Having trouble paying off that last credit card bill from Christmas? Like to get a start on the savings account for next year's holiday?
You might check with the government.
You may as well; the state or federal government is earning interest on money that is rightfully yours, or holding property that you should enjoy.
Did you forget to collect a security deposit, lose an insurance refund or forget about a savings bond you received as a child? Maybe you moved and didn't receive a tax refund, forgot about a gift certificate or failed to collect a consumer product settlement.
It amounts to billions of dollars around the United States.
State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced Tuesday that his office saw to it that $1.2 million in unclaimed property was returned to rightful owners in January.
He said $560,000 was paid out in cash, $655,000 in stock and safekeeping items -- an unusual amount for one month.
In a news release, he noted that one woman received more than $60,000 in cash as well as items in a safe deposit box valued at more than $232,000. A Colorado man who was born in Nebraska received more than $60,000 in cash, plus safe-deposit items valued at more than $217,000.
But wait -- as a television pitchman might say -- there's more: The treasurer's office says it's holding more than $125 million for more than 350,000 Nebraskans and former Nebraskans.
It that's the case, a search is easy. Go to the State Treasurer's website here and enter your name in the unclaimed property slot.
If the federal government has your property, it will take a little more time.
If you've lost track of a 401(k), try here.
And there are many others, including paid sites that charge to search for unclaimed insurance benefits, but try official, free government sites first.
Yes, it might take a little time, but not nearly as much as it would have in the pre-Internet days.
Who knows, next year's Christmas bills might be paid using money we didn't know we had.