10 Best Places To Find Money When Walking

finding coins on the streetI 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.

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64 Responses to 10 Best Places To Find Money When Walking

  1. Pat says:

    My son will love this! I’m always giving him a hard time because he never passes by a pay phone or vending machine withoug stopping and checking for change!

  2. vsjhoc says:

    Make sure you push the coin return button on pay phones and vending machines — sometimes it drops change into the coin return slot!

  3. Boston Gal says:

    A great place to find coins in the US is to walk around a car wash. Pay attention near the vacuum stations – you would be amazed how many people, cleaning out their cars, just throw change away that is found under mats or under the seats.

    Another popular vending machine place is at highway rest stops – I always find change there and in the parking lot. People are tired and stiff from driving long distances and don’t bother bending down to pick up dropped change or to retrieve change in the vending machine.

  4. fractalbrothers says:

    if you don’t mind getting a little wet, just dive into a public fountain!

    I used to get quarters out of the fountain at the mall to buy cokes/lunch.. good times.

  5. The Money Dude says:

    Cool post but I think that I will stick to just saving hopefully I dont ever hit that point

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  7. Jose says:

    You have been referenced in my Post.
    Do you pick a penny?

  8. ~Dawn says:

    Don’t forget to check the melting snow pile areas as well.
    1- people don’t like to pick up money from the snow (if they can find it)
    2- snow removal trucks push money to the pile and they sit, waiting to be picked up or blown away (found a few dollars this way)

  9. I love the idea of finding money and often have the luck of finding pennies and dimes, but I have questions. Dosn’t this give you a bad back? Won’t a bad back cost you more in the long run? Just a weird thought 🙂

  10. McDonald says:

    Fast food drive up windows.

  11. GrimJack says:

    Picking pennies pays about $18 to $36 per hour depending on whether you take 1 or 2 seconds to pick it up (shout out to The Straight Dope http://www.straightdope.com/ where I first read the calculations).

  12. pfadvice says:

    Won’t a bad back cost you more in the long run?

    heh – it’s not like it’s a repetitive task being done 100 times a day 😉 I guess if you were in poor physical condition it could be an issue, but it really isn’t any different than stopping to tie your shoelaces a few times a month.

  13. Strix says:

    Couches in bars, waiting rooms, transit lounges, etc often contain coins.

  14. Debby says:

    We have found another great place is drive through windows – people drop change and don’t get out to collect it.

  15. britt says:

    A couple days ago i came up with $30 in change from coins that i found in my room, also in my car and looking through some old purses. Im taking it to the bank.

  16. Loretta says:

    oh yeahhhhh the vending machines are the shit man. I check the vending machines at the entrance of our grocery store every time I go shopping..and I would say about 75% of the time there’s something. Usually quarters too. Once found 75 cents in one…that was awesome. I love finding change. It’s a cheap thrill…literally.

  17. SabiEleven says:

    I found several quarters in a pay phone return slot once.

    I found this while trying to find the legal status of taking money from a fountain.

    Good read though.

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  20. lomleil says:

    I do not know about taking coins out of a fountain, people in the US would get mad at you… Once in college I found myself without a penny to ride the bus, i forgot my wallet at home… I had to walk about 8 miles and while walking i was looking for coins so desperately and found some, not enough though to pay the bus… Good Times in College. ha,ha. You have to struggle sometimes…

  21. jerry says:

    well I have found coins as you point out in article,,I also would add that using a metdal detector to find all the coins dropped (I have found many )

  22. Aussie boy says:

    I live in Australia and – being 11, I can get away with looking in the odd vending machine. But really, with adults looking on the sidewalk and in ticket machines has a chance of ruining your social life.

    Considered it that way?

  23. gary hayes says:

    I find quite a bit of change when I ride my bicycle. Since the bike is my basic transportation, I have a lot of opportunities to look for dropped things in the road. it doesn’t take a lot of concentration or any special skills, since you have to be looking at the road anyway. Parking lots , or any place where there’s people in & out of cars can be productive, like convenience stores. Pay phones, if you can find any. Newspaper racks. Really, anywhere there are people and pockets, you have a chance of finding something. The thing is, you have to LOOK. You’ll never find anything looking at the sky. Ive found change, paper money, keys, a cell phone once. Rolling papers, pipes,prescription medications, TOOLS. If you go along any highway long enough, you can find enough tools to fill a
    toolbox. Railroad crossings. Look in the gaps alongside the rails. Drive-up windows. Vending machines. If you stand back a little bit, you can see right in the coin return slot, and not have to stick your finger in there. Intersections. I don’t know why, but dropped coins seem to gravitate to crossroads. The main thing is to always look. After a while, your eyes will become trained to see these things. After a rain is especially good. Wet coins SHINE in the street.

  24. Bluebird says:

    Another good place to keep an eye out for lost money is at a public park after (or during) a holiday weekend! It’s Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S. this weekend. My daughter and her friend were at a local park playground this afternoon. The park was crowded with picnickers and lots of kids and parents playing on the swings, slides, etc. My daughter’s friend found a folded $20 bill in the sandbox!

    Also, once, while on my daily 3 mile walk, I spotted half of a $5 dollar bill. A couple steps later, I found the other half. As long as the serial numbers are intact, you can take a torn bill to your bank and exchange it for a whole one.

  25. Mike says:

    Last year, the family decided to go to the local Farmers Market on a Sunday just to have something to do. Well, we were walking around the outside section of it, and within 10 minutes of walking, my 13 year old son found a bill on the ground. I thought that it was a one dollar bill, but it was a 100 dollar bill!!! We quickly shushed him, proceeded inside and bought some school clothes and sneakers for him. He had about 30 dollars left over to spend on himself for his find.

    Sorry, but I double check my pockets by instinct when I take something out of them to make sure that nothing dropped.


    P.S.- He is lucky. He has also found change, ones, and several times 20 or 30 bucks!

  26. Alex says:

    For Pat
    I feel sorry for your son. ;0)

  27. Money Finder says:

    Kinda random, but believe it or not, those Copy Machines that take coins always seem to have at least a nickel or dime in them. There was a time where I’d walk by the one at the grocery market 2-3 times a week and never fail to find at least one coin in the return. Also check the coin return in the CoinStar machines that count money and give you the voucher. Many people don’t hear the discarded coins dropping over the motor inside the machine and they don’t realize there is a coin return towards the bottom. I found $14 in quarters in there one time (don’t know if the person just didn’t turn the machine on, or if they really had that many “bad” quarters”? haha)

  28. Nik says:

    Under the setting sun. It doesn’t happen to every coin. Some don’t shine as much or at all, and some of the things that shine back are not coins. But, if you are looking at the ground and are facing the sun, sometimes a coin will shine back. It’s also a way to see them at a distance, sometimes many at once. Maybe I’d call this a good technique more than a good place. I found one this way without really trying.

  29. Stephanie says:


  30. Sandy says:

    Finding money is an awesome thing.
    Believe it or not, I found $31 in a Dollar Tree, just rolled up on the floor. Thats the highest amount I’ve found so far.

    I’ve found quite a bit of change, mainly because when i walk, I’m looking down most of the time.

  31. Gina says:

    I have been consistently finding $5 bills throughout my life. I am always outside walking when it happens and I mostly find them on the side of the road or in ditches. The last time was in a shopping cart storage thing at costco. I guess I kinda keep my eyes open for money while on my walks though. I think maybe people are a little less careful with smaller bills. I did find a $20 in snowbank though…Score! Anyways, it’s always a treat to find some extra money to put in your pocket!! Cheers!

  32. Adam says:

    I wonce found five bucks under a vending machine!

  33. Chris Caston says:

    Try automatic touchscreen checkouts. Sometimes people drop coins behind the bags or even accidentally leave notes behind.

  34. hey says:

    also look at arcades behind the machines and under them to. you can find 5$ worth of coins.

  35. Danny says:

    People forget to check the reject slot in Coinstar machines. Many times good coins are rejected mistakenly by the machines. I bought something at the store for $1.89 and found $2.12 in the Coinstar reject slot. 23 cents profit!

  36. Amy Matthews says:

    I find that another good place to find money is at gas stations. In front of the counter on the floor or on the items for sale in front of the counter. I usually just return it to their collection jars or to their free extra coin containers. I have also found a twenty and once a fifty bill at a closed gas stations parking lot next to the pay phone late in the evening. I find that when I really need some extra cash, it pops up in unexpected spots. Another hot spot for money is railroad tracks.

  37. Lastluke says:

    Just make sure you don’t look where they dump the trash from the vacuums at the car washes. I was looking around where they dump the lint, and I was finding a few pennies and dimes. Then, the owner calls the cops on me. I was arrested and given a $175 ticket. I hate our lack of freedom in America…

  38. laundry – washer & dryer at home

    and at pay laundrymats or washeterias as some folks call them.

  39. kevin says:

    Bus stops are great places,and along fencnes.

  40. El Tee says:

    Discarded cigarette packs, found $350 in one near a tavern, told the bartender that I had found something of great value, no one ever came forward to claim it. LT

  41. LoVe-_-iBeAsT says:

    found 250$ in walmart

  42. Gamer10796 says:

    Thank you for the advise.

  43. ricky says:

    walk were the wind blows that is where the dollars is at. check your local bleachers during football season. find where the wind blows and that is where the dollars fly. found $100.00 twice at walmart during christmas. plenty at the local school during football season just following the wind. good luck. clark howard taught me this . when he rides his moped and stops to pick up change people would get mad. check out clark howard cnn 6 times every weekend and on the radio in the evening.

  44. maisie says:

    The great place is in a washing machine I always fing money in there.

  45. Lucy Liburrd says:

    Mind If you don’t find money in any of dose places. Like seriously Come On Idiots.! But i get it hard times for you guys.

  46. usman says:

    I once found a $50 note in a libary, it right under the counter!

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  48. joseph says:

    your son sounds very smart i use to travel a lot for a job that i use to have and people i worked would often lough thanking i was crazy for all the money i would pick up off the ground and things in the united states moving a round i found the best place to hit is a fast food windows where the car pulls up the man or woman often drop coins on the ground at the time they are handing them to you sure it dont seem like much but just thank they get over a 1000 cars a day say if they only drop a dime on 50% of the cars that would come to a round 50 bucks just at one place and thats daily just don’t wont to do it in the dark as it looks like you are about to break into the place best time is a couple hours before they open this way it looks like your waiting for them to open and its light out just right to see for the pickings i done this before and dont find it wrong as they are just going to swamp it up into the trash any way i like what the writer also said that its not the best way to make money but it’s relly how big of a place you are in how good you are at seeing things and just knowing your way a round after a while you know where your pay out fast food places are and so on also sonics are a great place to look do to most of the skate and drop coins.

  49. Lucii says:

    Even just going into a store or market, you are bound to find some loose change about, I once dropped one of my coins on the floor, and there happened to be a few more under the shelves and stuff. It’s worth a look, nowadays, I just pretend that I accidently dropped my coins and scoop up the lost ones too. 😀

  50. coin guy says:

    I found a couple dollar coins in a coin return once someone forgpt there change

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