If the following predicament sounds familiar to you, you might need to free up more cash for your venture. Anytime you find yourself considering whether to withdraw money from your retirement plan or take on more debt just to cover costs, just stop right there.
Cashing out a retirement plan or taking on more debt ultimately costs you more money in the long run. If you can find other ways to generate additional cash, you come out ahead.
Here are 31 ideas that might free up additional cash so you don’t have to borrow or withdraw from your retirement plan.
Free Up More Cash for Your Venture
- Clean every surface in your home with a view toward collecting all change and bills you find lying around. Don’t forget to look between seat cushions, in the back of drawers, on the floors of every closet, and even in ashtrays.
- Go through drive-through lanes and parking lots after hours and pick up the spare change you find.
- Collect coupons and promotional discount codes wherever you can find them.
- Make all your payments on cash-back credit card; redeem all awards as soon as you’re eligible, while also remembering to pay the bills on time (if not early) in order to avoid having to pay interest.
- Return anything you bought but haven’t been using in order to get a refund.
- If you have old electronics that won’t sell, try trading them in. There are several stores and websites that offer trade-ins or take-backs for cash or gift cards.
- Drop service subscriptions you don’t need like an extra mobile number, cable, lawn service, or concierge.
- Conserve energy and water aggressively and lower those bills to free up extra cash.
- Cash out any loyalty points you have — whether they’re from credit card reward programs, retail loyalty programs, gas rewards, or incentives sites; use the resulting cash or gift cards to cover household expenses.
- Use your skills to enter and win contests that pay cash (bake-offs, craft contests, state fairs, etc.)
- Quit smoking or drinking.
- Use coupons and add what you save to your cash stash.
- Refinance your mortgage — but don’t cash out any equity.
- Drop unnecessary insurance coverage — that should free up more cash for your venture!
- Drop any redundant services or subscriptions you might have.
- Check your state’s unclaimed property office to see if any old money is owed to you.
- Cash in any savings bonds you have.
- Try to negotiate a lower interest rate on any credit card debt you have to lower the monthly payment.
- Don’t renew magazines, gym memberships, or any other subscription or membership when it comes due.
- Use your own bank’s ATM network. Don’t pay transaction fees at another bank’s machine.
- Look into bundling the services you need to keep — it might lower the monthly bill.
- Call all your service providers and ask if you can get a discount because you’re a good customer, always paid on time, or if you’re a member of a certain union or organization. Negotiate a discount if you can.
- Brown bag your lunch instead of eating out.
- Actually complete and send in those rebate forms you’ve been meaning to do.
- Open a bank account that will pay you a cash bonus for opening the account.
- Send in your health savings account claims in real time, as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the end of the year.
- Check your health insurance plan for any rebates you’re entitled to. Some reimburse wellness materials like gym memberships or weight loss programs. If you’re paying out of pocket, check and see if you can get the money back.
- Use a site like Ebates or another rewards program to get cash back on online shopping. Pocket the difference.
- Get free samples from sites like WalMart.com or many others. It’s not outright cash, but every sample you get and can use or sell reduces the amount of money you have to spend for products.
- Get back anything you’re entitled to. Don’t leave any money on the table.
- Stop spending on stuff you don’t need. This is the best way to free up cash.
Leave Your Retirement Plan Alone
You don’t have to try every single thing on the list above, but if you’re about to cash out all or a portion of your retirement plan — seriously, go back and look at all 31 numbered items.
All of them beat the heck out of withdrawing money from your retirement plan, which incurs penalties in addition to costing you more money in the long run. Ideally, you want to be adding to your retirement plan as an entrepreneur, since you need the tax benefit.
Fellow entrepreneurs, which of the suggestions in this article have you tried and how did it work for you?
Jackie Cohen is an award winning financial journalist turned turned financial advisor obsessed with climate change risk, data and business. Jackie holds a B.A. Degree from Macalester College and an M.A. in English from Claremont Graduate University.