#995 Finding money you didn’t even know you lost

An old roommate of mine was sifting through and tossing out some old birthday cards once when a crisply entombed twenty dollar bill slid out of a faded card from Grandma. Her eyebrows perked up, her mouth formed a perfect O, and she raised her hand up top for a high five, which I promptly delivered.

Finding a bill zipped up in last year’s ski jacket, laying wet and crumpled in the washing machine, or folded in the pocket of your booze-smelling blazer is such a great high. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but this sure comes close.

Such a great highFinding your own money is a lot like discovering an entirely new currency, one that cannot be used to pay down debts or obligations, but only has value when purchasing stuff you probably don’t need and wouldn’t have bought otherwise, like an old-school beanie cap, novelty ten-pound Toblerone bar, or high-octane gasoline. It is disposable income in the truest sense of the phrase.

For the pessimists out there, you may be saying “Barumph! That money has been all chewed up by time and inflation, slowly losing value and unaccumulating interest while prices ramp right on up, making my life less and less affordable. That found money could have purchased more before I lost it than it can today, so why should I celebrate my own stupidity?”

But Pessy, come on, we’re talking about found money here — money that hasn’t been budgeted for, accounted for, remembered for, promised for, or owed for, anything at all, since you lost it! Surely the few sacrificed cents of interest in the bank are a small price to pay for holding that folded up bill, right up to the sky, in your tightly clenched fist, with no claims to satisfy. Sure, it may smell a bit like mothballs, Tide, or Grandma’s skin cream, but that money still works. And it works well.

So let’s call found money what it really is then.


New form of currency


152 thoughts on “#995 Finding money you didn’t even know you lost

  1. For some reason, I always find money ($20 – $10 – $5) whenever I switch purses. Not inside the wallets but in the pockets of said purses!! And in jackets as well. =)

  2. Awesome. This happened to me just yesterday. It was actually cash that my wife had collected on my behalf from a family member. She couldn’t remember where she left it, but when I pulled the clothes out of the washer, there it was. $30, freshly laundered (legally, of course).

  3. When I was a kid, I used to use money as bookmarks – old Canadian $1 and $2 bills. Years later when I was going through all my old books, I found one of these bookmarks…. so I started shaking all the books and at least $20 came out of them all!! It was awesome!! (Also showed me how many books I didn’t finish reading!!)

  4. I have a friend who tucks away money in winter coats before putting them away in storage for the summer. She always gets a kick out of finding her own money again ! I always get a smile when I do the laundry and bills are left in pockets ! I feel it’s my pay for doing the laundry.

  5. I was packing today for college. While going through my underwear drawer, I found a crisp $100 bill. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

  6. AWESOME! a couple months ago I was at a booksale and I found a Century Book of Facts from 1901, and was like “Score! an old book! it cost me eight bucks.
    I go to flip through it (very carefully) and I find letters from pre-ww1,some old stamps,and German(?) banknote for 10 pfgs.(?) “Lehn Pfennig, Bank. Deutscher.L’a’nder.” anyway…Awesome!

  7. I put crumpled bills in books to flatten them. Sometimes I forget about them and find them later. Awesome.

  8. This is the most fun for me when i’ve been doing laundry for years in a day and end up finding two or three bills in the pockets while folding my jeans. Or better, when i find like five dollars worth of loose change in the endless depths of my purse, which might not be worth anything more than a decent high school lunch.

  9. that is so so great! when I was in 3rd year of my medical school, i lost a certain amount of money which i saved for buying story books….after a year or so….when i was in Pharma class taking class notes, suddenly the bills popped out from one of my old books and i screamed in the middle of the class..yeeeeiiiii….lol….Dat was fun!

  10. It’s nice to find money if you didn’t new it was lost.
    People’s sometimes said that you overreact if you found money.
    But it is a nice feeling to now you have found money.
    Once I found some money at home in a box.
    I was very happy when I found that money, but my sister can’t believe it’s mine. It’s not your’s, she said. As you might guess. There was a discussion. So I divided the money in 2. So if you don’t want to share don’t tell anybody you found money.

  11. I have this a lot of time. I always drop my money in my bag. When I pay in the shop I always take my money at least. But I have already arrange my wallet. When I come home I never take the money from my bag and do it in my wallet. Because I forget that I have put my money in my bag. I let the money in my bag. So when I arrange my bag after a lot of time. I find always a lot of pieces. I enter all the pieces I find in a money – box. After some months I’m a rich girl.

  12. I remember I was completely broke in London and didn’t have money for a travel card to get to work. I was starting to freak out a bit and frantically delved into all the nether regions of my wallet. In the deepest recess of a card slot I never use I found a nice crisp and super folded 50 pound note I’d hidden from myself when I was drunk at a night club. Haa haa Awesome!

  13. Awhile back, I put a 5 dollar bill in this book I was reading. I thought it was a good idea because the book was about a poor girl in Nepal, and maybe it would teach me to spend my money wisely when I re-found it. And then when I did find it, I ended up going to the candyshop. :)

  14. THRIFT SHOP $$$, definately a guilty pleasure…
    Found money, for sure a “given”:)
    I once found nearly one thousand while a boarder; returned it and was told I’d receive a reward. They’d lost a friend after a party for having blamed them for stealing it…YEARS PAST.
    I rewarded myself, by the conscience of having been honest.

  15. Finding just enough cash for your Christmas Tree, (tucked inside a hidden drawer), just when you thought you couldn’t afford one!

  16. Oh My Gosh! Almost the exact same thing happened to me once. In grade eleven I was looking through old cards(Birthday, Christmas, etc.) and I found $20 bucks in a grade 8 graduation card from grandma! A similar thing also happened where a few weeks after the winter holidays, and I was low on cash(along with everyone else who had been drained by the holiday gift buying crush) I decided to again open a Christmas card I got from my dad’s cousin and found I left the 20 bucks she gave me in it. It was AWESOME! (P.S. How many people were shocked by the fact I actually typed “Oh My Gosh!” Instead of “OMG!”?)

  17. I find money accidentally. I will put it somewhere, then completely forget about it. About a year later, I will find my thirty bucks deep within my bag and wonder how the heck it got there.

  18. (I like the idea of randomly scattering fives and tens throughout the house and then forgetting about it until spring cleaning turns them up again…)
    When I was ten years old I inherited a locket necklace – a plain sterling oval that opened to reveal old, faded, black and white photos of my mom’s parents. I never wore it – wasn’t my style, and it was very heavy and clunky looking. I stashed it in a drawer and didn’t think about it for years. When I was in my last year of college, I went home for the holidays and found it where I’d left it. Decided to take a closer look – carefully pried the photos out of each clamshell half … and behind each picture was a gold coin. Turned out to be two Indian Eagle series coins from the mid 1920s – each worth around $2,200. That was a great Christmas!

  19. This happens to me all the time. I often leave money in between pages of books to flatten the bill (I don’t like crumpled money), but I often forget all about them until the next time I open the book for a reread. This is why I don’t lend out my books anymore.

  20. This post, along with this blog’s whole philosophy, was my inspiration for my blog. I can’t believe this blog is still going. I’m absolutely amazed by your ability to pull awesomeness from seemingly normal things that we all experience, but never recognized. Until you came along. I mean, I’m a positive person and I’m always looking for new things to appreciate, but you are on a whole other level.

  21. Wow I just learned about Neil and this sight from the article in the Toronto Star a couple of weeks ago and was reading through the posts from the beginning and stopped at this particular post about finding money you didn’t know you lost. I laughed and thought this has never and will never happen to me. I don’t use cash much-debit and credit all the way. I go to the bank and get a twenty and it lasts for months and I’m normally careful with my money in general. Well, the very next day I read this post I was rumaging through my car for a CD (yes I have an old car that doesn’t play mp3s) and what do I find?! A twenty!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. That was the very next day I read the post…now that’s awesome!

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  23. Money is special, the economy makes it decrease and increase. When you lost something that you notice in your head you will know the value, but the awesome is when you didn’t know you lost, how in this case you will know the value? I remember once when I was going to school on one of the hottest day in my life, it had been a normal day, I had my classes and I was walking in the street and I feel thirsthy, so I visited my school bag pocket to see If I had some money, for my sadness the answer was “No, you hadn’t”. Fortunally I looked at the bottom of the bag and I found amazing two and fifty reais, the awesome event was that with exaclty the money, no more or less, I could buy a bottle of fresh water. I think this situation will never happen again, a small amount was worth that much. AWESOME!

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