I was changing out purses over Christmas and did a fast change over to get me out the door. A few days later I went back to the old purse to clean it out more thoroughly. I recovered the usual stuff and a couple of dollars in change just swimming at the bottom of the purse. I became slightly fascinated and went through some of my other old purses and came up with a few dollars more.
This caused me to become super fascinated. How much change do we collect on a regular basis and then toss aside because it's "just 15 cents"? So, I bought one of those coin collector counter things for super cheap at an after Christmas sale and started my "data collection".
I started adding to it on January 1, 2009. I did take out change for parking meters, which is what would have happened to the change I had around anyway. I figured that parking meters and sodas would make the whole thing a wash. I haven't done anything special like hunt for pennies on the street or recycled cardboard for more change. I continued tipping when it seemed appropriate in drive-thrus and continued to ignore dumping my change into Jars for Random causes (Pony up, write a check and get the tax rebate--reason why is your employer might have a matching program and you should check because it benefits the program more if you take the time to go home and write a check).
After using the change collector for 87 days, the grand total is $28.07. I have collected $28.07 just from not misplacing where the change goes when it gets handed to me. Over a year, that's $112.28 in loose change that was kind of just getting lost in pockets, old purses and under the seat of my car and then in the belly of the car wash vacuum.
If you're looking for some quick money, you could probably try the local landfill or my old boyfriend's garbage and see what it has to offer. I'm sure both of those suggestions are illegal so you might want to weigh the cost of bail with how much you expect to recover.
I'm sure the car wash guys are onto this one already, come on, they are onto this one, right?