I have a pretty funny story about scrounging for change.
Two years ago, right before Christmas, I gathered up all of the lose change in our house and headed to a local grocery store. My goal was to use the store’s Conistar machine and exchange my coins for an Amazon gift certificate. I’m not sure exactly how much change I had when I arrived at the store, but I do know that it filled up a large Ziploc bag.
I walked towards the entrance of the store, and I noticed that there was a rather sizable group of people – maybe fifteen or twenty – gathered to one side. As I made my way onto the sidewalk, maybe ten feet from the automatic doors, the crowd parted, and a woman wearing a large Santa Klaus hat, ringing a bell, began to shout –
“Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!”
Everyone in the crowd began to look at me – and my big bag of change. At first I was a little confused, forgetting for a moment that I was carrying seven pounds of coins. Then it hit me. The woman who was shouting was collecting donations – and she thought that I was bringing the change to her!
Needless to say, I never made it to the Coinstar machine. Instead, I pored the entire contents of the bag into the donation receptacle, awkwardly accepted her repeated thank yous, hastily made my way into the store, walked around for few minutes with nothing to do, and then quietly left via a side-door…
10 Places To Look When Scrounging For Change
Under The Cushions
I always check for lose change that might be hiding under the cushions of our couch and recliners. Don’t forget feel between the back of the couch and that little space where the cushions rest. Sometimes I swear that the Denver Mint is storing reserves in our sofa.
In The Drawer In The Kitchen
Come on now. You know what I mean when I say The Drawer. We all have (at least) one drawer where we keep the phone book, pens, fingernail clippers, coupons, cards, letters, envelopes, chap-stick, scissors, glue – and the change that we take from our pockets each night. No matter how hard we try to keep The Drawer neat and organized, it always ends up looking the same. Thankfully, amidst all of the clutter in The Drawer, there are usually three or four dollars worth in change.
In The Ashtray In The Car
You know the drill. You drive through to pick up something for supper, you break a $20, and you put thirty-seven cents in your ashtray. My car actually has two places specifically designed for change, one to the left of the steering wheel and one to the right. My car is just a rolling piggy-bank.
On The Floor Of The Car
My clumsy brethren will understand this one. From time to time, the change doesn’t make it to the ashtray. Instead, it falls to the floor of the car. I like to check under floor-mats and between seats.
In That Old Purse
If you still have your old purse, go check it’s pockets. More often than not, you will find some change. How do I know this? Let’s just say I’m married to a beautiful woman who has a thing for new purses.
In That Old Wallet
Did you finally grow up and replace that rad Transformers Velcro wallet? Good job. Before you throw it away, check it for change. It will be located in the zippered-pouch.
In Your Golf Bag
I like to keep a few dollars worth of quarters in my golf bag. Somehow, over the summer, that few dollars can become several dollars, if I’m not careful. It’s easy, when on the course, to buy a snack for nine bucks and shove the change from a ten into one of the pockets of my golf bag. I’ve even found change inside the part of the bag designed to hold my clubs.
In Last Months Envelopes
From time to time, the envelopes I use for managing my cash get worn out and they have to be replaced. It’s important, before I discard the old envelopes, that I check for any change that might have been left behind from a previous month.
In The Envelope From The Bank
Do you know that little envelope you get from your bank? The one that they give you after you make your deposit? Before you throw it away, check to see if a quarter or two got stuck in the bottom.
On The Ground Near Where You Park
We have a one car garage. I park my car in the yard, next to our house. Once in a while, when getting in my car, I’ll look down and see that I have dropped a few coins on the ground. I would not obsess over every square inch of your yard, but when sweeping our the garage or mowing the lawn, keep your eyes open.
After you have collected your change, put it into your piggy-bank, give it to your kids as allowance, roll it up and deposit it in your checking account, or take it to a Coinstar machine and get a gift certificate. Or, do what I did. Wait until Christmas, and then make a forced donation under the threat of public humiliation and societal scorn!
As a side note – The above post was written with tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek. It felt great to make the donation that I made, and I would not trade the experience, or the story that came with it, for anything in the world. As for the rest of the post, I feel that all of us are a little worried about the state of our economy, and I needed to write something that was none-to0-serious. Rock on.
Additional Places To Look According To Readers
On The Top Of Vending Machines (submitted by ben)
As a shortish dude, this would never have occurred to me. Yet another advantage for you tall people!
In Your Toiletry Bag (suggested by Brianne)
I can’t believe I forgot this one. I am always finding change in my luggage and my gym bag.
Inside The Pockets Of Your Jacket (suggested by Grace)
It never fails that when I take my suits to the cleaners, I inevitably find a buck or two in the pockets of my suit coats.
In An Old Piggy Bank (suggested by The Passive Dad)
Jokingly, The Passive Dad mentioned looking in your kids’ piggy banks. Honestly, this isn’t a bad idea, especially if you kids are like mine and they each have two or three piggy banks in there rooms. At the least, it might be a good idea to consolidate all of their change into one place.
A Contest Suggestion From A reader
Who Can Collect The Most Change? (suggested by Grant Baldwin)
Grant suggested that we see who could find the most change. I think that this is a cool idea. I’ll look through the 10+ places mentioned and see how much change I can find. If you would like to participate, get to scrounging! See how much you can find and then leave a comment letting us know your total.