Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some Pennies For My Thoughts

Yesterday, as I picked up a penny in the grocery store parking lot, I had a thought: I wonder if a person kept track of all the pennies she picked up in a lifetime, how much money would that be? Although an interesting thought, it didn’t seem practical (a baby can’t pick up change) so then I wondered how much change a person finds in the course of a year. As I dropped my new penny into my purse, I decided that would be a fantastic project to start at the new year. I keep a notebook with me all the time anyway so I could easily jot it down each time I found a coin! I tucked the idea away to explore later. 

That same afternoon, I was riding my bike in my neighborhood when I  cruised over a shiny penny. I hit my brakes but second guessed myself and sped up to keep up with my boyfriend. I started telling him my idea and then interrupted myself, “I guess I wouldn’t have to wait til the new year, would I? I could start today!”

We turned around, so I could get my second cent of the day, but although we searched and searched, we couldn’t find that dang lone coin. So I decided I’ll have to start my project the next time I find one!

As I was circling around on my bike, staring down at the pavement looking for that penny, I remembered a comment I overheard recently. A woman was giving a couple pennies to someone who was lacking change for a purchase and she said “I don’t mind giving away pennies because they’re worthless.” I kept my mouth shut but I was flabbergasted. I was thinking Does she know that 100 pennies equal a dollar? I was so amused by the comment that I Tweeted about it (#DoYouUnderstandHowMoneyWorks?). A friend immediately responded that it was a coincidence he had just looked at his retirement account and it had gained one cent that day which would equate to a $300 increase over time!

Okay, so the pennies I pick up won’t earn interest (unless I put them in the bank-note to self!) but they will add up. My collection will not be limited to coins, but I expect that’s what I’ll find the most of. However, I once found a $20 bill blowing through a Wal-Mart parking lot! Another time, I picked up what I thought was a piece of paper but turned out to be a white enveloped containing $40 cash!

I guess I technically stole that money, but in each case there was no way to track down an owner. I have definitely lost money from being careless, like being out drinking at a bar with a $20 bill in my back pocket that’s gone when I go for it next, so I know it happens to the best of us.

I’ve written previously about my habits as a “picker upper” as I like to call myself. No matter if I’m walking or driving, I’m frequently noticing abandoned treasures “Ooooh a pen!” or “Hey look, a glove!” Each time, my boyfriend’s response is the same: “Gross” and he encourages me to leave the lonely object where it lies.

It’s funny that my youngest dog has turned out to be a treasure seeker as well. On our walks, he is continuously scanning the ground for something delicious and/or fun. The day he found unwrapped Rolos underneath our bank of mailboxes, I hated to make him spit them out because it was such a spectacular find! He’s found dog biscuits under there before, so I can’t blame him for looking, which he still does every time we check the mail! He’s found balls and bones and even tried to pick up a sock once (that one, I made him leave behind). My boyfriend finds if funny and revolting at the same time. “He’s definitely your dog”, he’ll chuckle and shake his head, while Tinsley trots along carrying a soggy tennis ball he rooted out of the gutter. 

Tinsley with one of his treasures

For now, I’m looking down as much as possible when I’m out of the house, waiting for my next find! I don’t know what I’ll do with the money I collect over the next year. It will probably depend on how much it is. Maybe I’ll donate it to a charity or maybe I’ll buy myself a treat! You’ll have to stay tuned to find out! 


  1. PERFECT TIMING! I found a quarter lying in the grass at the park S & I played at. Damn straight I picked it up!!
    I used to ignore pennies that were lying on the ground until I learned a significant thought behind them: pennies from heaven.
    It was an ex-boyfriend's mom who told me a story about her mom (ex-BF's grandmother --stay with me...) who, as a young girl, would find pennies whenever she would think about her deceased parents.
    There's also a poem I found on FB, about pennies from heaven. It's supposed to signify that someone is thinking of you from the other side.
    Depending on your belief system, of course.
    Personally, as one who doesn't practice/partake in any organized religion -- I love the idea that the pennies are left for us to find, as a token that someone is thinking of us.
    Several people must've been thinking of me today with that quarter! ;)

  2. I had never heard that theory about pennies before! I like it a lot. I'm not religious but I'm quite spiritual and I believe we are all connected by energy. I believe The Universe places things in our path for a reason and it is up to us what we do with them. Thanks for sharing your experience. Maybe you should start collecting change too and we'll see who ends up with the most?!

  3. DEAL!!! I loved the idea you came up with anyway. 😊

  4. Plus, it will motivate me to get outside on the days I don't really feel like it. Win-win

  5. I only pick up pennies if they're heads-up. Tails-up is bad luck! For some reason, that doesn't work that way for any other coin. I've heard the pennies from heaven thing too, and I like it, but I feel strangely guilty if I pick up a penny for any reason that lands tails-up... even if I just dropped it 2 seconds before that!