We all know that it’s possible to find money on the ground as we’ve all had those exciting moments in our lives when we spot a sparkling coin or crumpled bill/note on the ground.
This doesn’t happen too often though, so is it possible to learn how to find money on the ground more often? And are there certain places where you’re more likely to find money on the ground? The answer to both is, yes. Today you’re going to learn how to find money on the ground like an eagle-eyed pro.
Is It OK To Pick Up Money From The Ground?
It is a little surprising but it is technically against the law in some countries to keep money that you find on the floor. However, the lower the amount of money, the less likely that anything would come of it. Unless you’re knowingly stopping the owner of the money from getting it, or if you’ve found a large amount of money, our personal belief is that it is fair game.
You need to make a judgement call based on the laws in your own country, and your own morals as to what is OK, and what is not. Simply put, finding money on the ground, may come with some strict rules.
Our advice is that if you see someone drop money, do the right thing and let them know. If you do find a significant amount of money, turn it in to the police – if unclaimed you will often keep it anyway. So it’s up to you if you pick up the coins or notes you find – it’s a morally grey area and as we’ve noted may bizarrely be illegal in your country.
Make sure you understand the rules and moral implications of searching for and picking up money that you find on the ground!
Where to Find Money on the Ground
So, moral dilemmas aside (or not!), where are the best or most likely places to find money on the ground? We have a full list below, but essentially you’ll be looking in places where people spend money and actually, more importantly, places where people tend to sit down and stand up a lot.
The second is important as it is the most likely time when coins will slip out of someone’s pocket and onto the ground. It is probably the most crucial step in finding money on the ground.
Remember though, if you see the money actually being dropped, do the right thing and return it!
#1 Underneath Park Benches
Take a trip to the park and glance underneath the benches as it is likely that you will find some coins on the ground that have slipped out of someone’s pocket. This can happen either when someone sits down and leans back or when they pull their phone out of their pocket. Both can result in coins hitting the floor and being forgotten.
#2 In Roadside Gutters
We’ve all had it happen to us. Reach into your pocket only for a stray coin to bounce out roll along the sidewalk/pavement and into the gutter on the roadside. Many people will leave the coin(s) there so they don’t look “cheap” or don’t want to get too close to the road.
While walking, look towards the gutter and if you spot a coin nestled away there on the ground, carefully pick it up paying attention of course to the cars on the road.
#3 Shopping Centres & Supermarkets
Shopping centres and supermarkets can be gold mines for lost coins and notes because there are so many points at which a person may drop them.
First, is in the car park. As people get out of the car a coin may fall out of their pocket onto the ground. People will pull shopping lists, wallets, purses, etc. out while walking through the car park towards the store/shop. Similarly, when loading the shopping into the car, coins can easily slip out from a clenched hand.
Secondly, if the shopping cart/shopping trolley requires a coin there is a high likelihood that people have fumbled a coin and it’s fallen underneath the carts. Take a look underneath!
Thirdly, either at the checkout or a self-checkout when people are handing over money or receiving change, often if they drop a small amount, then they just leave it. And there it is just for you – to find money on the ground right in front of you!
#4 On The Ground After A Sporting Event
I can’t think of a more likely time for people to be jumping up and down than when at a sporting event. Whether it is football, hockey, rugby, or basketball. This is one of the most common ways coins can pop out of a person’s pocket and land on the ground.
So, if you’re at a sporting event, don’t rush out when it’s finished. Take your time and weave back and forth along the benches/chairs looking under and in front of them.
Our Top Pick: Sporting events are the most common place to find spare change and even bills/notes on the ground. Depending on how large the event and how long you hang around for afterwards you could pull in a decent chunk of cash.
#5 On The Floor Of A Cinema
Similarly to a sporting event, people will be moving around getting up to go to the bathroom, etc. (Hopefully no jumping up and down though!).
The older seats that flip up when you stand up can easily send coins onto the floor. What’s more, because the cinema is dark, people often don’t even notice that they dropped the money.
Waiting until the end and doing a sweep through the aisles and checking for coins and notes could net you the price of your ticket back if you find enough money on the ground.
#6 Against Fences Or Walls
Wind will blow bills/notes all over the place until they hit a wall, fence, or something similar. Think how easy it is for cash to be blown into the air.
It’s got to land at some point. Keep your eyes peeled near fences and walls, especially in areas that are windy and you should find money on the floor waiting to be picked up.
#7 Fairgrounds, Amusement Parks and Carnivals
Your first stop at an amusement park should be any ride where people go upside down or bounced around. These rides are perfect for separating coins from pockets. Just be careful and don’t go anywhere you shouldn’t be in the park.
Secondly, any gaming areas where coins are repeatedly put into machines are ripe pickings for dropped money on the floor that has been left behind. The carpets in these places are often “crazy” which works in our favour as it makes coins hard to see. That means because you’re actively looking, you’re likely to find the lost coins on the floor.
#7 Pubs, Bars and Clubs
A common side effect of getting drunk is being separated from your money!
If you look near the bar or serving area itself, or even around the seating area you are sure to find some dropped cash. Just don’t be too obvious about it in case someone drunkenly jumps in to lie and claim the cash is theirs!
#8 Anywhere Coins Are Used
Think about places where people typically put coins into machines. Because these places will also be where people fail to put coins into machines and drop them onto the floor!
Some examples are:
- Parking meters.
- Coinstar machines.
- Coin-operated car washes.
- Coin-operated laundromats.
- Vending machines.
#9 Hidden in the Snow
In the winter it is so easy for coins to drop and “slice” their way into freshly fallen snow. Once you’ve dropped a coin it’s out of sight and gone.
Wait until the snow starts to melt/thaw and you should be able to find hidden treasure. Walking around your local area when the snow has just melted should allow you to spot plenty of money just lying there on the ground.
Anecdote: A few years ago I stepped outside of my house and my wedding ring fell off into the snow. Hours of searching and I couldn’t find it. 2 weeks later after the snow had melted, I stepped out of the house, and sitting right there in a puddle was my ring! And of course, it’s the same deal for coins!
You can even adapt the process of magnet fishing for the snow. While ordinarily, you’d use a magnet fishing kit (or to save cash, just the neodymium magnet itself) to pull metal objects like coins out of rivers or streams, you use that same kit to drag the heavy magnet through bodies of snow.
#10 Bus Stops
How often you have heard someone exclaim “I’ve lost my bus fare!”? It’s even happened to me personally. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle at bus stops/stations and lots of opportunities for coins to accidentally fall on the ground.
After a queue of people has boarded a bus, take a look around where they were standing and you just might find a part of the bus fare on the ground.
#11 Train Stations
Train stations are even more hectic and busy than bus stops/stations. This means that there is a big chance that you will find money on the floor unknowingly dropped by stressed train passengers. The more stressful the train station, the higher the chance of finding dropped coins.
Additionally, if you’re on the train yourself check the floor for any coins dropped inside. It still counts as finding money on the ground, even if that ground is currently travelling at 100 mph!
#12 At the Beach
When people are having fun, they become more likely to accidentally and unknowingly drop some loose change. On a hot day, take a stroll on the beach and keep your eyes down. Look for the glint of a coin on the ground as the sun reflects off it.
Really though, your best bet at the beach is to use a metal detector. More on this below as a cheap metal detector can almost become a license to print money.
#13 Drive-thru Windows
People stretch out of their car window to pay for the meal at a Mcdonald’s or KFC drive-thru. Inevitably, some will drop their coins as they hand them over. Nobody is realistically going to get out of their car and scrabble for coins underneath.
So, once the drive-thru is shut (no more cars!), walk over and you should find money scattered on the ground waiting to be picked up.
#14 Petrol/Gas Stations
Another place where people can’t seem to help themselves from dropping money is near the pumps at petrol/gas stations. If you’re filling up, or even just walking by, take a look and find some coins laying on the ground.
#15 Outdoor Markets, Stalls or Swapmeets
People are often juggling bags, cash, and maybe other items. More often than you’d expect, this cash ends up on the floor. Take a walk around and your eyes to the floor so easy picking floor cash!
#16 Wrapped Up Inside Receipts
When someone has been grocery shopping they receive a receipt or sales slip. A lot of people, myself included, will wrap the receipts around my change (coins, bills/notes).
I hate littering so never throw my receipts on the ground, but plenty of people do this. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to find bills/notes wrapped up in shopping receipts.
So, next time you see a discarded receipt, take a closer look because you could be picking up a handful of dollars, or your local currency straight afterward.
As a side note, remember that if you keep your own receipts you can earn £5/$5 a month for uploading them to Amazon’s Shopper Panel App (USA Shopper Panel/UK Shopper Panel).
#17 Public Bathroom Stall Floors
It may be gross, and it’s certainly one for those with strong stomachs but often you can find coins that have been dropped in public bathroom stalls. Without being too crude, of course, you know that in a bathroom, trousers are pulled up and down – the perfect opportunity to lose a coin or two from your pocket.
If you go to this level and want to pick up money from the ground in public bathrooms, make sure you have some hand sanitizer or wipes with you!
#18 Anywhere with Lockers
Locker rooms in gyms, swimming pools, or other activity centres are great places to find cash on the floor. When people are changing into/out of their normal clothes it is common for them to drop coins or even notes.
Have a look near the floor of the lockers themselves or in the stalls (as long as there is nobody in that stall of course!). Just respect people’s privacy and have a look around for that dropped cash.
As every parent knows, when you’re at the playground, your attention is 100% on your kids. That means that parents at a playground are less likely to notice that they’ve dropped cash. So a playground becomes the ideal place to find some extra pennies laying on the ground.
Check around the seating areas, but also near swings, slides, etc.
Especially in the summer, parks or areas with a lot of grass/greenery are great for finding dropped cash on the ground. People who go for a run will find cash popping out of their pockets and those sitting to relax on the grass will find the same happens to them.
The reason why so many coins get dropped unnoticed in parks is that they’ll typically land on the soft grass, not making a sound.
How to Find Money on the Ground More Easily
Just using your own vision to find coins and notes on the ground and looking in the places we’ve mentioned above works reasonably well. But if you want to take things to the next level and find a boatload of coins on the ground, you need to grab a cheap but reliable metal detector.
A good metal detector will make it child’s play to locate coins in:
- Sand on the beach.
- In the snow.
- In fields or grassy areas.
- In bushes/shrubbery.
- Underneath autumn leaves.
- In shallow streams or in riverbeds.
The Best Cheap, But Reliable Metal Detectors
People are often under the mistaken impression that metal detectors are expensive but you can get a good quality one for around $70-$130.
It means that you won’t be relying on your eyes and can find coins that are below the ground as well as on it. And it won’t just be coins you find, but also lost jewelry that can be sold for even more cash.
It will depend on how much time you can put into it but plenty of metal detector hobbyists earn up several $100s up to $1,000 a year in coins and jewelry. Not a bad return for a $70 investment!
This metal detector is often on sale for around $80 and as of writing has a 4.5-star rating and over 12,000 reviews.
It is an incredibly rugged metal detector that will work in almost any environment. And to top it off it’s waterproof for those living in less-than-sunny climates.
Fully featured and provides pinpoint accuracy for finding those hidden coins and jewelry.
The Bounty Hunter can be picked up from Amazon and delivered within a day or two. Ideal to jump straight into metal detecting and to earn some extra cash from the money you find on the ground (or in the ground!)
If you’re wanting to get an even bigger extra boost to your accuracy than the Bounty Hunter and are willing to pay a little more at just over $100 then the Sakobs metal detector is for you.
It can detect metal and coins at an astonishing depth of almost 10 inches. It also has a very wide detectable range of metals including iron, nickel, aluminium, gold, zinc, copper, and silver – which should cover any coin you’re hoping to find!
Where this detector really shines is that it can actually exclude low-value metal objects such as screws, nails, bottle caps, etc. from your search. That means more time finding money & valuables on the ground, and less time wasted on finding junk.
Regardless of which metal detector you use, it can be a great investment if used correctly. And let’s not forget that along with making money from the coins and jewelry that you find on/in the ground it’s actually a really fun, cool hobby to boot.
It’s worth reading up on a beginner’s guide to metal detecting before you go out for your first coin hunting session.
Other Places to Find Money
So we’ve looked at a huge range of places where you can find money just lying on the floor. But why stop there? There are plenty of other places where you’re just as likely to find money because not all cash makes its way to the ground. These include places outside or even in your own home.
Think about locations in your own home. Everyone knows the coins down the back of the sofa trope, but there are so many other places at home where you can find some lost cash.
Finally, remember that your home is filled with things that you can convert into cash. Read about how we used the KonMari method to earn almost £2,500 from our unwanted possessions that were just lying around the house.
How Much Money Can You Find On The Ground?
This is a tough one to answer as it will depend on how much time you put into it. But we estimate the following:
- Casually looking at the ground as you go about your life: $1-$2 per week.
- Using our list to actively seek out places to find cash dropped on the ground: $2-$4 per week.
- Using a metal detector to search for coins & jewelry: $100s up to $1,000 a year.
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