Here's why I always pick up coins on the ground.

1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 6,053 ✭✭✭✭✭

How much money do people accidentally throw away every year?
BY PATRICK J. KIGER

There's far more money than you might think lying inside America's couches and on its sidewalks.

A Bradenton, Florida, man named Rick Snyder developed what might seem like an odd habit. While on his daily four-hour walk around town to feed stray cats, he stopped at car washes along the way, and poked his fingers into the change slots of the self-service vacuum machines that people use to clean the insides of their vehicles.

If you think that would yield an occasional quarter or a dime left behind in haste, you're underestimating our collective carelessness. He found an average of $5.60 per trip, and over a decade amassed $21,495 in lost change, which he eventually donated to a local animal rescue organization [source: Irby].

Snyder isn't the only person who has found money that the rest of us have accidentally left behind or misplaced. Consider the Humphreys, a New York City family who systematically picked up pennies and other coins that they found on sidewalks and stored them in a jar. In the course of a year, they collected $1,013 [source: Vigeland]. In New Paltz, New York, three young roommates spent $20 in 2014 to buy an old couch at the local Salvation Army thrift store. When they got home, to their shock, they discovered more than $40,000, much of it in $100 bills, hidden inside the pillows [source: Chappell].

So how much lost money is floating around out there? Unfortunately, no one seems to have done a comprehensive study. But the amount must be staggering.

Consider that by various estimates, between 66 and 74 percent of the pennies produced by the U.S. Mint get into the hands of consumers and then vanish from circulation [source: Elder]. Since the U.S. Mint produced $4.16 billion dollars' worth of pennies in 2014, that means that as much as $3.08 billion of them will end up dropped on the sidewalk, slipping between the couch cushions or landing wherever else misplaced coins end up [source: U.S. Mint]

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Comments

  • rickoricko Posts: 68,362 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have seen it estimated (This was some years ago, do not recall the source), that there is about as much 'lost' coinage as there is in circulation... That includes all types of 'lost'...buried, dropped, in old cars, couches, recliners etc., etc., etc.. Cheers, RickO

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 2,669 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Which is why I have been detecting for a long time. There is no way to know what is in the ground waiting to be dug. Now that winter has arrived, I am cleaning, id'ing and cataloguing my goodies. Got my heat packs ready for the next warm up. The hunt continues. Peace Roy

  • Timbuk3Timbuk3 Posts: 10,614 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've managed to find a few coins while having my car washed at our local car wash station. Usually found while using the vacuum cleaner machine !!! :)

    Timbuk3
  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 19,693 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't mind picking up change on the ground. I still love metal detecting as well

  • rickoricko Posts: 68,362 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I picked up two cents at the local market yesterday.....I never pass a coin on the ground or floor...Cheers, RickO

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