With nearly 50 million Americans unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are looking for any way to earn money from home.
NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle spoke with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb about the best ways to help your bank account without leaving the house.
1. Make sure there’s no unclaimed money in your name.
According to Ruhle, a shocking amount of money goes unclaimed in the United States: It’s estimated that the country has about $42 billion in unclaimed funds.
“I’m talking about security deposits, store credits, money the IRS might owe you, maybe even a savings account you forgot about,” Ruhle said. “This money, if it’s left dormant for a while, gets moved to a holding account in your state, but it’s up to you to go find it.”
To start looking for any unclaimed funds, go to your state’s unclaimed property website and type in your full name, including your middle initial. This will let you know if your state is holding anything in your name.
There are also two other sites to check, especially if you have lived in multiple states: Missingmoney.com and Unclaimed.org. These sites will also let you know if there is any unclaimed money out there.
You may need documentation to claim the money, and each state has different rules. “If you can prove you are you, that money’s there waiting,” Ruhle said.
2. Try turning to online sales.
If you’ve been doing some cleaning and organizing during quarantine, don’t throw things out — try selling them online!
According to Ruhle, you can earn an average of $199 for things you sell online. If you’re cleaning out your closet, try listing fancy clothing on The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective or putting everyday items up for sale on Poshmark, Swap.com or ThredUp. Remember to offer in-season clothes — as Ruhle points out, nobody’s looking for a winter coat in July! — and be upfront about the condition of the items.
Regular household items or furniture may be easiest to sell on Facebook Marketplace, so local buyers can pick them up directly.
Some of the most valuable items to sell, though, are technology items and gadgets.
“Think about all the moms and dads trying to buy tablets and laptops for their kids if they’re going to be distance learning,” said Ruhle. “Think about old iPads, laptops (and) tablets.”
Ruhle recommends trying to sell these items on sites like eBay or Amazon, or go to Decluttr, a tech buyback website that will purchase old technology from you.