Find $285 Under the Couch
We've found eight easy ways to pick up extra cash, from high tech to old school.
Help Landfills from Overflowing: $2.50
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont all have bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws), but in most states, millions of dollars are left unclaimed (in Michigan alone, $13.1 million was never redeemed in 2008). It's best to redeem bottles and cans in loads of 50 or less at a time; that way, you'll ensure you get the exact refund (you can only be paid on a per-container basis if you redeem 50 or fewer containers of each material type). Request to be paid by count (most cans are worth 5 cents each, so you'd get $2.50 for 50) rather than weight to get the most money. (Unfortunately, though, if your state doesn't have a bottle law, you can't take your bottles and cans to one that does and get the refund there.)