Found Change Challenge — $23.77 and Counting!

by Katy on October 11, 2012 · 47 comments

It’s been a little over two months since I’ve written about the Found Change Challenge, but that doesn’t mean that my adorable vintage canning jar hasn’t been filling up with the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that are moving me towards my 2012 goal of finding $65 on the ground. (The cost to spend one night at my friend’s beach cabin.) In fact, it’s actually time to switch over to a bigger jar!

So how much have I found so far?

 $23.77!

Oh . . . this is not great, as I already had $20.83 when I counted it last on August 6th. But it’s not something that I have a lot of control over, as sometimes I only find pennies, and then sometimes it’s much more. (Yes, that is a five-dollar bill you see sticking out the top of the jar!)

At this point, it’s going to be tough to meet my $65 goal, but you never know when a twenty-dollar bill might blow my way. However, the whole point of this challenge is that small amounts of money add up and do matter. Small amounts matter when they’re spent, but they also matter when they’re found.

Have you been keeping track of your found money this year? Do you have any great found money stories to brag about? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna October 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

We save all of our change, found and otherwise, and put into savings accounts for our sons. The grandparents do sometimes contribute their change as well. The oldest is in kindergarten, and he already has a couple thousand $ saved from change and “found money.” Our credit union allows the use of their giant coin counting machine free of charge for children’s savings account, so we just carry it in in jars and pour it in! The boys love it!

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 8:25 am

That’s great, I love it!

Katy

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Maureen October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

I have 4 very large pickle jars under my desk and 1 is almost full. I just keep all my change in there, not just the found change. Then when I’m ready to cash it in, I bring it to my bank to count at their change machine (4% vs 7% at the coinstar machines) and it gets put right into my account. I use it only when I’m ready and a jar is full. I do plan on using it for a big vacation next year and I’d prefer to have 2 jars full of change to bring. So I better start adding to that second jar!

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 8:40 am

You know that if you choose a gift card from Coinstar, then you don’t get charged anything. Not sure of the details, but I know they have Amazon.

And my credit union’s coin counter is free. You should see if you have a friend who can do this favor for you.

Katy

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Mauren October 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I use a credit union and they charge! The nerve! If I had the time I would roll it all myself, but the jars are pretty large. And I know the coinstars around here do charge 7% and don’t have the option of a gift card.

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alexandra October 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm

All of the BB&T Banks in our area (Wilmington NC) offer coinstar for free for anyone, not just their customers. I always thank them profusely for letting me use it then deposit the money in my credit union.

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Jennifer October 11, 2012 at 8:42 am

This is fabulous! I’m always picking up change off the ground and my family thinks it’s pointless. I always tell them that every penny counts. Your jar is proof! 🙂

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Paula in the UP October 11, 2012 at 9:14 am

You are doing fabulous !! We like the others save change found and what’s in our pockets / my purse. It adds up pretty fast. We just cashed in probably 12- 18 months worth of change, had $100.23. We used it when we attended a recent Green Bay Packer game!! Big treat for our family!

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Linda in Indiana October 11, 2012 at 9:26 am

I didn’t start until about six weeks ago and I am retired and not out and about much. I have found a whole 3 cents…each penny, one at a time. However, it is exciting! I now am paying more attention to my surroundings and not letting my mind rush on to the next thing I think I will or should be doing. Oh, I found a quarter in the washer from, I guess my hubby’s pants…does that count:)? It went in the jar. When I save up enough….I am not sure what I will splurge on with it…and at this rate….I will certainly have lots of time to fantasize..tehee!

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

It counts. Whoever does the laundry, keep the money!

Katy

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Elaine in Ark October 11, 2012 at 9:31 am

A good place to look for change is near any drive-thru window. I stopped for a salad, and of course, the cashier put the coins ON TOP of the paper money, so a couple of coins fell on the pavement. I opened my car door to pick up my money, and there were 5 coins on the ground. A couple of them were in the crack in the concrete. HA! – They’re mine now!

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 10:28 am

This where driving a tall mini-van sucks. However, I’m not too proud to lean waaaaay down to grab all that free money.

Katy

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Pollyanna October 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

Pennies, nickels and dimes are about all I find these days. In fact, I found a penny today! I haven’t been keeping my findings separate, but I think I will start now just to see how it accumulates.

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Poor to Rich a Day at a Time October 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

Our best was last summer walking down a dirt country road in the middle of nowhere we found 3 $20 bills just sitting there on the side of the road! 🙂

A few weeks ago hubby found a payroll check in the parking lot of his work for $1200 but of course THAT was returned to the owner!

You really never know where, when or how much you will find and is always a great feeling!

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amber October 11, 2012 at 10:25 am

You are doing a great job! I’m not sure how much we have found this year. My 5 and 7 year old daughters are always on the look out for change. A place they always find change is in the toy bin at goodwill. They are funny they are looking in the toy bin for lost change instead of at the toys.

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Erin October 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

People drop money all the time where I work (a major tourist attraction)!

Of course, when I see someone do this, I alert them and hand it back to them. I haven’t found any just hanging around yet, but I’ll keep looking!

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Sarah October 11, 2012 at 10:46 am

If I’m out late, I stop by the drive thru window of a fast food joint that has closed for the night. There’s always tons of dropped change under the window.

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Amy D October 11, 2012 at 11:21 am

My best found money story: my friends and I picked up $225.10 in one long weekend in NYC.

I found $200 just lying in a crosswalk late on a Thursday night. That bought several rounds of drinks for us all!
A friend found $5 on a sidewalk outside a hotel the next day.
Another friend found $20 on a different sidewalk the day after, then picked up $.10 on the Staten Island ferry.

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

What?! All I found on the ground when I was just un NYC were some pennies.

Katy

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Odette October 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

My son used to be the master of finding money. He would even check EVERY phone booth (back when they existed) and almost always found change. Thanks for bringing on a sweet memory — our son died in 2006.

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that.

Katy

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A. Marie October 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Cheers re: your change jar! Here’s hoping for a couple of Jacksons before the end of the year.

My two best found-money stories:

(1) Over a decade ago, my then 6-year-old neighbor found a $100 bill at the end of our dead-end street. (At that time, we had a problem with drug dealers, which we have since taken steps to alleviate–i.e., a couple of cameras purchased and put up by neighborhood subscription.) The young neighbor is now 18, and I hope he’s earned at least a little interest on the $100; his parents “strongly encouraged” him to put it into his college fund.

(2) Also over a decade ago, my husband, my sister-in-law, and I were snorkeling in Trunk Bay off St. John, USVI, when SIL found a $50 on the bottom. Naturally, we didn’t feel we could run up and down the beach asking people, “Did you lose a $50 bill?”, so we reinvested it in the island’s economy by ordering a couple of Caribbean lobsters for dinner that night. Bliss.

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Donna B October 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I guess this is a habit I definitely need to pick up!

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Nyuk, nyuk …

Katy

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Rosie October 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I’ve been saving found money (just what we find on the ground, not our loose change) for a few years. Every few months we take it to the coin machine at our credit union and add it to the savings account. At this point, we have $220.84 in the account–all from found money. My friends think I’m nuts for bending down to pick up pennies, but as my grandpa would say– just 99 more and I have a dollar!

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John Benton October 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Many years ago, I had a job reading utility meters in a rural area. I would pick up pop and beer cans along the road. I collected about 20 to 30 each day. At a nickel a pop that made me over $30 a month. This was in the early 1980’s and that was pretty good extra money.

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Susan Robinson October 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I always pick up found money at the gas station, etc. whenever I see it. Even those pennies add up. But the other day at the car wash, I looked down by the trash container, and found45-50 pennies on the ground. Evidently the person cleaning out their car thought pennies were throw-away.
I don’t save the found money in a separate spot, but I think I will now just to see how many I can find in a year. Good idea!!

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Paige October 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

With five kids and all the laundry that creates I adopted a rule that a high school friend of mine’s mother had. Any and all things left in pockets that I find when I do laundry are MINE. Mnoey,jewelry,pens,pencils,phone numbers,matchbox cars…all mine. Luckily non of my kids like to collect frogs or worms or anything like that. My 3 yr old does have a habit of snatching peppermints so I win there too!!! I’ve been with my second husband for going on five years now…they STILL haven’t learned. I make a good $15 every two weeks. I’m ready for them to be old enough for jobs and leaving paycheck money in there. Maybe I can quit an extra job!

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Andrea October 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

Ha that’s amazing 😀 my mum works as a house keeper and I know her boss actually told her to keep all the money she’d find ^^

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Debbie S. October 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Like a lot of people here, we save all of our change as well as the found money. The first year we started saving it we kept track separately. The grand total was just under 15.00 for the found $$; not bad for ‘free’.

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tna October 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I walk 5-10 miles a day and hardly ever find any money. I just need a tiny jar I reckon.

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Mama Minou October 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I kinda find money on the street by switching out my neighbor’s glass recycling box with ours (under cover of night) every week and recycling all of her (their?) beer bottles. At least $10 monthly. We save it for special treats like ice cream out, but it sometimes gets dipped into for bus change. I shudder for her liver, but it’s a small windfall for us!

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Another Rebecca October 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I used to have a several mile walk home from swim team as a teen. It was very cold one day and the walk was boring so I would make up games to pass the time. I always walked passed a large drainage ditch near an industrial park and there was always wierd stuff in it, so one time I told myself that I would find some money in it before I got home, just as a game. Then I actually found $20 floating in the ditch. Mind over matter sometimes.

And yes, I picked that $20 right out of the slimy ditch, took it home and “laundered” it!

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AFS October 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I found a penny today, which brings my 2012 total up to $1.43, far short of your $23.
Over the years I was fortunate to pick up 20’s twice, but the best story I have is from my brother who found a Ben Franklin while bike riding. He was convinced it wasn’t real until he took it to the bank.

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AFS October 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm

when I worked at a restaurant I always offered to be the one to clean under the cushions in the booth. Every booth yielded something.

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Amanda @ The Scacchi House October 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I don’t know about you, but every time I get a bunch of change (especially quarters) in my jar, they magically disappear (read: husband swipes them). I just posted on my blog about taking all of my change to Coinstar and getting an Amazon gift card. I love finding change on the ground. The school I worked at had a great little program going. Any change you would find around school, you would turn into a certain person. Once $1 was collected, he would buy a lotto ticket. If any money was won, you would receive the percentage of the $1 you put in. I thought it was a neat idea. I normally don’t play the lotto, but this particular person that organizes it has won 3 different times. A penny couldn’t hurt, right?

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Katy October 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

My husband knows to not make me choose between him and my jar of found change. 😉

Katy

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Christa October 12, 2012 at 5:53 am

My youngest son is the guru of found change. He is always looking and being so low to the ground helps. He has been known to get on his belly in the grocery store checkout line to make discoveries of pennies, dimes, nickels and the rarer quarter. (He’s a lot less conspicuous on his belly than his mother would be!) His best find so far was a $20 bill! A boy after his mother’s heart who also once found a $20 bill. All the money goes into his piggy bank until it is full and then it’s deposited into his savings account for a rainy day. Every little bit adds up!

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Ruby J. October 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

My son, now in college, is also one of those who finds dropped change. Ever since he was little, he’s checked the slots of gum machines, soda machines, Coinstar, etc. He used to bring home at least 25 cents every day in high school because kids would stick a dollar bill in the drink machine for a 75 cent drink, and then either leave the quarter in the change slot or drop it on the floor. Their reasoning, he told me, was that it was a pain to carry around loose change. (Cue astonished face.) Fortunately we have no such problem.

My best haul on found money came at a time when we really needed it. My husband had left his job to go back to school, so money was scarce and tight at our house. I was leaving the supermarket one day and found $20 on the ground, which gave our grocery budget a major boost.

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Reese October 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

When my husband and I first moved to Chicago so I could attend graduate school, he had a hard time finding a job and I couldn’t work with the project load. We had a strict $20/week budget for the two of us. One day, when walking out of Aldi, we found a $10 bill on the ground. We weren’t eating any meat at that point (Since it was too expensive to buy) and this allowed us to get three whole frozen chickens. I nearly cried when we cooked with them. It was a great moment to find that much!

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Katy October 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I bet you made a dozen meals from those three chickens!

Katy

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Renee CA October 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

My husband’s best find was $300 in a plain white envelope at a gas station. I felt bad for whomever lost it, I hope it wasn’t their rent or something, but there was no way to find the owner. I hope they are carrying their money around in a more secure way these days!

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Angel October 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm

At the risk of giving up my lucrative side gig–I always check the ground near parking meters. People will drop their pennies because they don’t work in the meters. I think I picked up over $50 last year keeping my eyes open on my daily walk (not all were pennies though!).

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Diane October 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I haven’t found any money for a long time, but am going to start looking tomorrow. I like the idea of keeping it in a jar, saving up for something special. Although, my college grad told me she is very leery of picking up coins that are face down…bad karma, apparently!

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Kelly October 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Years ago when I was backpacking in Europe with a friend we found about 100 euros just lying on the sidewalk. There was no one around on that street to ask if they dropped it so we kept it! We went and had the fanciest dinner that night, ha! And this past May I found $10 on the sidewalk outside of an art museum. We used it to pay for our parking, yay free parking!

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patti October 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

Well, you aren’t going to believe this but we saw some teenage girls drop change on the sidewalk while on vacation last year. My husband picked it up and took it to them, but they said it wasn’t theirs. He insisted he had just seen them drop it but they said no. My college age son was mortified….according to him, it is very uncool for teens to carry change in their skin tight jeans. So I guess if you are near teenage/college student hangouts, check the ground. Of course, my son insisted he would never do that (ha!ha! He knows where his money comes from!!).

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Andrea October 24, 2012 at 11:30 am

I love this! My boyfriend started a “tradition” where we NEVER and under no circumstances spend any coins but put all of it in our piggy banks (mine’s not a pig but a huge teal hare called Geronimo).
It’s unbelievable how much money you spend just by paying with coins.

Everybody always laughs at me but I pick up every single coin (and sometimes even empty bottles on the train – you get betweeen 8 and 25Cents per bottle if you take them back to the shop). My grandmother taught me this. She had 8 children who she raised on a tiny budget so I guess she must’ve known how to handle money the right way ^^

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