel: Yeah, exactly. And which wasn't a huge deal. But once he got that, it meant that he could then join a registered training organisation and teach. And he didn't need a specific skillset. He just needed to be able to teach the subject. So that can be a beautiful way to earn extra money.

Lawsie: Definitely. And then our last one is to negotiate your bills cause I think there's one thing where so many of us, for the ease and convenience of it, we'll just have things on direct debit. And you don't necessarily pay attention cause you go, oh yeah, it's taken care of. You go, I've got the bill. Don't worry about it. It's automatically gonna get paid, but making sure that you are negotiating your bills and your utilities and all those things because it is going to be saving you money. Basically generating your money if you've got more money sitting left in your bank account that hasn't gone to bills and it's gonna be earning your interest as well.

But yeah, just super important one, that it's the admin. Yes, you might not get them all done in 15 minutes, but at least make a start, get one or two done and just set yourself a reminder to do it every week until you've gone through and reviewed them all to make sure that you're getting the best deal possible.

Mel: So there's 12 different tips that will bring in more cash in less than 15 minutes. As we said at the beginning, we just want you to pick one and start and maybe stack it every single month. Add another one. But pick the one and then jump over to Insta, @MelBrowne.Money. Send me a DM and let me know what you're gonna do.


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