Found Change Challenge — A Midyear Update

by Katy on July 23, 2014 · 21 comments

Found Change Challenge

We are a few weeks past the official halfway mark for 2014, so I present a better-late-than-never update on the Found Change Challenge.

Without further ado, I proudly announce that despite having found only one piece of folding money, (a single dollar bill) I’ve found $26.115 so far this year!

It was quarter by quarter, penny by penny.

At this point, you may be asking yourself how I found a half a cent, to which present exhibit A:

Half penny

It seems that almost every time I venture out into the world I come across at least one penny, and I wonder about the people who walk by these very obvious coins. It’s free money, people!

Take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Are you participating in the Non-Consumer Advocate’s Found Change Challenge? It’s never too late to join!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

pat July 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Love it! Found money jar here I come. As a senior I do pick up pennies and any other money I see lying around. Never found a bill though.
I was just thinking that the amount you found could really help someone who was serious about starting to stock pile extra food. They could save up till a good sale on something they used and purchase it with found money. The next time they shopped they would have that small amount they spent for 1 item to spend only on another very good special, thus compounding their savings. Any way that’s what I plan to do.
Thanks for the inspiration.


Katy July 23, 2014 at 2:07 pm

That’s a great idea! I put all my found money towards the boys’ college fund.


AnnDenee July 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Wish I had a found money story to share, but sadly I don’t. I do know that Australia is very much a card culture and not a cash culture so maybe that’s part of the reason for no found coins.

My family though is a cash culture. In fact, I’ll be stopping by the bank today to pull out our cash for the week and sorting it into envelopes this afternoon.



Kate July 24, 2014 at 7:38 am

I have noticed that since Canada eliminated pennies several months ago, there is much less change lying around.


Carla July 23, 2014 at 2:33 pm

True story: About two weeks ago, I stopped a curbside pile of sporting goods, took a few hockey sticks for my 3 yr old to amuse himself with and saw a container with a good pile of coins, pennies and nickels mostly. I then wondered if this was an honour-system payment thing (I had just the day before bought veggies at an honour-system farm stand, complete with change jar!,and paid in full of course), so when I saw what looked like the house owner come out of his house I asked if I should leave some money. He said (I QUOTE) “that? oh no, that’s garbage, it’s just pennies, you can take it if you want”. Me: “Garbage? umh, yes I’ll take it. Thanks”. I scooped it up and left quickly fully expecting him to stop me, tell me he was joking. He didn’t. Every person in my family heard this story and we were dumbfounded, flabbergasted, just speechless. We wonder, how can this man say a bunch of coins, money! people! money!, is “just garbage”? Does he have so much to spare? What kind of example is he giving his children (who were walking out of the house with him)? what kind of lifestyle does someone who considers money garbage? It is true that the penny has been phased out in Canada, where we live, but you can donate them to charities or take them to any bank. But, even so, there were lots of other types of coins there.

Anyway, we counted it up, got $13.08 out of it (many pennies, but plenty of nickels, dimes and quarters) which we happily spent on some summer treats (kids had a chuckle about buying freezies with “garbage”) and I used the rest for some thrift store shopping.


Linda July 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

A good percentage of my “found money” comes from the nearby wooded park where teens hang out at night. I pick up the litter they leave behind (because I care about the park) and often find a few coins among the food wrappers and drink cans. I figure that they just don’t see the value in a few coins.


Katy July 23, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I bet you find stuff there besides money. 😉


lynda July 24, 2014 at 12:54 am



A. Marie July 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Yeah, people don’t pick up dropped pennies around here either. I do, routinely–but my bookkeeping system is a bit eccentric (I roll the found money in with my income from picking up 5-cent deposit containers), so I can’t give you a separate year-to-date total on the change.

But my best found-money story comes from a long-ago vacation on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. My sister-in-law was snorkeling a bit timidly in Trunk Bay when she spied a $50 bill on the bottom. You never saw anyone learn to free-dive so fast in your life. We happily reinvested it in the local economy by having a Caribbean lobster dinner at one of the best restaurants in Cruz Bay.


fru"girl" July 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Katy – I love your blog and I have $3.68 “found money” so far! I started in June and I am excited to keep going. It kind of goes like this…..I went to the airport to pick up my mom – found a penny. Went to the store and found a penny. Went to an amusement park and found a penny. Went to a wedding reception and found another penny and so on and so on. It really does add up. Too bad i didn’t start this last year – I actually found a $20.00 bill laying on the side of the road when i was running. That was fun! Maybe I need to start running again!!


Renee July 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

My eagle-eyed 3 and 4 year olds have gotten very good at spotting change on the ground. They love to put it in their piggy banks!


anna chan July 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm

My daughter was playing around some vending machines one time and pushed all the buttons. One of the machines spit a dollar bill back at her. After that both of my children always push all the vending machine coin returns and look underneath for lost coins. We also always pick up the pennies was see on the ground. I have no idea how much money we’ve found, but they have fun looking.


K D July 24, 2014 at 4:56 am

I am finding fewer coins all the time, but I have $4.86 in my found money jar. I emptied it in the spring so it is not a full six months worth. I think fewer people are using cash all the time. My teenager and her friends tend to use their debit cards for purchases. We are using cash more often, a lot of it has to do with the anonymity of it, we just don’t want to be tracked that much (not that we have anything to hide).


Kim from Philadelphia July 24, 2014 at 6:08 am

Ha- love the half cent!!

I’m also a change-picker-upper.
I was horrified recently to see a work colleague THROW A HANDFUL OF CHANGE INTO THE TRASH!!
I was mortified. She said ” it’s so annoying”
Of course I picked it out when she went to lunch ( I packed mine, of course 😄)


Cyndi July 24, 2014 at 6:21 am

I’d like to see a Venn Diagram of people who pick up coins and people who drink out of public fountains 🙂


Amy July 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I’ve found 2 quarters and a penny over the last week which got added to our change jar. It is an old blue mason jar that we put all our chNge in to save for a family outing.
My best ever finds: a twenty dollar bill lying on the sidewalk in broad daylight in downtown Raleigh and a pile of pennies dumped in a Kroger parking lot. I’m guessing the former owner dumped his ashtray full of coins. To this day I always look around that parking lot!


Jami July 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I love this challenge! It makes my walks and runs more fun when I can look for money! I live in a small town with apparently other change collectors on the hunt. I only have $1.74 (since I started in March) in my jar! It may also be me – I recently heard a kid yell, “I just found $5!” right behind me as I bent to pick up a penny. Sigh. I’ll have to go hunting tonight – it’s fair weekend here! Cha-Ching!


jill July 28, 2014 at 5:39 am

I was all excited the other day as the hubby and I were using a self-checkout and I found a penny on the floor by the register. Then my husband burst my bubble and said that I dropped it when I was paying. Oh well.


peppergrass December 21, 2014 at 6:53 am

I’m a long-time loose change scavenger. I’ve decided to start a dedicated “found money” jar in 2015 and donate it to our local food pantry.


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