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Where to Find Free Lost Change

Jayme is an artist and freelance writer who trained in the medical field, and has worked as caregiver, farmer, mom and DIY'er.

Pick up that penny! Every bit of loose change you find makes you a little bit richer. Get some tips on finding free lost change.

Pick up that penny! Every bit of loose change you find makes you a little bit richer. Get some tips on finding free lost change.

Can Found Money Make You Rich?

Are you short on pocket money? Are you wondering where you can find some extra change?

Everyone has picked up a nickel they found under a bench or a dollar bill they found dropped in a restroom, right? Doesn't it make you just a little bit excited? Or do you just walk past that small change on the floor because it isn't worthwhile to bend down?

It Won't Make You Rich, But It Does Add Up!

Unless you happen across a substantial chunk of money with no identification attached, then no, found change probably won't make you rich. It can, however, add up over time. One year, I was able to find over $200 in just loose change found around parking lots and soda machines.

When I lived at home, finding change was a family sporting event. If you didn't call dibs on that found dime before someone else, then you were ten cents poorer. We all had little banks and cans designated just for money we found.

With more people using debit cards these days, change is becoming rare. However, there are still a lot of places where people use cash. And people who use cash are not always willing to retrieve any money they drop. If you take the time to look in some of these places, you will soon find money adding up.

My Found Money for This Year

Grand total: $27.07

AreaAmountAverage denomination

Newspaper machines



Soda machines



Gutters and debris piles


Dollar bills

Parking lots



Store floors



Find lost change in parking lots.

Find lost change in parking lots.

Outdoors? Always Look Down

People are often so busy when they go shopping or when they run errands that they don't bother to glance down. But change can show up in all sorts of strange places.

When you take a walk, whether that is around the block for exercise, along a hiking trail, or just across the parking lot, remember to look down occasionally. Change can appear:

  • In parking lots. The best parking lots are those belonging to stores and fast food restaurants, where people are so busy they just leave their dropped change on the ground.
  • Sidewalks. If someone pulls their phone out of their pocket while walking, they might not notice any dislodged change.
  • Gutters. It is a little gross sometimes, but loose change can wash down into gutters during hard rains. Keep an eye out for paper money, too.
  • Around carwashes. For some reason, people who wash their cars are often in a hurry or in a bad mood. They don't want to retrieve lost quarters or whatever change fell out of the car when they shook the floor mats.

Money-Hunting Equipment

Never get caught off guard! Use these items to help you be ready to pick up money anywhere:

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  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Separate coin purse, pocket, bag or container on the go to keep found money from mixing with regular change
  • Pair of disposable gloves (you might see a $50 bill in a gutter)
  • Pair of shades if you don't want to be recognized digging money from the gutter
  • Some handy quips for when people ask what you are doing

Find Money When You're Shopping

You can easily add a few cents to your "found fund" just by occasionally looking around when shopping. The most obvious place to find money is near the check-out aisles. However, you can find change just about anywhere in the store.

Under Displays

When people rummage in their pockets or purses, loose change has a habit of falling out. Usually it rolls. So look ahead of where you are walking because you may see change lying under shelf displays. You might have to get on hands and knees to get some of it.

Restrooms and Dressing Rooms

Also check restrooms and dressing rooms when you go in. A lot of people won't pick change up off of a bathroom floor. (I recommend carrying Germ-X and a sandwich bag if you are going to be a die-hard money hunter.)

"Splurge" Areas

Check the floors in areas where people are more likely to dig in their pockets or wallets to see if they have enough money to splurge on a little something special. These areas of the store include:

  • Clothing department
  • Shoe department
  • Toy aisles
  • Around music, games, and DVDs
  • Snack aisles