20 Great Places to Find Coins

places to find coins

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

(Photo courtesy of newseamus)

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68 Responses to 20 Great Places to Find Coins

  1. baselle says:

    Nice list. Also note newspaper aka honesty boxes (like vending machines) are good. And make sure you check the BACK of the vending machine, honesty box, etc. Also, lately, I’ve been finding spare coins on bank lobby floors. Go figure. :)

  2. Junebaby says:

    One day at the grocery store checkout, there was a piece of old wilted lettuce on the floor, just under the candy display rack. I looked more closely since it was not yet my turn to check out, and I realized it was a $10.00 bill!

  3. Aleta says:

    There are self-checkout lines in my grocery store and often people forget to pick up their change from the slots. I have often found change there.

  4. Joan says:

    I find enough buttons to supply a shirt factory, but hardly any coins.

  5. I find a lot of loose change outside of our local youth sports concession stand.

  6. I think some people think I am crazy for picking up pennies but every cent counts!

  7. Jackie says:

    One of my coworkers hates pennies, so he throws them in the trash or puts them on top of the vending machines when he’s hunting through the change in his pocket for a quarter. I run my hand on top of the vending machines about once a week looking for his castoffs. Usually net about $.15. lol, it’s tiny but every penny counts in my budget. :)

  8. Steven says:

    Several years ago, I found a brown paper bag full of ten, twenty, and one hundred dollar bills. The bag was near a bench in a park not far from my apartment.

    I had known for sometime about the drug deals that went on in that park late at night. I suspect the money belonged to a dealer.

    I never counted the contents, but donated the money to a homeless shelter.

  9. Kaley says:

    I always pick up coins I have someimes found cash like 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s. So it always pays to look someone once ask me why I look at the ground so much and I told them truthfully because usually I find 1c a day.

  10. harry says:

    Once at a car wash I found 50 bucks laying on the ground! (2) 20s and a 10 – that was sweet! Another time, I saw a $10 on the floor at a CVS but there was a young girl and her Dad closer to it so I told the girl it must be her’s and let her take it for herself – she was very happy!
    Now, whenever I find anything more than a couple of dimes, I’ll be sure to split it with someone in need.

  11. Chips says:

    I have been combining walking for exercise and “Silver Mining” (my term for coin hunting) for years. Yesterday, I crossed the $200 mark for the period beginning 20 September 2008. I invest the money in direct purchase, dividend-paying stocks. Since bank stocks have been beaten down in the past year, my meager investments buy more shares of the stock. When banks recover and their stocks go up, I hope to double the value of my found money. Of the places on your list of 20, the vaccuums at car washes are the most lucrative. Vending machines are number 2 on my list.

  12. Donald Buckner says:

    When I see a coin on the ground.
    I pick it up. Find a penny pick
    it up all day long you have good luck.

  13. Angel Hilton says:

    Watch your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves… that is what my grandma always taught me.

  14. Pingback: Penny Experiment Beginning « Penny Experiment

  15. Britt says:

    At college, or if you don’t have you’re own washer/dryer (or in hotels) I check in the dryers and I find change, check the corners by the door, no one seems to look there when they pull out their clothes.

    Also check UNDER the vending machines, early one morning I saw a worker with a broom sweeping out at least a dollar worth in change!

  16. I’ve been on a roll lately; finding at least a penny for thirteen straight days! I usually FIND coins when I’m telling people how I look for them! Unfortunately, there is a blizzard on the east coast today (we live outside Boston) so I would literally have to leave my house with the intention of finding coins (Dunkin Donuts drive through would be easy pickins today!), but that would violate my “must be naturally occuring coin” rule!

    Yes, a deeply disturbing post from a weirdo who enjoys finding coins…

  17. Twincapes says:

    I keep an empty baby food jar at work and put the coins I find in there each day, I’m going to see how I can do over the course of the year. Have done pretty well under parking meters in Winter cause of coins dropped in snow or dropped from gloved fingers.

  18. Dianne says:

    I dropped a coin at a Walmart sef-checkout the other day and when I looked behind the little wall I found my quarter along with 2 dimes, another quarter and a couple of pennies. Pays to look in hidden places sometimes. Most people don’t realize they’ve dropped a coin or just don’t care enough to worry with it.

  19. Chips says:

    Twincapes- While I have been “silver mining” for years, I started tracking my findings 16 months ago. My count as of last night was $290. If you know where to look (this article is a big help) and you make the effort, you can find more than the average person believes you can find. I’ve been concentrating on melting snow piles lately, with fair results. But vending machines (I find as much under them as in the coin returns), car washes, and parking lots (especially high school lots) are still the best producers for me.

  20. water says:

    Once I found A $50 bill under a game in the arcade of a hotel.So make sure you cheak under those games!!!

  21. Nate says:

    While looking for “treasure”, I have the best luck in apartment complex parking lots. If there is a college near where you live, it might be beneficial to walk around the parking lots near the sports fields.

  22. annoynmous says:

    One day, i found a 100 dollar bill on my way to the liquor store.
    although i should have been more discreet about finding it, becasue i had to split it with my cousins :(

  23. Michelle says:

    I work at an amusement park. Just this last week, I was lucky to find a 20$ bill waiting on the ground for me. I find so much change in the bathrooms, and walkways all around the park. Its a great place to work and find change. My boyfriend and I both work there and now we are starting a little game to collect change before the season ends, then we are going to combine and see how much we found!!

  24. leroy says:

    Everyone passes lost money every day. That bad thing is they look directly at it. ???? Aluminimum cans. When my wife and I go for walks we take small plastic pags and fill them with found cans. At the end of the month we take them to the recycle and end up with an average of 30.00.

  25. James says:

    All geat places to find coins, now it’s time for me to go hunting!

  26. Sohail Tariq says:

    yesterday i found 20 dollars folded up on the ground around 15 feet by the cashier. i also look in fitting rooms in stores pepole tend to lose money there. the store was also just opened now i have $74. and guess what i’m only 11. black friday is coming up and i need a new psp. well not to go off topic but thats by story.

  27. jai says:

    i have another way to find coins (ask people if they have a coin collection) guess what i found alot of people and some people are willing to buy it off you not even for a lot of money.just like that other kid (sohail tariq)i’m 11 to

  28. jai says:

    oh ya about the last messege i wrote i ment about valuable coins like old coins or coins from diffrent countrys

  29. Cloe says:

    One day while leaving the board walk with my friends, I looked down at my shoes and noticed something green next to it. It was a $10.00 bill!

    A few days ago I found my old jar of coins under my bed, took it to a coinstar machine,and made $100!

  30. Bret says:

    arcades are a biggy too especially if you look under the machines.

  31. jed says:

    you won’t ever think of this on your own. I just got done gutting out a lawndrymat that had gone out of business.. this is the best place in the world that i know of to find coins and a whole lot more.. First the clean: DRIERS are a perfect place to find quarters, Expecialy when the require quarters to operate.. I found over 150.00 in quarters in just 8 machines..
    Now the dirty: Washing machines. I found over 200.00 dollars in coins that got stuck in the “P” traps and sewer pipes that I removed.. over the past 25-30 years the coins have been building up and building up in this 10 foot section of pipe and “P” trap. The money becomes really dirty dut to the detergent used, But is cleanable to the point that a coin counter will take them. It was like busting a pinyata when I cracked that 4 inch PVC drain pipe…

  32. grimm says:

    Very good list! Another good location is in the airport under the TSA scanner conveyor. People drop money when they empty their pockets and don’t bother to pick it up. Also in parking lots after the traveling carnivals clear out their equipment.

  33. pete says:

    I was always coming across lost coins and just passing them by but partly due to this site i have started collecting them. I’m going to see how much i accumulate in a year. Another thing,it turns a simple walk into a bit of an adventure.

  34. penny says:

    On January 1, 2012 I decided to start watching the ground for coins every time I was out and about. And now, January 30, I have 41 coins total collected. And not only pennies either, several dimes, nickels, and ever a quarter.

    I find it actually therapeutic. A tiny game to play each day to see how much you can find as you’re out.

    Thanks for starting this page.

  35. Jasminee says:

    Ok. Today I went to the grocery store with my grandmOther and I saw a1.00 on the floor and when I ran to pick it up it was a pack of money that was4.00i was so happy and now I continue loofor Pennies because you are a king

  36. Chips says:

    Looking for money gives me something to do when I walk for exercise. I’ve been doing it for a long time. A warning, though: Some businesses, like car washes and laundromats, don’t like people scavenging for money on their premises. Owners have told me about it and don’t want me returning. Unfortunately, those two businesses yielded the largest numbers of coins I was finding.

  37. Grunt says:

    I had won $250 at the Horse Race track years ago on a $5 bet and when I was walking up to cash the ticket, I found $20 on the floor…sweet

  38. Noah says:

    Sorry but you need to step your game up you don’t have any money. Dude I’m 12 and I got 230$ and no none of its birthday money. The way you make money is by hustling at school.

  39. Bill says:

    A homeless shelter? Ya right!

  40. FreeStuffinder says:

    Teens today hate carrying coins and receiving change in their pockets. Considering they are carrying a cell phone, headphones, charging line and maybe an iPad or iPod Touch – there’s no room for coins.

    If they are drivers, they leave coins in ash trays, cup holders, and any other compartments that will hold coins. One day I looked under the seats of my sons car and found $10 in quarters. Of course I collected them and exchanged them for cash at the bank – then gave him back the money.

    Anywhere teens hangout, you’ll find lots of coins. They like throwing money at each other, smashing money, or just giving it away to declutter their pockets. Maybe someday, they’ll read this blog and start living frugally.

    Have fun finding coins!

  41. Mr. Em says:

    Picking up from Chips’ March 9 comment; lately I have been walking or bike riding past most of the talked about spots, & averaging about 50ยข/day. But I’ve wondered – Why aren’t there more coins at fast food pick up windows, for instance? Does somebody pick them up? Would the management not like my coming to their place to treasure hunt? (I only go by these places when they are closed; early in the morning). Is this the restaurant’s/car wash’s money? Have any of you thought about this?

  42. Alex says:

    I work a second job at a convenience store and besides the old coins I buy out of the register, the company uses special floormats in front of the registers with quarter sized holes all over them. People drop their change a lot and to avoid holding up the line, they just leave it… when the line clears off I walk around and claim my daily bonus. Anything behind the register goes in the give/take jar, anything in front goes in my pocket. Not sure how much I’ve made but I’m saving for a new car.

  43. Jonathan says:

    around parking meters, too.

  44. Janie Bailey says:

    I always find coins, next to chairs in cafes, dollar bills at the counter, coind coming out of a gas station.these usually leave a trail!! I found a ten dollar bill in the doorway of a store & had just spent 9.45!! I once found $220.00 rolled up in a bundle in the parking lot of a huge store at 1st I thought it was a flyerm well I put my foot over it quietly. well no one came running up looking for it, so I went up tp the office and a man was waiting too see someone, I asked why he was waiting & he said he was just waaiting for a special order of produce. Since it was not in anything with ID. I kept it and paid my light bill! Was rgar right or wrong? Some people said yeas others say no-I think The Lord put it there for me because there were hundrededs of people around, people should be more aware of what is around them!

  45. Chips says:

    A car wash attendant once told me they consider the money left behind as still belonging to the person who left it. Often, he said, the folks come back looking for it.

    A laundromat owner I asked about money left in her laundromat told me she considers the money to belong to the laundromat.

  46. Lena @ WhatMommyDoes says:

    I think this sounds like so much fun! It reminds me of going with my mom as a child to find aluminum cans to sell.

    You wouldn’t think it could be worth your while, but all you have to do is be willing to bend down to pick up the coins when you see them.

    I’ve been wanting a metal detector just so I can search for “treasure.” Now I want one even more after reading your post!

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  48. Chris says:

    Often I spend some weeks outof a year with a lot of people at certain events. Afterwords, I usually leave later, I find a lot of lost change in people’s former living quarters. Last year I found ten dollars worth at the end of the program, pennies, quarters dimes…. Oh my! Maybe even dorm rooms are good too when students move out and you might have access to them.

    Locker rooms are good too!

    On a floor of a bus or taxi

    The ground ,dirt and pavement, at swim clubs

  49. Davish says:

    On windy days I look in the empty fields next to Dollar Stores and usually find 1, 5, or even 20 dollar bills. During the summer I take care of all the DollarGenStores grounds/lawns in my area and this is a really nice ‘benefit’. Since this is Oklahoma “where the wind comes sweeping down the plain” and boy does it ever during spring/summer.

  50. Davish says:

    Paying your light bill was just fine. Congrats to you!

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