Tag Archives: Penny

According to this year’s found money count, the economy is picking up

Ben Bernanke and all the other economists notwithstanding, I am here to tell you that the economy is picking up. I know this for a fact. Truly. I have proof.

On New Year’s Day, my husband dumped out the jar of coins and dollar bills that we have found on the ground over the past year. We’ve been doing this since 2007. Annual totals have ranged from $27.80 in 2010 to our all-time low of $9.01 in 2011.

At the end of the counting on Jan. 1, we had our proof. This year’s take was $19.84, which means that we more than doubled last year’s. So there you have it. The economy is so much better that people are dropping more money and/or picking up less. Whatever…we’ve got a pile and are planning our celebratory dinner out.

After all, we’ve worked hard for this. Our walks and bike rides have taken us through freezing temps, ice, snow, heat, humidity, as well glorious days when the weather is so perfect you can hardly bear to go indoors. And all the while, our eyes were scanning the ground for that elusive penny or — rare — dollar bill.

This is what found money looks like. Pretty shiny, eh?

2012-Found-Cash

Found money

My husband and I have this thing about finding money. We pick it up. Of course. Who wouldn’t? Apparently, not everyone does this because one day while walking to lunch with two friends, I spied a penny on the ground. As I picked it up, they both gasped and bellowed, “Was it heads or tails?”

Umm…gee. I didn’t know — I already had it in my hand. Who cares? They informed me that it was bad luck to pick up a penny that was tails up. You know what? I don’t give a rat’s you-know-what if it is tails or heads up. It’s a penny and yes, I realize the value of a penny is insignificant to some people but there’s this jar in my kitchen that doesn’t agree.

See, here’s the thing. We’ve been collecting found money ever since Jim Kinn told my husband that when he and Sue take walks, they have to walk until they’ve found money…penny, nickle, quarter, whatever. I assume this means that they give themselves an “out” once in a while because otherwise they’d be a pretty tired and bedraggled looking couple.

Anyway, we decided to adopt that routine. This works well in theory. It also works a LOT better when there is no snow on the ground. A few years ago, we expanded our definition of “found money.” This happened one day when our daughter came to visit…along with a large bag of dirty laundry. Because our daughters have been shoving things in their pockets since they discovered worms and bugs, I check pockets. And I find money.

So…found money can be “found” anywhere…on the street, in a pocket, on the floor, on the countertop, wherever someone drops it — intentional or not. This can sometimes cause some dissension among the ranks…especially if it’s paper money left in a pocket. Whatever, wherever…the found money goes into the jar on the windowsill. On New Year’s Eve, we count the money we’ve found over the last 12 months and we use it to take ourselves out to dinner.

When we remove the money from the jar, we replace it with a scrap of paper on which we’ve written the year and the amount. Just for the record, this is what we have found in the last four years:

2007    $22.19
2008     $23.07 (Note to Everett C. — this included two $5 bills that Fred thinks were yours)
2009     $12.25 (This was an economic downturn year — Fred’s analysis is that people were tight with their money)
2010     $27.80 (The economy went crazy…people were dropping money all over the place)
2011      $.25 to date….

Oh, and by the way, this project has solved one problem. The girls still bring home laundry once in a while, but when they walk in the door, their instructions are, “You are NOT going to wash my clothes. I will do them.” Huh. Too bad. Guess they figured they were missing some money.