How one family collected $1,000 in coins and how you can too!

American Public Media's Marketplace recently profiled a few frugal folks called "change hunters." These ingenious folks are those who look for change as they go about their daily lives. Armed only with keen eyes, Purell and a coin purse, they collect coins wherever they go. Most people don't feel that picking up loose change on the street is worth their time, but when you add up all of those coins, and even the occasional dollar, the sum is impressive.

The Humphreys, a New York family, have collected over $1,000 in change since they started collecting in 2005! The whole family gets in on the hunt and shares their finds and a running total on their blog Changepot. In October they ended year three with an impressive $402.72 and are already off to a great start with a total of more than $40 including a hefty find of $20 bill.

Another individual profiled by the marketplace has pulled in close to $300 in change with even greater detail of where each coin is found. After reading through his blog, The ChangeRace, I've decided the first place I am going to start my change hunting is around the Coinstar machine at the grocery store.

I'll be the first to admit that I pass up change too often. Hec, I swept up a penny tonight while I was cleaning and didn't think twice about it; and that was my penny. After realizing that, with a little effort, I could potentially collect a few hundred bucks a year in discarded change, I decided to give it a go. Even if I do a poor job of hunting, I'll still have more cash than I did when I started.

So where should I start looking for change? Since I've already decided to hit up the Coinstar machine I went searching for areas that I encounter on a daily basis that would have change. An article from, 10 Best Places to Find Money While Walking, proved to be an excellent starting point for change hunting.

Here are a few of the best:
  • Sidewalks
  • Gutters
  • Intersections
  • Vending machines
Since I work on a small college campus which is covered with sidewalks and vending machines, I shouldn't have a problem finding a few coins a week. Additionally I've had great success looking for coins and bills in the line at the grocery store where careless shoppers drop them while paying.

I'm already excited about the prospect of getting free money in 2009. It takes me back to when I would hunt for change as a kid. I would scour parking lots, store aisles and pretty much anywhere an adult, all of which I thought were loaded, would lose money. In all honesty, a good portion of my childhood video games were financed by loose change so there's no reason my adult hobbies can't be financed the same way.

Via The Consumerist
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