Thursday, January 12, 2017

What's Too Frugal? Another Take

Gathering all the loose change at the end of the day and socking it away in a container to cash in yields some respectable savings amounts. Claiming the lost money in the laundry, left in pockets, a soggy mess to dry out, can lead to a tidy stack of air dried bills. No one would dispute these money saving schemes. Picking up money on the ground, perhaps too frugal? Does the value of the money matter?  This was actually a hallway conversation the other day, a colleague wearing the fruits of her ground picked up pennies in the form of a new to her blanket scarf. The I Pick Up Pennies blog name I believe originated from this practice. A recent post  at Kate Wolk-Stanley's blog The Non Consumer Advocate summarized her found change total for 2016 and back several years. 

I know I have picked up the odd silver change or dollar bill in a hallway from time to time. I can't say if I have or haven't in my life picked up change on a side walk or out in public on the ground. I may have in college when I was a completely broke waitress, so already in the habit of  picking up change on a floor that had fallen off tables, and any few pennies seemed like a help. 

This leads me to think of other frugal boundaries people have regarding claiming things. Curb side items with a sign marked "free" or "please take", might be a yes for me if it really was something I could use. I've never have hauled something home, though. Seeing an item in a garbage or set out for pick-up, easily a no for me, and I think that is illegal, right?  I have read that people will go to the persons house and ask if they can  have something they see. I personally would not do that because of my own comfort, but see it could be a smart frugality. Again, maybe back in college or just starting out if I wasn't already the recipients of so many hand me down items from family, I would have been more proactive in asking for other peoples cast offs. I've thought a bit more about cast offs as I brainstorm upcycling opportunities for some missing furniture pieces in my home. 

What are your thoughts on found money or finding freebies? Do I have a stupid squeamishness about  change on the ground? Has anyone had any great curbside finds, either with a note, or by being brave and knocking on the door to ask about said item.


  1. I will pick up money, any domination, any time. If trash is out, it is abandoned and free. The only thing I hate about people going through my trash are the few instances when the person just tosses things about and leaves a mess. I have many things from the curb. I even shop dumpsters!

  2. I will pick up money outside on the ground-- usually it is just a penny but that is still 1 cent more than what I had. As far as taking things that are in other's trash, I have done that once in my life. We found a dirty but in great shape play kitchen out at the dumpsters in our townhouse complex after Rebecca was born. We brought it home and scrubbed it up and it was as good as new.

  3. I will pick up money, once found a $50 bill on a sidewalk when I was a kid (when we were very poor - it was a huge thing). Now that Canada no longer has pennies I rarely find any money on the ground at all. As for free things, I am ok with taking things. When we first moved into our neighborhood and didn't know anyone a house directly across the street put out a perfectly good cane chair and footrest. It needed a paint job and had a few free spiders but had a big free sign on it. I drug it home for my Mom. Hubby spent $20 on white spray paint and Mom bought a cushion for the chair and it still sits on her patio and is used every year (3 years ago). If it is clear it is free I will take it if I need it/want it/someone I know could use it. If it is not clear though I would not take it and would feel weird asking :)

  4. I pick up change and have only taken something that was put out for trash once, and I walked up to the house and asked if they would mind if I grabbed it. (Son3 was having a 4th birthday party and some people in the neighborhood had set out a Little Tykes picnic table. We had one just like it and, with both of them, there was room for each kid to have a place to sit.) I would have felt uncomfortable just taking it though.
    I have a friend who found iron twin beds set out for pickup and not only went to the door and asked if she could have them, but parked on the street in front of them waiting for her husband to pick them up. (They wouldn't fit in her car)

  5. I feel the same way as Practical Parsimony. But I will not go through someone's trash! If it's just sitting there, I might. Like a table or an interesting chair... And if it's the middle of the day with no one around... ;)
    As for money, my dad used to put the end of the day change into a large glass jug and when any of us kids graduated or for the rare time he just felt generous and had us all take bets as to how much was in it, he gave it away. I tried that, but my kids used to dump them out and grab all the quarters... and I've found a toothbrush in it once... So for now, my hubby's side of the bed has a wealth of coinage. The kids are employed right now... So I might start it back up.

  6. I do pick up money from the ground when I see it...Although I am first to admit I am not the most observant one. LOL I haven't ever picked out of someone's trash but have looked at stuff marked free on the curb (never ended up actually taking anything though.) Interesting enough my town does a bulk waste pickup every couple of years, and I have to tell you, people come out in droves picking through everyone's stuff! It's amazing to see the things people will haul away! The old saying is true - one man's trash in another's treasure.

  7. I will pick change up off the ground plus other things.
    Last week coming out of one of my rare trips to Target with daughter I saw a coupon insert page sitting in a puddle by my car. The top half was not destroyed, just wet and a bit dirty and had the $2 off Finish coupon on it. I picked it up and placed it gently on the backseat on a towel. My daughter looked at me like I was insane and I told her, "That's a perfectly good coupon there that is quite high in value so why leave it!"
    She just rolled her eyes at me so I said, "One day you'll have to pay for dishwashing tabs so don't let me see you pass up $2 in savings on them then." lolz

  8. Thanks for the discussion everyone. I'm too squeamish it seems! Now, to get out there and find me some money!

  9. My husband's grandparents took a LONG walk around town every single day. They held hands while they walked. (they were married over 50 years) The daily walk was so routine that everyone in town expected to see them. I remember people saying to my mother in law, "I saw your folks walking the other day."

    My husband's grandma looked for pennies the entire time they walked hand in hand. And of course she stopped to pick one up anytime she found one. I think to her that finding each one was like finding a little treasure. Maybe now you can look at picking up pennies a little romantic tinged.

    She also checked pay phones and change return slots in any machine that had one. Free money is free money. Someone is going to pick it up or find it. "Might as well be me."

  10. Your post made me think of this...Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck. Give a penny to a friend and then your luck will never end.


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