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5 super simple ways to get some extra cash in 2015

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There are a few different ways that you’ll find some extra money, and some are less obvious than others.

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This story is sponsored by Mycash.Utah.gov. Learn more about Mycash.Utah.gov.


The economy seems to be making a turn for the better, the housing market is on the rebound and the Utah unemployment rate recently dipped to 3.5 percent. That's good news for everyone, but who among us wouldn't still appreciate a little extra cash in their pocket?

And how about a little extra money with only a little extra effort? Even better.

Fortunately, there are a handful of easy ways to fatten your wallet without finding a second (or third) job. Some things you might already be doing, but not capitalizing on, and other things you probably never even knew existed.

So before you decide to pawn your late grandmother's wedding ring, try one, or all, of these five simple steps.

1. Search for missing money at MyCash.Utah.Gov

This one sounds too good to be true, but it's completely legitimate. Government-level official, in fact.

The state of Utah has an "Unclaimed Property Division" that collects more than 40 million dollars a year in lost or missing money. Their mission? To return as much of that money as possible to the residents of Utah, to whom the money rightfully belongs.

Surprisingly, one in five Utahns has money just waiting to be collected from the state. Why so much unclaimed cash? Because most people don't even know the money is owed to them.

All this money accumulates from things like forgotten refunds, un-cashed paychecks, overpaid medical bills and unreturned deposits.

All you have to do is search your name at MyCash.Utah.Gov and see if you're among the 20 percent of Utah's population who has money waiting for them. It might be 50 dollars or it might be 5,000 dollars, either way it's worth a look!

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2. Become a mystery shopper

It's a pretty straight-forward concept: restaurants, retail-stores and hotels hire mystery shoppers as an easy way to monitor and improve their customer experience.

You pose as a customer, then hand in a simple report on your experience. The more precise and articulate you can be with your response, the more valuable you are as a mystery shopper.

The pay varies quite a bit. You could make from $10 to $500 or more depending on the assignment, but even with a $10 assignment, shopping and eating at restaurants may be something you enjoy doing anyway.

You'll want to sign up through a reputable, established company like the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, in order to avoid potential scams.

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3. Become an online merchant

Whether an online auction site like eBay, or online classifieds like KSL or craigslist, sign up is free and selling your stuff online is easier than ever to do. It also results in priceless extra real estate across garage and closet floors everywhere. Did we mention the extra cash?

Selling unwanted items online was slightly more difficult before digital photography was commonplace. Now that everyone has a camera right on their phone, there's virtually no reason not to clear out that closet you've been avoiding.

Start by simply collecting items around the house that you know you no longer need or use, then snap photos of each item with your phone. Create a file with a short description for each item, then open an account on eBay and they will take you through the rest of the process.

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4. Join a focus group

Are you opinionated? Do you like to talk? Would you like to be paid to answer questions with no wrong answers?

If this sounds like you, then jump online and register with a local market research company.

If selected, you'll be scheduled to join a group of your peers to be asked questions about a product or service. This usually takes about an hour and often comes with a catered lunch. The best part? The pay can be up to $200 for a single session.

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5. Donate plasma and get paid

If you dont faint at the sight of a needle, and would like to make money just sitting down, then donating plasma yields a decent dollar per hour rate.

The process involves taking blood, draining off a small portion of that blood (your plasma) and replacing the blood back into your body. Plasma is a vital source material for certain medications that treat and prevent life-threatening diseases.

Youll need to be relatively healthy (and drug free), but youll take in about $35 dollars a session, and you can donate up to twice a week. A quick Google search for Utah plasma clinics will yield plenty of locations to choose from.

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Money doesn't buy happiness, but having a little extra sure can alleviate some stress. And sometimes finding that extra chunk of change is a lot easier than you might think.