Do you keep cash in your couch cushions?

by , Principal Policy Adviser Money 28 November 2012
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Across the UK, we’ve got around £320m in loose change just hanging round the house. But how much money do we have stored up in loyalty schemes, foreign currency, gift vouchers, rail vouchers… the list goes on!

Money under the mattress

New research from Lloyds TSB found that we each keep an average of £14.15 in loose change just lying around the house. Apparently, over a quarter of us say we have over £20 in coins stashed away at home, while one in 10 has between £50 and £100. A lucky 3% of us even say we have over £100 tucked away!

Personally, I’d rather keep that money in the bank. And yet, while I might only have a few quid of loose change in my wallet, I admit I have a small fortune in loyalty points scattered across an array of schemes, including Boots, Tesco ClubCard, Nectar and Superdrug. Like many of us, I think I’m holding onto my loyalty points for that special occasion that never quite seems to arrive.

Don’t leave your money lying around…

However, on top of that, I’ve also got a bag of foreign currency tucked away in the back of a drawer. I’ll use the euros when I go to Germany in January, but how often do I really go to Canada to spend my Canadian dollars?

Sifting through my documents-to-file heap, I found a £10 John Lewis gift voucher just waiting to be spent. Gift vouchers often have use-by dates on them, so I could risk losing my money if I hold onto it for too long. I’m also running the risk that the company could go bust, potentially rendering my voucher worthless. I don’t think there’s much danger of that with John Lewis, but many disgruntled customers recently faced with this problem with Comet.

As I tend to jinx any public transport I travel with, I’ve also managed to gather a couple of rail compensation vouchers at home. Both are near expiry and yet sit there unused, as I tend to buy my tickets online. Frustratingly, rail vouchers can only be used if you tickets in person.

You guessed it – there’s more! I recently sold some DVDs via eBay and have a few quid sitting unclaimed in my PayPal account. There’s also a small amount left from the Amazon voucher I got for my birthday recently. Finally, I’ve got cash balances in an online consumer survey account, a tenner or so stashed up with a couple of cashback sites and £40 sat in a wine club. Unfortunately, I can’t get my hands on most of that money unless I spend even more.

Cashing in for Christmas

With Christmas around the corner, I’ve motivated myself enough to start spending my treasure trove of points, odds and ends. It might not be a fortune, but it could take some of the pain out of Christmas!

Do you think you could round up an extra bit of cash simply by tracking down what you’ve already got (or what’s fallen behind the sofa)? How much have you got squirreled away in non-cash rewards at home or online?

5 comments

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william

I’d hate to think how much I have sitting in my bank note collection ( and yes there is a name for us, another than mad, its called being a notaphilist – a collector of bank notes ). At face value probably around £500, to a collector alot more. Come June next year they’ll be another hundred or so pounds “missing” from circulation, Thanks for that Bank of England appointing a new governor. Not all the notes will be accepted in the shops now, but the BoE will change them at face value, whereas a collector could be parted from anything from £30 for a £1 note. I’m gutted I missed out on getting a EURO500 before they got pulled from circulation, naughty criminals liked them too much.

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Dave

I keep more “petty cash” around the house now than I ever used to because putting it into a bank or building society would earn me about 10p a month. Not worth the effort and I pay less visits to the lcoal ATM and always have the cash for the pizzaman etc

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Peter O

I once read a statistic that £20 million in coins is hidden down the back of sofas in Britain’s homes.
Well clearly, one way to get super rich is to take a look down there…

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Jim M

I recently disposed of an armchair after 19 years. I opened it up and found a large number of coins down the back totalling £58.36. Hardly “super-rich”, but well worth looking…

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Nikki Whiteman

I have a coin tin at home which I recently emptied – it contained mostly coppers but also bits and pieces of silver and the odd one or two pound coin. I expected to get a pretty tidy sum – £20 at least. When I went to cash in the money it came to… *drum roll*… £95!

The tin is now ready and waiting to be filled up next year, and I’m aiming to beat my score.

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