I like to walk and when I walk, I am always on the lookout for coins. I don’t really consciously do this — it has become a habit over the years. What I do know is that most years I add over $100 to my savings (you would need to keep over $10,000 in your local bank to earn the same amount in interest) simply by keeping my eyes open and knowing where to look.
Here’s the funny thing about finding coins. If you are doing this to try and make extra money, it’s not likely to work. While it may be hard to understand, finding coins really isn’t about the money although it never hurts to add what you do find to your savings. 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. Here are some of my favorite places to find coins in no particular order:
Car Wash: Coins come out of pockets at car washes and a fair share of them end up on the ground where they can be found. Pay special attention to the areas around the vacuum stations. It seems that a lot of people that are cleaning out their cars don’t think that the change is worth keeping and throw it out with the rest of the trash they find under their car seats and car mats.
Highway Rest Stops: People that have been on long road trips have made numerous stops and gathered up a pile of change in their car and pockets. They are tired and not paying as close attention as they might at other times and it seems a fair amount of those coins end up slipping out of the car and staying in the rest area. It’s also a great place to check vending machines.
Melting Snow: If you live in an area of the country where it snows, you’ll love spring if you become a coin hunter. When people drop coins in the winter, they often find it too cumbersome to pick up the coin, or the coin falls into the snow where it’s difficult to find. That leaves an accumulation of coins that appear in the Spring when the snow begins to melt off.
Fast Food Dive-Up Windows: When people hand over money to people at the drive up windows and receive their change, the exchange of coins doesn’t always go perfectly and a coin may fall from time to time. Many people aren’t willing to make the effort to open their car door and search around for where the coin ultimately landed. That means that a quick glance in the area of fast food drive-up windows can put a few coins into your pocket.
Self Pay Parking Machines: Much like the fast food dive up window, 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 yours.
Bars, Waiting Rooms, Transit Areas, Etc: It seems that there are a decent number of people that wear pants that simply don’t hold their coins in too well. If you scan around bars, waiting rooms, transit areas and the like, there is a good chance that you will be able to add a few coins to your findings. This is especially true if they have sitting areas with couches or the like where coins can hide.
Your Own Home: I don’t actually count the money that I find in my home toward the total amount of money I find each year since I consider it already to be mine, but that being said, you probably have a decent amount of coins lying around your house that you don’t know about or have forgotten. Decide to do a Spring cleaning and you’re likely to end the day with more money than when you started. Check pant and coat pockets from time to time and you’ll likely find a forgotten bill or change.
At the Beach: There is a reason that you see people on the beach with metal detectors scanning the sand. People go to the beach and coins get dropped because bathing suits don’t have pockets when people are changing. Those coins often get covered in sand so that the person that lost them doesn’t even notice they are gone. While it can be more difficult to spot these coins, they are definitely there for those who have a keen eye.
At Parks: With the fourth of July weekend coming up, it will be a great time to keep your eyes open in the parks. With all the commotion and large number of people, a few coins always seem to get left behind. This is also true after any holiday weekends or events.
Wherever crowds have gathered: If there is a crowd, there is a good chance that coins can be found, especially directly after the crowd begins to dissipate. Places where money transactions take place outside like art fairs and other community events are also prime locations to find a few extra coins lying around on the ground.
Copy Machines: This isn’t as good of a place to find coins as it used to be when nobody had a home computer and printer in their house, but it is still a place to check the coin slot or credit count when you walk past them. It seems that a fair number of those that use copy machines are in a hurry and simply forget the extra money they have put into the machine.
Telephones: Much like the copy machine, this used to be a great place to find coins, but with everyone now carrying around a cell phone it’s becoming more difficult 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.
Coinstar Machines: When people put their money into change counting machines, there are often a few coins that get spit out into the coin slot because the machine couldn’t decipher the coin properly. Some people don’t realize this or forget and leave the coins there so it’s always worthwhile checking when you pass them.
Sidewalks: When people walk, most of them don’t look at the sidewalk. It’s surprising the number of people that walk right on by money simply because they never have seen it. If you keep your eyes on the sidewalk whenever you happen to take a walk, you are sure to find some coins.
Gutters: When you are walking on the sidewalk, stay to the street side. While you may find a few coins on the sidewalk, you’re likely to find even more in the gutter beside the sidewalk during your travels since people are even less likely to be looking there when they walk.
Intersections / Crosswalks: I’m always on the lookout for money when crossing the street. For some reason, coins seem to gather there more than on the sidewalks and gutters along the main portion of the street.
Train / Subway Stations: Public transportation stations are a good place to find fallen coins. People are taking out money to buy tickets, sitting and standing quite a bit and invariable a coin drops to the ground here and there.
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.
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. I tend to park as far away as I can from the store to let me walk across parking lots when I go shopping. Parking lots are one of the better places to find coins.
Around Vending Machines: If there are vending machines, there is a good chance that there is a lost coin around. This is especially true in winter when it’s cold outside and people are wearing gloves (I find far more coins in winter around vending machines than I do in summer). They don’t have a feel for the coins and are more likely to drop one without noticing. Of course, don’t forget to check the coin slots as well.