Have you ever found a penny on the ground and thought twice about picking it up? It’s one measly cent and weren’t we going to get rid of the penny anyway? We all know once that copper coin lands in our pocket, it’s destined to be tossed in the junk drawer or left in your pocket only to be heard clanging in the washer or dryer eventually getting lodged in that covert appliance crevice. Here we go again youtube: “How to dislodge coins from my washing machine.”
This was my thought process prior to 2010.
On December 9, 2009, after finding $0.11 while out running, I had an idea. Why not save every coin I find for one full year? Better yet, why not get my wife and three children in on the action?
So my wife pulled out a mason jar and slapped a sticker with the words FOUND MONEY on its side. I dropped the dime and penny into the jar and as they jingled to the bottom, our new tradition was underway. We agreed to collect and save all the money we found for one full year, and count our 365 day total on December 8, 2011. Suddenly the once burdensome penny had a whole new meaning, to all of us.
For organization’s sake, we decided to keep an old Sucrets tin in each of the cars and if we found any money while running errands, we placed it in the tin. Otherwise, every cent found while running, at school, under vending machines (our kids use their Ninja Warrior skills to hunt down those coins) or anywhere was saved in our found money jar at home.
On December 8, 2010, we sat down around our kitchen table and sorted the money. Our kids worked together by grouping and stacking the coins and calculated our first year total as a modest $7.25.
We were staring at our accomplishment when my daughter asked, “What should we do with the money?” As a team, we decided that each year we would donate the money to a charity of our choice. My wife suggested matching the total. Therefore, our first-year total of $7.25 would increase to $14.50.
December 8 has become a family holiday called “Found Money Day”. This is the day we drape newspaper over our enamel kitchen table and count the money found throughout the year. We then take time to discuss and decide which charity will receive our donation. This year we gave to Sheltering Grace Ministries.
It’s been 10 years since we began the Find It for Charity Challenge, and it still offers the same excitement for each one of us as it did in the beginning. Whether we find a penny or a five-dollar bill, we can’t wait to drop it into the tin or the “Found Money” jar.
Throughout the decade, we’ve averaged around $18.00 per year with our lowest total coming in at $7.25 in 2010. This year was incredible. We reached our record high with a whopping $55.00!
*For an added challenge, each family member guesses the annual total prior to counting the money. Each guess is written down and placed into the empty found money jar. Once the total is revealed, we see who was closest to the total. The winner has bragging rights for the year.
More importantly, “Found Money Day” prompts all of us to take a break from studying, working and planning and FINALLY stop and take a moment to be together. We recall our most memorable where we found it stories – (one year during spring break at Orange Beach, our son found $15.00(!) in a parking lot during a rainstorm) and decide where to donate the money.
Our Find it for Charity Challenge continues to be a daily reminder of how coins inadvertently dropped by one person can literally pay it forward for another. Join us in our challenge, and start saving for others today. Note: remember to watch for traffic!
Here’s how you can take part in the Find it for Charity Challenge:
Remember, we can all help each other in small ways, even if it’s just one penny at a time.