Yesterday I found my biggest score yet on a single walk: 16 whole cents! Six pennies and one dime, just littered on the ground as if money fell from trees (maybe they did fall from a tree? :)).
I was so excited that I not only rushed home to exclaim my exuberance to the wife (she didn’t care), but to also hit up Instagram and Twitter too, of course, to share my findings with the world. People there cared a little more, but I tell you all this is ‘cuz it made me just as happy as if I had found a $100 or even $1,000* bill instead. Which also would have been pretty exciting, but not exponentially more.
Knowing this about yourself can play a HUGE part in your finances!
Whenever we consider buying stuff we’re usually fixated on price, but what we’re really after is how much joy this new thing will bring us (bills and such excluded). We’re pretty good at knowing what these are, but we’re not so good at paying attention to the *alternatives* that can bring just as much joy into our lives as well.
- I’m just as happy… drinking beer at home as I am at a bar
- I’m just as happy… hanging with friends as I am going to the movies
- I’m just as happy… driving my beat up Caddy as I was my $25k SUV
- I’m just as happy… wearing “gently used” clothes as I am new clothes
- I’m just as happy… eating pb&j as I am hitting a new restaurant
- I’m just as happy… getting my hair cut at home as I am at the barber shop
- I’m just as happy… watching a show on my medium-sized TV vs. my old big-screen TV
- And even more shocking, I’m pretty much just as happy… having a staycation as I am a vacation!
Does that mean I don’t still eat out or buy new clothes or drink tasty beers for 10x the price? Hell no – I love doing those things too! However when comparing *happiness levels* only, they’re not that far apart. If at all. So I do more of the free/cheap stuff and continue having a sweet quality of life.
Just something to think about while out and about this week doing your thing :) No shame in enjoying the niceties out there, but remember there’s plenty of alternatives that do the same trick at a fraction of the cost. We’re lucky to have such options!
PS: Here’s another post I wrote last year along the same lines if you want to keep the juices flowing: The Exact Amount to Maximize Happiness
* $1,000 bills actually exist! And in fact $100,000 ones do too, though are extremely rare. Most of the larger denomination U.S. bills were used by banks and the Federal Government for large transactions between themselves and not the general public. Though the general public now owns a lot of these bigger bills as collectible items (and they cost way more than face value too ;)).
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I’d be frickin’ excited to find that much money on a walk! How long of a walk was it? I’m trying to figure out earnings per mile ;-)
I can safely say I’m just as happy doing most of the things you describe above ( I don’t drink or it would basically be all). So many people have bought into the lie that more equals more happy, and I just do see that it’s true. More seems to mean more stress and a desire for even more, it’s never ending. Seems exhausting!
Hah! It was actually probably right around a mile as I start struggling after that with an 11 mo old in my arms :) So $0.16/mile – I’ll take it!
This is what it’s all about right – just being happy with less. It makes life simpler, and financial goals easier to achieve. Yesterday my husband and I went for a big greasy English breakfast – sausages, bacon, hash browns, baked beans – all the good stuff. It was a treat for us as we try to cook everything at home. Boy was it delicious. Both of us commented later in the afternoon how satisfied we were with the meal. I actually used the words ‘soul food’. It cost 8 euro for total bill. We’ve had restaurant meals that cost ten times that and weren’t satisfying. We have basically given up on restaurants – especially with a toddler, not fun! But sitting in the shade on a warm day eating bacon – that right there is happiness!
I once lost a $20 bill. You know, when the stock market goes up, no big deal for most, but when it goes down just a little, it affects people to the negative much more. If you find 16c, you are apparently very happy ;-) …..but if you lose $20, it is horrible! This happened over 25 years ago too, so that was a lot of money to a 10 year old!
Yup – pain of loss is always greater than the wins! Though fortunately in the stock market when it’s going down down down you can buy and wait for it to go back up up up :)
I’m convinced that being content with what you have is a central key to happiness. I really do find that I’m happier not buying stuff because I don’t have the stress of going to a store, making a decision, and then ultimately parting with my money. And, like you said, there are cheaper analogues for just about every expensive activity. Once we realized we could do just about everything for ourselves (cook our own meals, repair our own house, etc), it’s a let down to think about paying other people to do that stuff!
I’ll still pay people though if it frees up my time towards something more important :) But that’s the beauty/point of money, right? To help you live your ideal life?
You are a money magnet J $! (that’s what I tell myself whenever I find our get money and no matter how small the denomination, it makes me smile)
I think we need to actually *make* magnets that say that, haha… I would buy one!
We have also endeavored to find cheap ways to entertain ourselves- for example, one of our favorite things to do as a family is go for a walk, which we do nearly every day! I agree that finding contentment with the simple things in life is a key component of happiness.
Hi $exy J! You can only imagine my joy when I found a dollar bill on my walk! lol Pia
F’in A man.
My wife and I are just as happy relaxing and talking over tea while my daughter “cooks” us stuff in her play kitchen than we are watching TV once she’s asleep. We love doing our low-tech Thursday nights (no cells, no skype – sorry grandparents, no netflix, no TV, no eBay, no laptop).
Absolutely LOVE that. I’ve been trying to shut off phone/laptop every night after kids go down and mannnn it’s so hard! some days I win but most I fail… at least I’m trying every day though and feel like eventually I’ll get the habit down?
Happiness comes from the inside, not the outside and no amount of spending will fix that. If you’re unhappy you’ve got to figure out why and fix it. If you don’t, and you use money to fill the void, you’ll end up where I once was – with 50K in debt. Happiness is an inside job.
“Happiness is an inside job.” – BAM
Now that I walk with my son, I find a lot more change (and garbage) than I used to. I’ve started bringing a small bread bag to hold the garbage. Its weird, but my son is always picking it up, and I don’t want to teach him that littering is ok.
However, a few weeks back I found a dollar while I was on a run, but as I was cooling down the neighborhood drunk asked me for a dollar. Usually I tell him no, but since I had it in hand, I told him that he really should upgrade from Keystone Light, and I gave him the dollar.
The next day he told me he bought a Colt45, and he asked for another dollar. Unfortunately for him, I hadn’t stumbled onto fortunes two days in a row. Also, Colt45 is a downgrade.
Oh jeez, haha… Everyone knows OE is the best :)
(good call on bringing a bread bag too – I always have my 2 y/o just throw the trash back on the ground and you’re right, it does feel bad doing that :( sometimes if it’s just paper I’ll put it in my pockets to throw out later, must most times he’s picking up all kinds of nasty stuff. Why do kids love that??)
I found a £5 note ($7ish?) on the floor the other day. Made my whole damn week!
I ‘invested’ it on the Grand National (a big horse race in the UK) and won nothing, but hey, it would have made a great story if it had come in!
HAH! It would have! :)
You don’t need stuff to be happy. Happiness is what you make of it. So what investment vehicle is the 16 cents going into?
It’s going into my Challenge Everything account, of course :)
Which is already reserved to max out my Roth IRA – woot!
So that 16 cents will become $16 in some far off distant future :)
Finding money is great….But I seem to get as much or more pleasure from repairing something, making it last so as a replacement purchase is not needed….
I get excited to even find a penny on the sidewalk. My dear sister in law always said they were pennies from heaven and now that she is there….I think of that phrase every time I find a coin.
And maybe she’s throwing some down for you to find because she knows how happy it makes you!
I remember when I got my first check in the mail for affiliate marketing… I felt like I won the lottery. Sure, it was for only $39.60 but felt like a million bucks to me! I even framed it and now it’s on my wall for everyone to gaze at (though, they never seem to be thrilled about it like me). Hahaha
You should replace it with a $39,600 check once you’ve hit that (and cash it, of course). We’ll see who cares then!
Haha, yeah!! That’s the goal.
And, luckily for mobile deposits, I was able to take the picture of the check and deposit it into my bank account so I could keep the check without having to hand it over. Best of both worlds! ;-)
YES! Ain’t technology great!
I share your joy! Last week I found $2 and it just made my day :) I have to say that I agree that being happy is different for all people but I am with you simple makes me just as happy. I love the beautiful dinners out, out for drinks with friends/husband/family, buying a new clothes/house stuff/personal stuff. I find a much deeper happiest when those drinks are on my back deck with a dinner that I made for friends/husband/family and we can just relax and be………
I agree that all the simple stuff you listed makes me just as happy too! Especially after having kids, when a lot of those external things are more stress than pleasure. It’s nice being able to appreciate what you have and not feel pressured to upgrade or keep up with the Joneses’.
having kids totally made me appreciate EVERYTHING more, haha… silence, the hours after they go to bed, any time I go anywhere by myself, etc. And it’s all really made me realize how much FUN there’s to be had just getting silly and hanging out together! Kids don’t need anything fancy to play!
I couldn’t agree with you more on your being happy comparison. I have to agree with you on just about everyone of those. I wonder what has changed my mind over the years as it always hasn’t been that way. Is it age, maturity, my surroundings? Who knows. I’m just happy that I’ve made that transition.
I agree 100%. Once you start finding happiness outside of material possessions cash will start piling up. It took me a while but now before I make any sort of spending decision I really think hard about what this purchase is going to do to make me happy and how long the happiness will last. I think if you start analyzing every purchase in this way, over time you will see a trend that happiness is very temporary when it’s tied to the excitement of a purchase of a material possession. Eventually it becomes easy to pass on buying things you don’t really need. Then it becomes a win-win. You pass on buying something that provides you little happiness and you find happiness in knowing that the money you saved from not buying it gets you that closer to retirement!
Every time I see your name pop up here it reminds me of that song my 2 y/o loves “Gotta shake, shake, shake your wiggles out! Shake shake, shake your wiggles out!” Haha…
But yes, I fully agree with your statement :)
Happiness is what you make it to be. I feel I am happy when I’m giving back or volunteering, and I’m happy I know this early on in life so that it can be a focus of mine when I reach FI. Glad you found some change and the little ones are great at finding coins since they are so close to the ground.
Grover Cleveland looks a lot like a serious walrus with that mustache… which makes me happy. ;o)
I know the deeper meaning here is about happiness but… Since I’ve subscribed to the newsletter I’ve found myself looking around for spare change, haha.
Yay 16 cents awesome!!!!! Did you find it by cars parked?? I always look for coins round busy streets where people park since my theory is that sometimes people dump their change out. Weird right?
It’s kinda fun decluttering and seeing how much you can give to Goodwill! And then when buying stuff it’s like a game. How long can I hold out, and if I hold out can I crush the urge to buy it eventually? My biggest weaknesses are still food and buying gifts though. I figure at least those aren’t horrible.
I did find them all near a curb, so you’re probably right – must have fallen out of a car or something! Great tip.
I used to have a very skewed view of happiness and mostly because I derived it from stuff or situations. All I did was waste money and I certainly didn’t feel happy. For me, now I focus on deriving happiness through helping other people and it’s the greatest level of happiness I have ever achieved.
I think that being content really is the key to lifelong happiness :) and 16 cents is better than nothing!
Congrats on the $.16 :) I’d be excited too, haha. Every little bit helps!
I am happy if I find 5 cents or frankly any amount. I get excited if I find pens, hair ties ( which I clean) and rubber bands. My partner takes the cake. He found $20 bucks in February :) and this past week he found $2. We actually just started talking about a jar for found money to see how much we can make in a year for fun! I guess that is a side hustle!
I really appreciate your view on what makes a happy life. Your perspective is refreshing.
Thanks Vicki! And loving the jar idea too :) Would be cool to see how much adds up over the year, and then even more so what you all do with it!
I know money is money, but do you ever have to overcome superstition when picking up an upside down penny?
Sometimes I see money and pass by, hoping that some kid will find it and be just as excited as you are!
I used to only pick them up if it was heads, but now I pick it all up because my appreciate for money outweighs any superstition :)
Though I do like the idea of letting a kid get excited over it as mine loves it even more so than me! I want to throw some in the grass before going on a walk with him and then watching his excitement as we “accidentally” come across some, haha.. so thx for the idea!
I definitely prefer my friends to movies, as well as pb&j to fancy sushi! Cheers!
Mrs. T and I yell out “I’m a money magnet” whenever we find money on the street. We recently found a quarter and we were very excited. :D
Hey, every penny adds up! I’ve come to find that simplicity makes me happy. Spending money is not really all that simple. You have to compare prices and brands, make a decision, go buy the item (whether it’s clothes, a haircut, dinner, whatnot) and sometimes the stress that comes along with the price tag just isn’t worth it. Buying quality clothes that I’m able to wear for longer, making one grocery run and having my lunch set for a week…those things are simple and that makes me happy!
It’s true – every time you shop for something it comes with a handful of thoughts and decision making processes to weed through. Never thought about it quite like that before :)
This is so true!It reminds me of how the excitement of most purchases quickly wears off.
I found a $1 bill during a run once. Stopping to pick it up and stick in my sneaker was totally worth the brief drop in my heart-rate. :)
Well said. I was just thinking this the other day when I told a friend that we don’t eat out. She thought I was nuts…bit I get the same amount of happiness eating out and eating at home…plus I can wear sweatpants at home and my 11 month old can scream and throw her food at the wall all she wants.
Especially fun while eating spaghetti! That stuff sticks like crazy!
Woo hoo free money! My issue is I don’t walk very often, as I’m usually riding my bike or off in the wilderness and I don’t think Yogi the bear usually drops change.
You’re probably getting a much better work out though :)
Amen, brother. Contentment is so incredibly important. Wants can be insatiable if you let them take over your life. I’ve found it just doesn’t take that much to be happy. :)
I agree on all points but especially about spending on holidays.
I have been on holidays where we’ve spent thousands on expensive all inclusive beach resorts, and had just as good a time as when we’ve had a bargain basement break in rainy England. It’s just fun going away and seeing a new place IMO and I don’t really mind where we go!
Just read your other post, made me chuckle that your wife doesn’t read the blog. Mine is the same! :)
“It’s just fun going away and seeing a new place” – Yeah! Agreed! I mean, I’m totally happy chilling at home too, but I don’t need to go see one of the great wonders of the world to have a good time. I just like stumbling across new-to-me towns and even coffee shops. Now if I could afford to travel the world and do the same there, well, that’s just as nice, but thankfully that’s not the only way to enjoy life :)
Well said! I have found the real happiness in small things and most of all, in moments that I spend with my family!
This is a great way of looking at choices about spending. I’ve also thought about how I’m just as happy giving money to someone who really needs it (like sponsoring an impoverished child in Ethiopia, for example) as I am spending it on myself. Actually it makes me even happier. Obviously there is a limit to what you can give away, but this kind of value is really motivating for making frugal choices, and that carries over into saving for other goals, too.
Yeah! Good realization! Can never go wrong giving back to the community regardless of the amount of money or time too.
Good insights J!
Things can look different from another perspective. And, most times it’s really the people we spend our time with that make the experience all the more enjoyable. Congrats on your new found treasure! :)
Great post J! I know what you mean. I was thinking that as I was at a potluck dinner at a friend’s house last night. It was so fun and we laughed hard…just as we would at a restaurant. :) And my car gets me from point a to point b. There is a line from a Jack Johnson song that I like, “look at all those fancy clothes…but these can keep us warm just like those…”
I’m just as happy reading Budgets are Sexy as I am when..shoot I’m stumped.
(Best comment of the day right there, son!)
An ex girlfriend of mine used to make so much fun of me if I’d scoop up a penny, a few coins on the ground etc. She’d say ‘It’s not even worth my time to stop and pick them up.’ Then she’d say ‘Can’t wait to see what you’ll get with that whole .02 cents’. Etc etc.
I’d say, ‘I just got paid to do that and I’d do it for a living if every time I touched the ground I’d get a few cents’.
Then I’d always have to say, ‘You bend over for free at least I get paid’ ha!
Now she’s an ex. Don’t mess with my money.
Okay, I take back my response to Mark up there. YOU win for best comment of the day!
I had no idea my man Grover had his own bill. Good for him!
Great point about finding out what really makes you happy, and for most people it can be the less expensive stuff.
Great perspective! And the truth – we can always be just as happy doing something simple and frugal. It’s not about how much an activity costs, but how good it makes us feel.
There’s nothing quite like found money. My son found a $10 bill and keeps it separate from the rest of his money like a big-game trophy. He may never spend it.
But of course there’s a flip side to this – some poor soul is probably scouring the streets, looking for his $.16… :-)
Either that, or someone laughing their asses off knowing I’d come around and get so damn excited for it, haha… I am randomly seeing more and more change on the same walk I do every day so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has a hidden web cam up somewhere live streaming and poking fun at me :)
This is my first time to your blog…and I love it. Its nice to know that someone who truly saved and appreciates money has made it rich… at least what I consider rich or just comfortable. Not like Clinton who got paid 48 million for speaking. Really. I work in financial aid and sent four children to college and will be paying for it till I die unless of course I become a great blogger like you. Kudos. (Oh and it was my choice to help pay for college, they have loans of their own.)
Hey thanks, Aline! So glad you’re enjoying the blog so far. I most def. appreciate money because it can give us our dream lifestyles if managed properly! Perhaps you should start your own blog to spread the good word on $$ as well? Sounds like you have a unique perspective on it :)
Good reminder, my friend. This made me smile today and that’s exactly what I needed.
Also, your enthusiasm for finding change out and about makes me want to go take a walk and hunt for pennies right now.. :D
Great post, J$!
This past year, I’ve been very happy and content not buying stuff I don’t need. I started home brewing so I am LOVING drinking my own beer at home, more so than at a bar, if I’m honest!
I pick up pennies when I see them on the floor/ground, something I always did as a child.
However, perhaps I should start saving them like you do!
Are you finding it’s cheaper to home brew so far? I’ve read articles that say opposite things so curious to see how your operations are going over there :)
Another Great Post
My favorite type of entertainment is each Friday looking over all the balances in my accounts. There is no bigger thrill than a good week when everything went up and the expenses were in line or went down.
Digit account started on March 30th, hit $130.11 Today. Now have 3 Vanguard accounts up and running…
And just for a phone weekend, I will withdraw some cash, hold it count it, just feel it and then make a deposit on Monday. Something I have been doing since I was a kid. It’s just good to actually touch your money sometimes!
Keep the great info coming J!
HAH! That is awesome!!
Never thought to withdraw it just to touch it, but I can totally see how that can lift your spirits! I used to get paid all in cash back in the day (story for another day) and was always able to save more of it since I could feel and understand how MUCH it was there in my hands… When everything’s electronic it’s hard to keep in mind just how real it is sometimes.
I always love finding money and have shared every amount that I’ve found on social media too :) I just love the experience. Also, I didn’t know that those larger bills existed. That’s pretty cool.
I also always look for free money and find it all year. I put it in a jar and then take it to the bank at the end of the year usually $50-$100 not bad for me
Everything’s relative, right? I’m sure that those money-stampers I kvetched about last year ( https://budgetsaresexy.com/2014/04/is-it-or-is-it-not-illegal-to-draw-on-dollars/ ) would be just as happy junking up the neat $100,000 bills you feature (a great find, btw!) as they are maiming the U.S. Treasury’s crisp new singles, fives, tens, twennies and C-notes.
. . . If only they could get their hands on them. (Happily they can’t;)
J. – this post really got me thinking (which is hard to do). The 16 cents to me is a sign that people disregard change because it isn’t a dollar bill. Think about pennies – people think pennies are completely worthless, but THEY’RE CURRENCY. We are just too lazy to collect and count them.
The next point, being happy. I agree with you so much I want to hug this post with my face. Society makes us think that in order to “have fun” or “have a date night” we have to go out and spend a ton of money – not true. My wife and I definitely like to go out, don’t get me wrong, but much of the time we’re completely happy going to our local brew shop that carries all kinds of crazy craft beers, picking up a six pack (or a few six packs) and watching something weird on Netflix.
I often think about the “art” of going out. You get dressed up, you go to a nice place, you sit down, order some good food, then pay $150 and you’re done. Nobody remembers you, you barely remember the restaurant months later, and it’s over. It’s not like you are going on vacation where you’ll have tons of pictures and memories to last a lifetime, you’re spending a ton of money at a place that you’ll be for an hour. Ugh.
Anyways, done with my rant here. Regardless – love the post, completely inspiring, thank you!
Rock on man! Never thought about the “art” of it all, but you’re totally right. Though It is nice to dress up every now and then and feel sexy :) Reminds me that I still want to dress up in tuxes one day and just walk around the town one evening pretending I just got married or something, haha… I bet you’d have some good fun doing that!
(and next time I’m in your area, wherever that may be, I’m totally coming over to snatch some of those beers off ya… gotta make sure they’re safe to drink, right? :))
I am a first time reader, but wife of dannymorebucks.com, a long time reader, and I’m happy to see he’s reading some great stuff over here! I 100% agree with the idea that simple/cheaper things really can make us just as happy and the big, elaborate and expensive stuff. And being happy is certainly the goal to this business of life. Very well put and a great reminder for me. Keep up the good work, my husband will be reading:)
I love your husband! And not just cuz he reads my blog :) Been checking out his blog now that it’s out the door and think he’s on to something good over there. We need more killer bloggers out there to better spread the word! So you give him a pat on the ass for me, if you will, and tell him J$ approves.
This reminds me of a short conversation I had with my brother-in-law. I was talking about the PPC websites that we use to make a few extra dollars. He asked, “do you pick up change on the street?” I never used to stop to pick up the pennies, but since I’m putting in effort to earn pennies online, it really didn’t make much sense. Now, I take the time to grab change off the street, because every little bit does count towards paying off our debt and, eventually, building wealth.
I wish I had learned about being “just as happy” years ago – guess I just need to be thankful that the epiphany didn’t take any longer!
Yup – exactly :) Now you just harness it and get better at being happy with each passing day!
One thing I find enjoyment in is going different places or areas and just walking around and checking out the different houses and business that are there. Or traveling some country roads and taking in the sights or maybe a beach area near the water. Pack a lunch or stop at a take-out sandwich/ pizza shop for lunch. Doesnt cost much and its fun to see other areas and how people live.
I had more fun hosting a £50 BBQ on Sunday for 6 adults, a 10 day old baby, and a 9 month old dog as I would have had we all gone to a gastro pub and paid 3 -4 times that. Also, the baby and the puppy were probably happier! We played out own music, the guests only had to walk upstairs to get home (BLOCK PARTY!), and we had enough leftovers for two al desko lunches today.
Very fun!! A lot of good chatting and quality time too vs hitting a restaurant where you’re stuck in your seats!