life on the ground.

2 02 2010

as of february 11th, i will have been collecting street change for 1 full year. not pocket change (i have a separate jar for that)- sidewalk change, floor change, gutter change, snowbank change… abandoned money, dropped accidentally or cast aside by people who didn’t think it was worth the effort to bend over and pick it up.

when i first started this little project, i wasn’t really sure how long it would entertain me. and at first i felt extremely awkward about people seeing me picking up dirty pennies on the street (i tried to be so slick about it at first). and then i found $20 in front of the porno store on congress street, and all my awkwardness faded away (now i’m completely shameless about it). what i learned this year is that A) nobody is really paying attention anyway, and B) there is REAL MONEY on the ground. i found not one but TWO twenties this year. 5 ones. and 1 five. and a golden dollar coin wedged in the couch cushions at bubble maineia. that’s $51 before i ever had to pick up my first dirty penny. all left behind by their previous owners and trod on by people in too much of a hurry to look down.

did i tell you about that time i found a check for $57,000 made out to a local microbrewery? sopping on the ground in a rainstorm, i walked it back to their office and was gratefully gifted with a free case of beer (really good beer). so now we’re up to $51 and a free case of assorted microbrews.

seriously yo, change hunting is awesome.

to celebrate my first year of collecting, i am dedicating my february giveaway to the practice. everyone now knows that i have at least $51 dollars in my found money jar (pictured above). leave a comment below guessing the total amount, and win a sweet prize. here are the rules:

1. one comment per person.

2. price is right rules- the winner will be the closest without going over.

3. the game begins right now, and ends on february 15th.  the winner will be notified via email on or around the 16th, and a celebratory post in their honor will let the losers know that they’re the losers (sorry guys!).

oh, and the prize is this totally hilarious bank that looks like a giant save key (below), pre- stuffed with a crispy $20 bill. that’s right, sweet bank & twenty bucks. it could be you!  let the guessing begin!

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92 responses

2 02 2010
Jen

$94.21

2 02 2010
Teresa

$63.11

2 02 2010
David

$59.73

2 02 2010
Teresa

Allie;

You HAVE to add this to Win It Wednesday tomorrow! This is SO cool! Hubby and I both guessed. 🙂 FUN!

2 02 2010
bessmarvin

i’m so there! i’m always really bad at promoting my giveaways, so thank you!!

2 02 2010
Mary

$78.67

2 02 2010
Lynn

$61.27

2 02 2010
chris

$69.69

2 02 2010
bessmarvin

i like the way you think!

2 02 2010
Mrs.Litz

$72.27

2 02 2010
Nichole

$103.77….I love how change can add up fast!!!

2 02 2010
bessmarvin

i was actually really shocked at how quickly it accumulated. considering that i don’t find change every day, and the change i do find is mostly pennies, the jar is surprisingly full!

2 02 2010
Kendra

Lets see…how about 95.50

2 02 2010
eunice b

I’d guess around 84.26 thanks for the fun! 🙂

2 02 2010
Sarah G

I’d guess $77.85. 🙂

2 02 2010
Sarah C

My guess is $98.32 – fun idea!

2 02 2010
Robin

I’d guess $114.13

2 02 2010
Jessica

$ 86.50

2 02 2010
bridgett

$123.12

2 02 2010
Linda

$102.20

2 02 2010
ladyjane68

This cracks me up as I work on congress st and know where you are talking about….Congress st is a Universe all its own…. Thanks for the chuckle.

BTW: a co-worker was just telling me about all the change she finds on the street.

I have no idea—87.98

🙂

2 02 2010
bessmarvin

portland represent! congress street is amazing in a way that no one can truly understand unless they live here. we’re the lucky ones!

as for the change, this city is riddled with parking meters and brick sidewalks. it’s the perfect storm for change collecting. the pennies drop when people are looking for silver change, and then they camouflage in with the sidewalk (also people don’t give a crap about pennies).

2 02 2010
Elizabeth Henderson

$95.51

2 02 2010
deidre

$87

2 02 2010
bessmarvin

no change- bold move! i like your style!

2 02 2010
Karen

$104.30

How cool.

2 02 2010
Sheri

$69.30 Very cool idea!

2 02 2010
Lisa

I love the idea! I’ll have my daughter help me and the money can be hers!

$79.45

2 02 2010
B

$76.27

2 02 2010
kari

$57.28

2 02 2010
Megan

You’re quite funny, thanks for the laughs.

$81.09

2 02 2010
bessmarvin

thank you! you’re quite welcome.

3 02 2010
Karen Wincapaw

What fun!! $52.56

3 02 2010
Katie

86.50

3 02 2010
Julie

I’ma go with $74.47. You are so brave, girl. I couldn’t stick my hand in between strange seat cushions. There might be pubes or hypodermic needles in there!

3 02 2010
bessmarvin

mostly it’s cracker crumbs and used swizzle sticks (still gross- but that’s where the hand sanitizer comes in). i don’t know what kind of bars you go to where people are getting their pubes all over the couch cushions… but you should tell me so i can go there. 🙂

3 02 2010
diane

Lets see i say 107.30 🙂

3 02 2010
Jessica

$98.39

3 02 2010
Elaine

My guess is already taken so I’m going to up it a bit and go with $136.00.
I love your blog! It’s so darn outright honestly down to earth crazy!

3 02 2010
bessmarvin

thank you so much! that’s so nice to hear. wow, i can’t believe somebody already took your guess- tragic!

3 02 2010
Mallory

$82.39!

3 02 2010
Megan Camp

Awesome post!! My guess is: $89.31

3 02 2010
bessmarvin

thanks! i’m glad you liked it.

3 02 2010
Jeanne Grady

I love to look for money on the ground. My husband makes fun of me becuse when I walk anywhere he days I am constantly looking at the ground. My dad always told as I was growing up that if I take care of the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. My guess is $72.01
Jeanne

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

your dad was a smart guy. see how much your husband makes fun of you when you find a $20! i found paper money 5 separate times this year. keep looking!

3 02 2010
Bargain Becky

I am going to go with $111.23.

Change adds up fast. I went to Coinstar with my 3year-old and his piggy bank yesterday (he wanted a $7 toy and I told him he had to pay for it). That kid had $44 bones in there! I bought him the toy and got a $44 e-certificate for myself at Amazon. Win-win situation for all…(and yeah, I guess that makes me a bad mom. Oh well.)

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

are you kidding? you’re my hero. he’s 3- he’ll never know! and i’m positive that you’ve put in way more than $44 worth of work into raising him over the last three years. he got his toy, you got yours. you’ve got to relish these years before he understands the value of money!

4 02 2010
Rachel G

71.54

4 02 2010
Julie L

This is fun =) My guess is $ 75.90.. love your sense of humor

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

Thank you! That is always so nice to hear.

4 02 2010
kristin

I think there is $74.93

4 02 2010
Sandy M

$81.63

I started a pocket change jar for my Christmas fund this year, but this found change idea is great!

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

i have a jar for pocket change too! although i raid it too often for laundry quarters 🙂 i’ve also been thinking about looking into one of those “keep the change” accounts from bank of america (where they round all your purchases up to the nearest whole dollar and then put the change in a savings account). i’ve always been really bad at saving money, so starting small is teaching me that every penny counts!

4 02 2010
Kelly Deaton

I guess $60.20. Thanks!
Kelly Deaton – secrets_girl23@yahoo.com (aka) dkad23@gmail.com

4 02 2010
JC

My guess is 138.39

4 02 2010
dymphna

84.36 fun idea.

4 02 2010
Nuri

75.50

4 02 2010
Charlene Canfield

My ex-husband used to throw away..in the trash can all his pennys! You would think I would have thought about that~ I am going to say 113.36. Thanks!

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

OUTRAGEOUS! your ex-husband deserves a good stern spanking for that!

4 02 2010
Heather Lovell

This is a neat giveaway, my guess is 102.67

4 02 2010
Summer

$77.77

4 02 2010
polly keintz

$99.99

4 02 2010
Hyla

107.16

This is the neatest giveaway Ive come across on a blog!

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

thank you! that is an incredible compliment considering the amount of giveaways on blogs these days!

4 02 2010
Marci

What a fun idea. I think it would be great for my daughters to do this and then donate it at the end of the year to a charity. It would be a fun project for us.

I am guessing $61.93

4 02 2010
bessmarvin

that is a great idea! considering that the money technically technically isn’t mine, i should probably do the same! good luck!

4 02 2010
Madonna

I am guessing $63.94

4 02 2010
Georgiana O.

Let’s try….$87.28

4 02 2010
Soha Molina

I guess you have about $57.28

eddiem11@ca.rr.com

5 02 2010
Dina

$64.72!

5 02 2010
Amanda

59.62.
Awesome giveaway!!
oheeyore at hotmail dot com

5 02 2010
bessmarvin

thanks! glad you like it!

5 02 2010
shirley

I just love this giveaway, its just so much fun,
My guess is107.04

6 02 2010
bessmarvin

thanks! fun is good!

6 02 2010
AMY PEREZ

101.56

6 02 2010
Cassie

$89.50!

7 02 2010
Jennifer T.

I’m guessing $63.29. I pick up change, too. Hey, money “spends the same” no matter the value. This guy was walking out of the grocery store in front of me and dropped a bunch of change. He turned around and picked up a silver coin or two but left 6 or 7 pennies. So, I stooped to pick them up (I tried to be all sly, too. But, it was pretty obvious.) If you stop to pick up the nickel, why wouldn’t you pick up the pennies, too?

7 02 2010
bessmarvin

if i’ve learned one thing through this whole experiment, it’s that people are fundamentally lazy. i’ve found handfuls of pennies at the base of parking meters- as if someone had just tossed them to the ground while they were looking for silver change. apparently there are a lot of people out there who think that pennies are garbage. i think that’s good news for us!!

7 02 2010
susan

hi, my guess is $82.87. love your blog, so honest, you say everything the rest of us just keep to ourselves, lol. always cheers me up! and the bank is cute!

7 02 2010
bessmarvin

thank you so much! mostly i just have a big mouth, and i’m probably asking for trouble… but i’m glad you’re enjoying it! i love that bank! i’m having a very difficult time giving it away. i very well may get another one for myself 🙂

7 02 2010
anne - mommy has to work

i guess 72.72 –

thanks for visiting!

7 02 2010
Stephanie Green

I am going to guess $104.44. Thanks for keeping us smiling!

8 02 2010
Rose

My guess is 98.77.

We just cashed in 6 months of pocket change and added it to our savings account. Great idea, here! And I love that bank!

8 02 2010
bessmarvin

it really is amazing how quickly it all adds up. this little experiment has taught me the value of a penny in a big way. i was never a saver before, but hoarding this change has really changed that (no pun intended) 🙂

8 02 2010
Erin

My guess is $89.02. This is such a great idea. The kids and I have started collecting found change in a washed out yogurt container. They are excited to see how much we can collect.

8 02 2010
bessmarvin

it’s totally amazing! my boyfriend thinks i’m a giant weirdo, but i get so excited about my little finds. i’ll come home and be all like “today was the best day! i found 18 cents on my way home from work!” but i like it that way. it just goes to show that you really don’t need money to have something worth being excited about.

11 02 2010
Danielle Miller

68.37

I’ve always picked up spare change when I see it. My hubby has a habit of asking how it was sitting. I tell him it doesn’t matter. Finding free money is lucky no matter how it lays!

11 02 2010
bessmarvin

my thoughts exactly. like i’m not going to pick up a quarter on the street if it’s face down! i’ve been collecting change all year- and my luck has absolutely been better than worse. your can tell your husband that he’s full of crap! 🙂

11 02 2010
Mary F.

This is such a fun thing. 😉

I’m guessing $62.32

15 02 2010
kitkat

better late than never: $123.15 (You are a coin-findin’ machine!)

15 02 2010
bessmarvin

yay! the boyfriend is at home right now counting it while i’m languishing at work on a holiday. boo-urns! check me out, i’m in the PPH today!

15 02 2010
kitkat

i saw! congrats! you’ll still have time to hang out with us little people, right? (sandwich par-tay!) 🙂

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