And The “Found Change Challenge” Total for 2012 was . . .

by Katy on January 8, 2013 · 26 comments

Money jar

I really enjoyed the Found Change Challenge for 2012, and have already started up a new jar for 2013. For those who are new to the blog, the Found Change Challenge was a year-long project to save up all my picked-it-up-off-the-ground money and then devote it to a single cause in the end. My goal had been to find $65, which would have been enough to stay one night at our favorite beach cabin. I knew that number was lofty, but I am Coin Girl, and if anyone could do it, it would be me.

I finally took my big jar of coins to the credit union yesterday, as they have a free coin counting machine. (Coin Girl would never pay for robots a machine to count her money!)

First I picked out the foreign coins and wheat pennies, and of course set the paper money aside. One penny and one quarter would not go through.

The grand total was $28.50. Way below my $65 goal, but still nothing to sneeze at. (Eeuw, I just started picturing sneezed on money. Thanks, Katy!)

But the number that I am most loving is that along with75 nickels, 56 dimes, 30 quarters, 3 dollar bills and a single 5 dollar bill, I found exactly 365 pennies.

Read that again — I found exactly 365 pennies!

All together now:

Whoa . . . 

Trippy, right?!

I felt weirdly sad and kind of deflated to turn all my hard-won money over to the credit union. It’s been so very satisfying to watch the jar fill up with plucked coins from my travels. (Yes, going to the grocery store falls within my definition of traveling.) Luckily, the next stop in my day-o-chores was to drop a few things at my son’s old middle school. And whattayaknow, I looked down to find two dimes and a penny in a puddle right outside the school.

Waiting for me.

Coin Girl.

And how will I spend my $28.50? This practical blogger put in into her 17-year-old son’s college account.

Yeah, I’m crazy like that.

Did you participate in the Found Change Challenge? And if so, how much did you find? Please share your totals and 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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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

katie January 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

does change you find in your own house/car count? because I am always finding “phanTom pennies” here and there in corners of my house.


Katy January 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

I didn’t count money from the house, although I do set that aside in a different spot. We use it for bus fare, etc.



gail January 8, 2013 at 11:31 am

When I was 9 or 10, I called my mom at work to see if I could go to the pool. She said yes, but I had no money. I collecte enough under sofa cushions,etc. and had some left over for a Popsicle. Fifty some years later I still look under cushions!


Katy January 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

Love it!



Elaine in Ark January 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I remember being walking about 1.5 miles each way to the library, and using my bus fare to get a soda at the Five & Dime (Woolworth’s, I think).

That was always a great day – books and a soda!!


Paula January 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

I am TOTALLY doing this in 2013! It’ll be interesting to see if Midwesterners leave more or less change on the streets than West Coast folks!


Calico ginger January 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm

OK, I am in – we will see how Sydney performs in relation to the US.


ellie January 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I only found $2.52 the entire year! My best find ever was a $100.00 bill several years ago on my daily trail walk ! So far in 2013 I haven’t found anything – maybe when (if) the snow melts and I can see the ground again.


Katy January 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Look on the ground next to cash registers. That’s where I find 80% of my money.



Elaine in Ark January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

And on the ground outside drive-thru windows. I found 21 cents there one day, when I opened to the door to retrieve a quarter that I dropped.


Sass January 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Count me in!!!! I’d LOVE to “find” money this year!!!!


David January 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Katy, We walk our dog a lot. A LOT. Sonic and school sidewalks are a good spot for change and the infrequent bill.
Our total for 2012 was $109.94. I was pretty excited about that in a nerdish way.
Started 2013 saving already…


Katy January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I bow down to your prowess!



A. Marie January 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

My version of the Found Change Challenge involves collecting containers with the NY 5-cent deposit, in addition to hard cash. For 2012, my total was $259.20–and this was an off year, since I had knee surgery last January and wasn’t out on the streets for a couple of months thereafter. It’s usually closer to $300. Cha-ching!


Beth January 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I never find wheat pennies anymore! Lucky you!


Katy January 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

The wheat pennies are rejected by the coin counting machines, so they sit in the reject tray.



Paula in the UP January 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm

We save change and found money together, I suppose I could split it up for just such a challenge!! I have only found one penny so far for 2013.

Are you making a goal amount again this year? Same as last years?


Katy January 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm

I would like to find $100, but it’s kind of hard to influence the amount found.



Paula in the UP January 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Haha! I would even be happy with a $20! My hubby is actually much better at finding money than I am. It’s like he should be Coin Man!


Kailey January 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I had a friend who always made fun of me for picking up money and I would always say, “hey, it all adds up.”
I’m going to take the found money challenge and put some hard numbers behind my claim!


AnnW January 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Katy, you averaged about 8 cents a day. You need to get out more like the dog walker. I always seem to drop change at CVS into the gum and candy displays underneath the cash register. Maybe everyone does.


AFS January 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

You rule coin girl! At only $2. 95.I came woeful short of your grand sum
I don’t find money like I used to. I think people using plastic instead of cash is part of the reason. Secondly, now a days I don’t walk in places where people are likely to drop money as I did when I was working in a mall. I always volunteered to clean the booths at a restaurant I worked at because there was always money under the cushions.


Joyce January 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

I thought I was the only one who picked up pennies anymore. I will be joining this for sure. I usually just mix it in with all other change.


Amanda January 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I’m in for 2013. I found a nickel and penny today, but my two year old has assumed ownership of the penny. I assume it is okay to put one of my own pennies in and let him have the found one. 🙂


Bridget January 10, 2013 at 7:50 am

Count me in for 2013! Thanks for your blog and frugal inspiration : )


Muriel January 11, 2013 at 3:40 am

I’m gonna set up a jar and do this 🙂 I think it”ll be kinda fun!
I found $80 on the side of the road about 3 years ago – well my neice, Jenn, actually spotted it while we were at a stop sign a couple of blocks from my house. We split it 🙂


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