Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row Rotating Header Image

The Spare Change Challenge

credit for delayingMany individuals who know me know that I’ll run in front of oncoming traffic to pick up a penny (or anything shiny for that matter). While some may think that this is a waste of time and that “it’s only a penny”, the fact is that the small change adds up. Whenever I get weird looks or folks laugh at the mention of a penny to be grasped, I always ask, “Would you walk past a $100 bill?” The point being, it all adds up. The tiniest snowflakes create earth-moving avalanches.

The small amounts I pick up are usually deposited into my kids’ piggy banks. When we’re together and we find money they call the change “lucky coins”. The interesting thing is that these lucky coins have gotten pretty heavy in their banks. Both of my kids can barely lift their piggy banks due to all of the luck we’ve come across. What I’ve never really done, it add it all up – at least over a specific period.

So here’s what I’d like to propose. And it’s something I’m going to do myself for the next year. Every coin I find and my kids find we’re going to keep track of and see what it adds up to over one year. This includes anything from pennies, to the occasional quarter to the rare dollar bill. I’m curious to see what it will all add up to over a year, and how that amount would grow over time at a compounded rate.

There’s a saying that there is no free lunch; this comes pretty close – free money. Should you decide to play along, drop us a note and tell us how you’re doing and how much you’ve acquired along the way. I’ll do the same. Keep an eye out…


  1. Philip says:

    Like Zaggrad, I’ve grown up saving my change for some bigger reward down the line. I remember helping my dad roll coins in those brown paper wrappers they used to give you at the bank (do they even do that anymore?).

  2. ellis says:

    I started collecting change and taking it to the coin counter at the bank. Rather than getting cash, now I deposit the amount in savings. I have found coins occasionally, and recently a twenty dollar bill!

  3. It’s a good challenge. I bet the total really does add up. You just need to follow me. I always drop all the pennies, nickels, and dimes I receive on random sidewalks. It drives my wife crazy, she’s like you.

    I always tell her, it’s fun for me. I drop random coins and some kid, or you and my wife :-) find them and it makes their day. To me it’s worth more to get others excited about the find, than it is for me to collect the coins. Best of luck to you with this challenge. I look forward to hearing how much money you collect in 1-year.

  4. judy says:

    I have been doing this for many years. Keeping the ‘found’ money in a container that fits on the kitchen windowsill. At the end of the year, I count it and then *deposit* it to a pass book account at a local bank.

    I round to the paper dollar and any leftover just sits there for the next year. A local business is glad to have extra change and they give me paper money for it to take to the bank.

    This all started many years ago when my husband in a kind way mentioned that I could make him rich with insurance money after I got run over picking up change I saw in parking lots.

    That is when I set out to show him that it really does add up. To top it off, I get extra pennies in interest.

    1. judy says:

      I forgot to mention the passbook has only the found money in it and the total as of January this year is $358.83.

  5. zaggrad says:

    My husband and I have always dropped our change into a jar. Two years ago, out of desperation, we added it all up and found that we had $47 and some change. That change came in very handy when we were younger, however, now it mostly collects in the jar.
    I often wonder how much we would have in the jar if we diligently dropped all our change into it. After my mother passed, I found jars, boxes, and other assorted containers full of coins among her possessions. Clearly it is a habit that I learned at home!

    1. sraskie says:

      All those little “snowflakes” add up! Thanks for the comment!

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