I wrote last year that I like to look for money when I walk around. I find a minimum of $50 a year and would estimate that I clear over $100 most years (in helps living in Japan where they have $1 and $5 coins). I received an email asking me where are the best places to find coins and so here is my top ten list for those who want to try.
Before I begin, let me emphasize that if you are doing this to try and make extra money, it’s not going to work. While it may be hard to understand, it really isn’t about the money. I have had a lot of friends in the past that have heard about how I am able to find money and decide they are going to try it too – and invariably, they come back in a week’s time saying that they haven’t found anything. The truth is, you won’t find anything most days. That being said, if you are not looking, the days that you do find money you probably wouldn’t had you not been looking. The people that are successful at it view it more as a game and treat it as such.
Another thing is that I am basing these top ten places on my experience living in Japan. While I assume they will convert pretty well to those living in other countries, there are bound to be some slight differences — one of which is I walk a lot more in Japan than I ever do in the US (thus increasing my chances of finding money). And without further ado, here are the top 10 places I find money:
10. Sidewalks: Most people don’t look at the sidewalk when they walk. It’s surprising the number of people that walk by money simply because they never have seen it. Keep your eyes on the sidewalk when walking and you are sure to find some coins.
9. Gutters: This may apply to countries where there are a lot of people that ride scooters like in Japan, but at least for me, walking on the edge of the sidewalk so that I can also see the gutter will increase the chances of me finding money.
8. Intersections / Crosswalks: I’m always on the lookout for money when crossing the street. For some reason, it seems to gather here more than on the sidewalks and gutters along the main portion of the street.
7. Train / Subway Stations: Public transportation stations are a good place to find fallen coins. People are taking out money to buy tickets and invariable a coin drops to the ground here and there.
6. Telephones: This used to be a great place to find coins and would have been much higher on the list if I had written it 5 years ago, but with everyone now carrying around a cell phone, it’s becoming harder to find coins around phone booths. Still, it’s worth a look since money does drop and people do forget the coins they are feeding into the phone from time to time.
5. Stores: People are at stores to buy things so they are taking money out of their pockets to pay for items they want. Coins get dropped and not all of them get found. Keep your eyes open along the sides and corners and you will find a stray coin from time to time.
4. Parking Lots: If I have an opportunity to cut through a parking lot, I don’t do it to save time or distance, but to look for coins. Parking lots are one of the better places to find coins.
3. Self Pay Parking Machines: I always pay special attention when I walk past a parking lot that has a self pay machine as the person is exiting. People are leaning out the window putting coins into the machine and sometimes a coin drops. Most of the time when this happens, the person isn’t going to get out of their car and look underneath it for the coin. Instead, they will write it off as a loss and just leave. When this happens and the timing is right, that coin will become mine.
2. Around Vending Machines: There are a huge number of vending machines in Japan and simply looking around them will provide you with a bunch of coins over a year’s time. This is especially true in winter when it’s cold outside and people are wearing gloves (I find far more coins in winter than I do in summer). They don’t have a feel for the coins and are more likely to drop one without noticing. I’m sure I could find even more if I was willing to look under the vending machines (they even make special tools in Japan for people to do that), but I stand out enough as a 6 foot 3 inch Caucasian in Japan, the prospect of standing out more by digging under vending machines has kept me from doing so.
1. Vending Machine Return Coin Slots: The place I find by far the most coins is in the coin return slots of vending machines. Luckily, most of them are clear plastic so you can see into them without getting down and reaching to feel around. As mentioned above, winter is the best time as people are often wearing gloves and don’t feel the coins they leave behind.