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Pick up the money already, putz

March 31st, 2008 at 09:44 pm

Every so often the question comes up. Do you pick up change from the street?

And the pros and cons come up which boil down to this. Pro: the money's risk free; con: my time is precious, and by G*d, I'm not the type of person who picks up pennies from the street. In case you couldn't tell by the subject line, I'm a pro change picker upper. I know I won't convert a con change picker upper people but I do want to provide a little food for thought.

First of all, you have to be in the right position to even pick up change from the street. If you are already in the right position, you're already un-American. You can't be in a car. You have to be on a sidewalk or in a lobby, walking. You can't be on a cellphone. You shouldn't be pacing and staring off into middle distance, listening. You have to be on a sidewalk, & basically unproductive - not doing deals, not selling something, not ordering someone around. If you're just walking, so much for your time being precious; might just as well train your eye searching for little metal circles.

Second of all, do you pick up change in other aspects of your life? Change that collects in the bottom of the washer/dryer when it fell out of your pants? You pick that up. Change on the carpet of your car that you tossed in your hurry pulling out of the drive thru? You'll pick that up, sure, especially if there's a toll involved. Change that you sucked up in the vacuum bag? Nasty, but you'd rescue it. Change between the couch cushions? You'd pick that up. Matter of fact, isn't that the first place you look for pizza and laundry money?

Here's a news flash. Picking up change from any of those sources, some even nastier than the sidewalk, doesn't change your net worth one iota. Its money you already have that you've moved into your pants pocket from an alternate pocket. Sidewalk change is new money.

Lastly, there's the I-make x-dollars-per-second-its-not-worth-it argument. That only works if your pay is docked when you pick up change. Otherwise, if you find change at night or on the weekend, your pay that hour is $0. Picking up the coin means your pay is $0 plus coin. If you find the coin during lunch and you are making a salary, you pay that hour is $salary plus coin. Think of it as a tip for being alert.

I don't have any reason to convert a non-change picker upper into a change picker upper. Why make competition? Change that you pick up means change I won't. All I ask of you is this: if you see sidewalk money, point it out to me. I'll pick it up.

8 Responses to “Pick up the money already, putz”

  1. 76Chick Says:

    Heck ya, pick up the change. One man's "trash" is another man's "treasure"!! =) Great post.

  2. LuckyRobin Says:

    I have so missed reading your blog. Got caught up tonight on 2 months. I love these "little bits of money" entries you do.

  3. Slowlygettingthere Says:

    Wonderful! I have been validated! Yesterday I found 4 pennies as I was checking the mail. As I bent over to pick them up, I laughed thinking about putting it in my emergency fund jarSmile.

  4. SMB Says:

    When it comes to picking up change from the ground, I'm loud and proud.

  5. retire@50 Says:

    I would pick it up if I found it, unfortunately most of my walking is done in the forest and for some reason people don't seem to drop change there Smile
    I almost never find it parking lots walking into stores although I do look.

  6. baselle Says:

    retire@50 - the best places to find change are those heavy traffic areas where you could imagine someone jamming money in their pocket, then jamming their hand back in and releasing the coins ... and if you aren't a change picker upper, you're not going to bend down and pick it up again. We need the non-change picker uppers.Smile
    So happy hunting grounds are: sidewalks near curbs, the curb itself, near bus stops, near the gas station (!), lobbies esp bank lobbies, in the intersection. Change also seems to be near cigarette butts. (I know - cigarette butts everywhere! But the 10 ft from the door rule means 10-15 ft from the door is a good spot to hunt for change.) Parking lots not so much - change is too spread out.

    The forest is slim pickings on so many levels.

  7. nomorecredit Says:

    I pick it all up. If I see it... dibs! We live in the city in a fairly busy area (with lots of bars, might I add... seems that people when they drink don't care about their change, LOL) and when we walk the dogs I ALWAYS find change. Sometimes DH makes fun of me, but hey... money is money. And lately I've been finding a lot being that all the snow melted, haha.

  8. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    I could barely make it to the truck at the movies yesterday for looking down at the ground. You know I found a quarter when I was there last time.

    25 cents compounded at 8% monthly after 40 years = $6.07
    25 cents compounded at 8% monthly after 40 years IF you add one quarter each year = $79.28

    Pick up enough of them and you're talking real money!

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