Found money update: 2012.

thI’m a little late totaling up my 2012 found money. Okay, I’m several months late; normally I count the money around Thanksgiving.

Even though the money’s been counted, it’s still at my friend Linda’s house along with some other things I haven’t moved to my new place. Also still at Linda’s is the old vase in which I keep my finds, a gift from my daughter when she was very young. Abby found it in the “free” box at a yard sale. (That’s my girl!)

I’ve been using an old plastic container for all the coins I’ve picked up since Jan. 1. It doesn’t have the soul of that vase, which is actually pretty ghastly: fthe color of a Pepto Bismol tablet left out in the sun, embellished with gilt and bearing a painting of what looks like a 17th-century dude courting a 17th-century dame. But it was a gift from my kid, and I treasure it. Perhaps my descendants will take it to “Antiques Roadshow” and find out it’s worth a million bucks.

Last year’s final tally:

  • Six $1 bills
  • One 50-cent piece
  • 15 quarters
  • 71 dimes
  • 22 nickels
  • 286 pennies

I also found a single Canadian dime, which I’ll add to my stash. Who knows? I may drive the Al-Can again some day.

So far this year I’ve picked up only 54 cents. Since moving to Anchorage I’ve walked through far fewer commercial areas. On the other hand, I may find a lot of coins on the bike path once the snow melts.

No matter where I find them, I’ll pick them up. As I explained in “Filthy lucre,” my found coins extend my giving dollars. I round them up, though; the $21.31 that I found became a $50 donation to the Food Bank of Alaska.

According to Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest), $1 will buy the ingredients for eight meals. I remind myself of that every time I hesitate to pick up a coin.

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  1. Emily Guy Birken

    I think we’re going to need a photograph of that vase. For blogging posterity.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Emily Guy Birken: I’ll have my niece snap a picture with her camera phone. I have a digital camera but the cable that connects it to my computer was somehow lost in the move. When I investigated getting a new one, it was tremendously expensive. Grrrr. I’ve decided to start watching yard sales for a Kodak Easy Share at a reasonable price, and buy it just for the cable.

  2. Debbie

    Did the same this past Monday…I took out any wheat pennies (why??), left the Canadian money, and off to the bank we went. Total: $34.63 (of course the $0.63 goes towards next years jar) We seldom use cash so we were suprised that we had even that much…Another thing out of the closet, and fun-money to spend!! Next stop…… spring garage sale.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Debbie: I save wheat pennies too. Because…they’re wheat pennies, I guess.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

      • Your wheat pennies are worth more than a penny. Some only three cents others more than that. You can look online and find the value before selling them yourself or taking them to a coin dealer.
        My dad collected them for years and now I find myself collecting them too!

      • imjunipernow

        Do you do the wheat penny chant?

        When looking through my change for wheat pennies, I chant “Wheat penny, wheat penny, where are you?” It works!

        • Donna Freedman

          Never heard that one. I’ll give it a try, since I have 286 pennies to wrap now. 🙂

  3. I really have to laugh at holding back the Canadian dime. Even though I live in So. Cal. I have occasionally had the Canadian dime or penny pass through my life. I always just drop it back in my change pile and then pass it on at the next store. I have never had one rejected. YMMV of course.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Anne: Sometimes you can use them here in Anchorage. At one point they even worked in vending machines. Don’t know if they still do. But I keep all the Canadian coins in a stash for travel, although one year I gave them away on Freecycle. A bunch of people requested them; I chose the “band mom,” whose daughter was going to some kind of competition in Vancouver.

  4. Wow, you find a ton more money than I do! I need to start looking down more when I walk, lol. I second the idea that you should post a picture of that vase. 🙂

  5. Catseye

    Wow! That’s a lot of found money, Donna! Where do you walk when you find it? I’m always finding pennies, no matter where I go, but nickels, dimes and quarters would be nice, too.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Catseye: I check the Coinstar machines as I go by, on the floor at checkout counters and pretty much anywhere I go. On the way out of the movie theater today I found a dime, and I found a penny on the floor at the Walgreens checkout. On my way to next year’s contribution.

  6. I love reading your found money totals, as I do the same. I haven’t added up my amount yet, but this year I found 72 pennies in one big penny dump, under the snow melt. I thought hit the lottery…

  7. Frances

    I never find money like that. People around here must be more careful with their to change….. or they don’t have any.

  8. Katherine

    I am in the process of 365 things in 365 days of cleaning. We’re doing renovations (paid for in cash and elbow grease) and it has been “incentive” to clean out. So far, we’re up to 591 things either given away, donated or tossed and we’re still working — it is only March 2nd. Anyway……I have found about $40 in pants and coat pockets. Woot! Woot! Those funds are are going into our “fun fund” savings account. Along with the rebate check I forgot about that came in January and the rolled coins. My kids are stealthy, so I’ve not found much change anywhere, but I’ll keep looking. Lincoln’s head is always a welcomed sight — either on a $5 spot or a penny!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Katherine: Almost 600 things dealt with so far? Wow. Impressive.

  9. jestjack

    I don’t have the luck or “eagle eye” that you do concerning found money BUT the year has started out right. Removed a delapidated chair from a rental and as I loaded it 60 cents fell out. The next day after asking the tenants for over a month to clean up the trash that blown against the adjacent fence….I went ahead and did it. Found three $1 bills in with the trash and debris…Maybe this is a sign of a better year to come….

  10. Lilypad

    I always stop and pick up coins (I found 11 cents the other day) and have taught my son (11) to do the same. Although, since he has OCD (clinical, not just like when people say they have OCD), and he’s a germophobe and he makes me pick them up. I don’t care (that’s what hand sanitizer is for), and I also don’t care if people think I’m a freak. It’s free money, which is my favorite kind. (Once my husband found $700 in a grocery store and he gave it back to the person who had lost it. That awesome karma carried us for quite a few years! 😉 )

    • Catseye

      Good for your hubby, Lilypad! I just remembered that I found a wad of cash at the gas pumps in a Walmart parking lot back in October ’12. It was next to a car’s front tire. The car’s driver was standing a yard away and never even noticed me until I asked her if she’d lost something and showed her the money. The look on her face was priceless and she insisted on giving me a $25 reward. That money was probably a just cashed paycheck. So glad I found it before she drove away.

  11. Here in Canada we can bring in beer cans and alcohol bottles for money back. I pick them up from alleys and parks where they’ve been discarded and donate them to the Humane Society, who has a program to take them. That way I’m helping to clean up the parks and helping the sheltered animals as well!


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