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Where to Find Loose Change: 20+ Ideas

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In the spirit of writing some coin related posts as of late, such as what to do with loose change and how to exchange your coins for cash, I thought I would have some fun and write about the many ways you can actually find loose change when you’re out and about.  And yes, it’s legal, I promise.

Whether it’s inside your home or out in public, there are so many places to check out if you’re looking for a coin or two.

No, you won’t get rich in doing so, but you never know how large your stash could get if you just pay attention to the ground.  It really depends on how hard you work at it.

So, in today’s post, let’s take a look at the many places you can start searching right now if you want to find some loose change.  This is just meant to be a fun post when you’re out and about are often looking for coins.

As you can imagine, don’t expect to get rich.  Instead, look at it as a fun way to explore when you’re outside.

Where to Find Loose Change

Around the House

Yes, your own house is a treasure for loose change.  It’s even said that the average U.S. household has about $28 laying around.

To find this change and maybe become $28 richer, consider looking in the following places:

  • between the couch cushions
  • inside the washing machine
  • inside your car, between the seats and in the glovebox
  • pant/coat pockets, especially the ones you never wear
  • drawers
  • purses or wallets (old and new)
  • suitcases
  • toy box
  • golf bag
  • toiletry bag

As you can see, there are quite a few places to start looking.  Don’t expect much, but it could make you $1 to $10 richer.

Grab a Metal Detector

No, you don’t need to live near the beach to find change, even though this is often a place to find it, but basically, anywhere there’s a lot of people, the better your chances at finding change can be.

And, the best part is that a metal detector doesn’t cost that much.  For instance, check out all of these low-cost, highly rated metal detectors on Amazon.

Like your home, there are quite a few places to explore, but I would recommend starting with the following:

  • the beach (your best option)
  • parks (go after a big event)
  • common areas
  • walking trails
  • campgrounds
  • landmarks
  • dirt parking lots

Of course, make sure the area is populated to increase your chances, and if you plan on going to the beach, try it when the sun is setting after most people left for the day.  There are people out with metal detectors every night for a reason.

Also, make sure the area is public as you don’t want to get in trouble, right?  Generally, the ocean is your best bet, but if you live near a public beach, this can work as well.

Don’t scoff at the investment as you can easily find coins and much more to offset the price you paid in no time.  Plus, it’s a ton of fun!

Vending Machines, etc

This isn’t as popular as it was in the past since so many machines use credit cards nowadays, but if the machine still uses coins, it’s amazing as to how many people don’t check the coin return or don’t even bother.

Vending machines are a great starting point, but I would also consider checking parking meters, u-scan machines and even payphones if you can find one.  As long as it accepts coins, it will have some sort of coin slot return.

While most people check out the actual coin slot, make it a habit to check beneath and on top of the vending machine as well as many people often drop coins and watch them roll beneath it without even bothering to get it.  It may be hard to get these coins, but if you don’t mind getting crafty, a simple stick can often pry it all out.

Drive-Thru Windows

I would only do this when the restaurant is closed, but drive-thru windows are notorious for having coins laying around the window on the ground.

Again, people drop the coins and don’t bother even picking them up.

While most drive-thru restaurants are opened 24 hours, you may be able to walk by when it’s slow to see if you can spot anything.

By the Cash Register

Just take a glance near the floor of a cash register the next time you’re at a retailer and you’re almost always bound to spot some coins.

Seeing some people are just too lazy to pick up their coins when they drop it, you can swoop in and pick it up.

I have read countless stories of workers alone who pick up coins near the register and can make upwards of $30+ a month in doing so.

Coin Operated Cash Wash

This happens a lot more than you think, but if you have a coin-operated car wash in your area, be sure to check out all of the empty bays on top of the control panel box where you insert the coins.  You can also check the change machines as well.

More often than not, people washing their cars will place a stack of quarters on the top and simply forget when they are done.

While it’s dirty, there are other places, particularly the vacuums located outside.  If you’re able to get the canister out, it’s not uncommon to find up to $10 in change.  Sometimes even more.   Usually, you should be able to unclip the vacuum and look directly inside.  Take a look at this video as to how it’s done.  If there’s a lock on it, then don’t even bother as it’s not possible to open.

Again, this is quite dirty, but it’s almost a guarantee every time you do it.

Coin Operated Landry

If you have to wash your clothes at a coin-operated laundromat, then there’s a good chance you’re going to be lounging around.  This can be a fantastic place to find money.

So, if you ever find yourself being bored, consider looking on the ground near the machines or even beneath them if you can access it.  In some cases, you can even open the lid and peek inside to see if any coins are near the bottom of the machine.

Like the car wash, many people often drop their coins and watch them roll beneath the machines.

Check Out Aldi

Aldi, a grocery store chain with 1,500+ locations, uses a unique approach when it comes to its grocery carts.

And if you have already shopped at this discounted grocer before, then you already know what I’m talking about.  If not, I will explain as to what this has to do with loose change.

At Aldi, you need to put a quarter in the cart in order to unlock it and take it into the store.  This is near the front of the store.  Then, after you’re done grocery shopping, you will have to return the cart to where you found it in order to get your quarter back.  You basically click a lock into it from the cart in front of you to get your quarter back.

Now, the key here is that many people do not return the carts, which simply means you can take these carts and get the coin.

I have been here countless times, and every time I go, I swear I find at least one cart in the parking lot I can take back.  I could only imagine how many you could return throughout the day if you hung around.

Coinstar Machine

Tons of people use the Coinstar machines, the machines that you can often find at your local grocery store and Walmart.  If you’re unfamiliar with them, it will take your coins and convert it into cash (for a fee) or into a gift card.

Well, the thing about these machines is that they are so loud when money is running through the machine, with most people not hearing the coins drop into the “rejected” bin.  This bin is designed to spit out the coins that aren’t official U.S. currency, but as with any technology, it makes mistakes.

The next time you leave the store, quickly stop by the machine and look into the rejection bin to see if you can spot any coins as a lot of times people will simply forget or not even check as they leave.  You may find some coins or even something foreign in value.

Out and About

There are so many more places to look that I didn’t mention above and I will include them below.  Just keep in mind that some of these areas could be gross, but hey, I don’t know how bad you want this loose change.

Here are even more places to consider…

  • in parking lots
  • on sidewalks
  • the airport
  • lobbies (hotels, banks, etc)
  • beneath restaurant tables
  • near any change machine
  • bus stops
  • crowded events (anywhere with a lot of foot traffic)
  • movie theatre seats after a movie ends (money slips out of pockets)
  • subway station

Final Thoughts

Of course, as mentioned, you’re not going to get rich finding loose change.

I just wanted to write this as a fun way to spot some coins as you’re out and about.  It’s fun to just look when you’re out and about.

The next time you head out, keep some of these places in mind and just take a glance at the ground.  You may be surprised as to how much loose change you can actually find and fast it adds up.  It may not be much, but it can add up over time.

As always, feel free to let me know where you find loose change.

Do you have any tips?  How much have you made?

I’d love to hear from you!

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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