Do you pick up loose change in the street?

My dad always instilled a sense of awareness in me to keep my eyes open for money. I remember well when I was a nipper kicking a screwed up bundle of scrap paper in the street only to see the queen winking at me, stooping and picking up £30 in notes. I was 7, the year was 1982 and I was rich beyond the dreams of men. The Beano only cost 6p at the time and you could get a Mars Bar for 8p. I couldn’t quite stretch to my own house, so my dreams of financial independence were dealt a blow they’d take another 15 odd years to recover from but I was able to indulge my love of books and buy a game for my Speccy.

I’ve been called many things over the years for picking up coins from the pavement, a pikey, a cheapskate and a jewboy are some of the more repeatable. I’m none of the three I assure you, but I do sort of like the idea of free money.

I saw what’s often referred to as an infographic on reddit a while back that sought to quantify the relative worth of picking up a penny if you saw one. I can’t be arsed trawling Reddit to find it and republish it but being an accountant in my spare time, I thought I would recalculate it for your consumption.

Say you see a penny in the street and it takes you 5 seconds to stop and pick it up.

In a minute that means you could pick up 12p.

In an hour you could pick up 720p

In a 7 hour working day it would go up to 5,040p

That equates to 25,200p in a 35 hour working week

or 1,209,600p in an average working year,

which is £12,096.

Obviously you’re not going to spend your entire life mechanically picking up 1p’s at the rate of one every 5 seconds when you should in fact be in the office, that’s silly but what it does illustrate is stooping to pick up some loose change that hasn’t been glued to the pavement by some git who’s eyes are too far apart (or close together) is probably worth the time investment.

We keep a large glass Roses jar of loose change (anything below a 50p goes in it). The last time it was emptied and changed up at the bank, it came to well over £100. Which was nice and did us a jolly good night out from what I vaguely remember of it.

So next time you see a smattering of low denomination coinage on the pavement, have a quick glance around from scumbags and if there aren’t any in sight, pick said coinage up and begin a savings jar. If nothing else, you’ll have a thrilling evening bagging all the coins up in the indeterminate future.

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