Checking how rich a city is by its pennies on the ground

This is a half-joking post, but I almost feel like you can tell how rich a country or city is by how much money you find lying on the ground.

Beware, unscientific personal experiences coming up! 🙂

I am one of those people who will unconsciously search for money on the ground.

It’s a learned instinct instilled in me by my parents from when I was old (and tall) enough to see coins on the ground.

My parents even gave me TIPS on how to find money on the ground.



In Montreal, I kept track of how many pennies I found on the ground and it’s close to 90% of the times I go out, I will always find a penny or two.

Note: We go out for 2-4 hours at a time.

Once I found agroup of 6, and another time, a whole bunch of 4. I haven’t been the only one either — BF has found plenty of them on the ground, although his luck goes more towards finding a dime ever so often.

I even saw hobos and beggars THROW AWAY pennies to clean out their pockets. 😐

Errr… but then what does that say about someone like me, picking them up? 😛

In Toronto and Ottawa, the percentages drop to about 30% of the time.

When I travel to other countries, I’m always on the lookout for money on the ground but I have never ONCE found a coin overseas, even touring 14 hours a day by foot.

(I can’t help it nor can I turn off this instinct to scan the ground.)

It makes me wonder:

  • if it’s indicative of how rich a country/city is, if they can afford to toss money (even pennies) away
  • if people just don’t respect the poor little penny
  • why I haven’t found random coins on the ground in other countries in the same percentages :\

My biggest haul:

$5 at an Ikea. I don’t know how or why, but it was a bill that dropped behind the chair near the exit.

As we were walking out of the store, BF nudged me, I went into instant-money-finding mode and I instinctively dove for the bill.

Best day ever. I still remember it clearly. 🙂

My other notable haul are when I was ice skating as a kid and I found a whole handful of coins in the snow with a $1 coin (loonie), couple of quarters, dimes and nickels.

Some poor person must have sat down to tie his or her skates and had all the coins fall out of their back or side pockets for a little kid to find.

Do you pick up pennies? Toss them away?

How about your biggest haul?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.