“You Want The Real Thing?”

Oh man, today’s post already cracks me up and I haven’t even written it yet! It’s all based on an email I got yesterday from a friend (the same guy that told me about that trillion dollar coin cliff when it first came out), and reminds me why I loved all those marketing classes back in the day :)

Here’s what it said:

When I parked my car this morning the first thing I saw when I got out was this $100 bill laying on the ground (see picture). Upon picking it up I discovered it was not actually a $100 bill but somebody’s business card made to look like a folded up bill. On the other side it says “you want the real thing? Visit my website at etc. etc.”. While walking to my building I saw 20 more just like it scattered all over the place. Creative idea, although I am not sure if it is legal. I was also disappointed that it was not the real thing, so I threw it away once I realized I had been tricked. One of the potential drawbacks to this marketing strategy.

Haha.. Yes, probably not good to piss off your potential clients before you even grab them ;) Though it is clever! Unlike that wannabe pimp though, a true gentleman uses REAL dollar bills when marketing his business. *Ahem*. It may not be a cool hundred in your pockets, but at least it warms your heart faster ;) Now as far as the legal part, I’d like to think it falls under that “gray area” everyone talks about… The legal tender can still be used after a few doodles, so it’s not like I’m destroying gov’t property, ya know? I prefer to not test them out though and bring it to their attention, haha…

This also reminds of a time back in high school when we were learning about accounting and how to write a check/etc (I wonder if they still teach that?), and I thought it would be a fun experiment to drop these fake blank checks around the halls to see if anyone would pick them up. And then, of course, think they were real and went on to cash it at a bank – for however much they deemed appropriate to steal ;) Looking back it was pretty mean of me considering you could get in SERIOUS trouble trying to cash in on fake money and commit fraud, but luckily no one took the bait and I quickly forgot about it the next day… At least I don’t think anyone tried?

Anyways, while my friend above got fooled for a hot second and realized he was not the proud owner of a new $100 bill, there’s been plenty of times where we’ve all at some point come across REAL money on the ground for sure! I remember three such times very clearly:

  1. When I was 7 years old and found a $20 bill. Remember how your mom would always take you clothes shopping, but of course you never wanted to be in those stores in the first place? And would run and hide under all those coat racks so she couldn’t find you? (Or was that just a guy thing? ;)) Well, one of these times we were in some run down discount store and when I was hidden beneath a bunch of coats I found a crisp $20 bill beneath my feet. I felt like a millionaire!
  2. When I was 18 and found handfuls of half dollars and other valuables. You know those theme parks that have lazy rivers and what not running through them so everyone can cool off in the Summer? And you jump on all those inner tubes and float down without any cares in the world? When all the adults were doing that, my teenage friends and I would hide under our tubes and scan the bottom of the pools searching for lost treasures like coins and jewelry ;) And we’d go around, and around, and around allllll day long inevitably either getting caught by the lifeguards (is that really illegal though?) or getting too water logged and not being able to see clearly for hours after that. Haha… it was awesome. And we’d literally find $20-$30 a piece at the end of it all, and many times half dollars for whatever reason. Once I found 7 of them all in one pile! Do you know how  hard it is to grab that and hide them in your pockets?? It was hilarious… And another time we even found a diamond ring which we promptly returned to lost and found like good little Boy Scouts… We may take people’s money, but never their jewelry! ;)
  3. When I was 25 and found a bag of cash outside my car door. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever come across, but on that one fateful day – out of alllll the open parking spots – I open my car door to go to Food Lion and a plastic bag full of wrapped dollar bills is laying there at my feet. At first I thought it had fallen out of MY car, but indeed I do not roll around with wads of cash like that, haha… After the shock wore off, I picked it up, looked all around me to see if it was a trick or if someone was gonna come hunt me down later and kill me (you never know!!), but I was the only person in sight and there were literally like 5 other cars in the entire parking lot which holds 500. It was surreal. The total amount that was in that bag? $82.00. Score!

I can’t remember what the point of me telling you all this is today, haha, but it sure was fun going down memory lane ;) Maybe it was to always keep your eyes open for piles of money laying on the ground? Or to get creative when trying to market your business?

Either way, what would be MORE interesting is hearing about your stories on finding free stuff! Would you be so kind as to share them with us today? Let’s see who’s found the most valuable thing out there! Maybe our weekend will be blessed with even more of it :)

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  1. My Financial Independence Journey February 22, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    You found a bag of cash? That is awesome! I have dreams about finding bags of cash.

    Those fake bills were incredibly common when I lived down south. They were full of come to Jesus messages and scattered liberally everywhere. A few of my friends would even get them as tips back when they were working at restaurants.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      Oh really?? Were they all like “God before money” or something like that? Kinda clever marketing for sure, but def. in your face…

  2. Savvy Scot February 22, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    haha crazy idea about having that as a business card!

    My ExGF found a bag that had £10,000 in cash in it on a bus once. She handed it in at the police station (it also had a store rewards card and nothing else) being a good citizen. Turns out that it belonged to an old lady who had withdrawn it from one bank to pay in at the other. She left a few hundred pounds as a reward and the kindest letter ever thanking her.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Awwww what a crazy good story! I love nice people!! Have you heard about that recent homeless guy/wedding ring story going around town? Returned someone’s ring that was accidentally given to him and the lady went and raised $10,000 online for him in return. Then it went viral and now it’s over $100,000!! So awesome.

      Check it: http://www.giveforward.com/billyray

  3. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle February 22, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    I have found pennies and other small change but that is about it. I am just happy to know where my own money is at all times.

    One of my sons is the kind that looses bills for others to find. Loose bills in his front pocket and things tend to fly out when he reaches for his keys. I bought him an excellent stainless steel wallet designed for the front pocket but all he keeps in there is his ID.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      HAH! Perhaps it was his wallet I found the other month thrown across the street – ids and credit cards and all. The kid left it on his roof and then drove off, haha….

      Here’s the post I wrote about it – was quite the adventure :)

  4. Lance @ Money Life and More February 22, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    I’ve seen similar dollar bill tricks but they had religious messages on the inside and tried to make you feel bad for picking up the fake dollar bills.

    I once found $20 walking from my apartment to my college class once. The thing with that is there is no way you can turn it in to a lost and found or anything so I definitely kept that one for myself :) Made me glad I skipped my first class that morning, must have been destiny!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      HAH! I only purposely skipped one class in college and my teacher caught me about to do it and warned that I shouldn’t (but I did anyways) and he then did a pop quiz just to teach me a lesson ;) too bad it was last semester of college! Haha…

      1. Lance @ Money Life and More February 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        I ended up taking 21 credit hours both semesters my senior year so I learned which classes could be skipped and which couldn’t. In fact, there was one class (T/Th) I only went to 4 times. The first class and the 3 tests.

  5. Ross February 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    I found $22 while walking to work the other day. It was just laying in the middle of the sidewalk. I viewed it as an almighty incentive to walk instead of drive!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Yes! Awesome! Walking to work is the greatest – I miss that… though, I guess I do it now I just walk down to my basement ;)

  6. SavvyFinancialLatina February 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I once found a $20 bill!!! It was awesome! It was last year too :)

  7. Jose February 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    It’s always a nice “pick me up” when I find a bit of cash here and there. I remember recently finding a $20 bill (I think it was in a Wal-Mart). Woohoo, what a treat! The bad part is my conscious always eats at me wondering if someone is starving because they lost their $20 bill.

  8. lindy February 22, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    My husband and I enjoy geocaching and early on we really struggled to find a particular cache. We never did find that one, however in the search we did find $7 in cash. That was a fun trade off (especially as we were in the middle of nowhere and had no way to turn the $$ in).

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Nice! I wonder how the heck it got there?? From other geocachers looking for the same box? You should have left another dollar with a coded message on it or something ;) Like, “Sorry you couldn’t find the box, but instead here’s a dollar! Go treat yourself to an ice-cream” haha…

  9. Eric February 22, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    I used to go through all the vending machines and washing machines/dryers in college when i would take late night walks through our underground tunnel system or was returning late from work. Always found a few odd dollars. THink one year I totalled them to almost $200.

  10. John S @ Frugal Rules February 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    I’ve seen those business cards before and I always wonder who they think they’re going to get with something like that. Being in marketing myself, it just makes me scratch my head. I did find $40 in an ATM once and when I was six I found a $5 bill in the vacant lot next to our house…I thought I had won the lottery. Lol!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Man, $40 as a kid is like $100,000!!

  11. Financial Black Sheep February 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    I found $10 once at a fair on the way back to my car. I sat on a brick retaining wall for like 20 minutes hoping the owner would just come back–never did.

    That is the most I found and kept.

    I have found and gave to the police:

    cell phones, pay checks, wallets / purses with cash, credit and you name it in it, a camera, and a messenger bag. I don’t even know if anyone got their stuff, back because I never heard anything about it, but I assume because it was the police.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Yeah, that’s very nice of you :) Someone once returned my wallet after I lost it 2 years ago in NYC with every last item in it still! I had $0 when I lost it, but still – all my ids and credit cards were there!

  12. Christopher @ This that and the MBA February 22, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Hahah that’s a good idea…We used to do things like this in high school we would have copies of a dollar bill and we would plant them down the hall a little bit and reel in the bait as people would pick it up…it was great…made for a fun lunch time..

    It is a good idea for a business card…everyone will likely remember it and talk about it…and that’s what a business card is…marketing!!!

    I found a scratched lottery ticket that won 5 dollars…so now i check all the discarded lotto tickets on the ground…never know what you are going to find.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Good idea :) Yeah, I figure it’s one of the only business cards you won’t just chuck in the trash if you don’t like me! At the very least you spend it and then it goes back into circulation for others to learn about my site, haha… or it just gets pinned up on people’s walls, which I also enjoy.

  13. Kate February 22, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I found $13 on the bathroom floor at work and turned it in. An email was sent out asking if anyone could identify what they lost, and no one ever did, so I got to keep it. I also found $20 in a parking ramp when I was the only car there. That made my morning a little better!

  14. Kelli February 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I love finding paper money! Don’t get me wrong, coins are great too, but there’s something extra special about finding bills on the ground. My biggest scores were:

    $80 at a diner (four $20 bills under an empty booth across from mine. No one else was in the place.)

    $50 bill in an empty parking lot across from my house. That was extremely cool!

    I’ve found $1s, $5s, and $10s too over the years. But never a $100 bill. YET! I would really like to find a Benjamin just sitting on the ground somewhere. That would be so cool.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Agreed. A hundy WOULD be cool!

  15. Kristen February 22, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    I have found $20 before – it was awesome! I recently found $5 at a Packer game. (That’s almost a whole beer!) One time, I found an unused gift card lying on the floor of the department store. I think it had like a $13 balance, but that was a great day, too.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      I’ll only excuse you if the Packers were playing the Redskins and that’s why you went ;)

  16. Philip February 22, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Just last weekend we went on a “Ghost Tour” down in Galveston, early in the tour she had warned about one of the houses near the end was demonic haunted and not to pick up anything near this house because it could carry the spirit or energy with you. Then just after this house we cross the street and I find a Ten dollar bill lying in the parking space there, of course I picked it up. My girlfriend didn’t want to touch it. I ended up giving it to the tour guide for a tip instead of using my own money, doubt she would have wanted it if she knew where I found it!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      ACK!!! NO way!!! I would have left it alone too, haha… freaky!!! (But awesome about the ghost tours – those are so fun!)

  17. Shovllicious February 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Few years ago, when I was a student, I had part-time job as a bartender. One evening I found wallet full of cash but without driving licence or ID or anything I could send it back to the owner. So, seriously, it was really tempting. But I found some business cards and one of them was with a date of next dentist appointment. So I called that dentist, told the story about wallet and ask the receptionist if she could check who was going to have this appointment and give me his/her number. I found that lady, she came to pick up her wallet and she left around 50$ as a “tip” ;) Does it count as finding money? ;)

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Nice!! So kind of you – seriously. Most people would have stopped there once they didn’t see an ID/etc.. and even better they rewarded you in the end! Way to go!

  18. Nick @ ayoungpro.com February 22, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I have never found much more than a quarter, though I did find my wife and that beats anything everyone else found. :)

  19. Melinda Gonzalez February 22, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I found money at the bottom of a pool once, but it was because my grandma threw it there. She would throw coins on the steps in the pool to slowly entice me into the water. For some reason I was deathly afraid of swimming pools.

    I guess she knew me well. I would do anything for a little money. The only bad part was eventually she used up all her coins, and just ended up throwing me in the pool. That part wasn’t fun.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Ahahahhahaha… Your grandma is my new favorite person :)

  20. Simple Economist February 22, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I love finding money! I always enjoy it when I put that winter coat on or shorts in the summer and find a few bucks in there.

    It could be $3 but it always makes me happy.

    I think I should start leaving money in my pockets when the season changes so I can get that nice feeling more often!

    Or maybe I’ll sneak a couple bucks into my spouses pockets in her closet and surprise her!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      YES!! That’s a great “trick” I’ve heard people do to save more money in the end… leave $20s everywhere and then have a nice surprise down the road when you have forgotten. Only problem is when you forget and give AWAY your clothes! Then someone else gets the reward ;)

  21. chubblywubbly February 22, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I have never found anything. But I have this incredibly lucky friend who steps on money all the. Seriously.

    She does not believe in keeping those funds because she thinks it is bad luck, so she would spend the money as soon as she finds it on other people. It’s great being her friend. =)

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Haha, I bet ;)

  22. Edward Antrobus February 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    My wife is the queen of finding money. She works at a grocery store and people drop money there ALL the time. You report it to a manager and wait 30 days to see if anyone claims it. After 30 days, it’s yours. Over the past 6 years, she has probably brought home a couple hundred dollars.

  23. stephanie February 22, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    I love all the stories. I once found a $20 outside the Thrift Store; that was like a double-great find. I had no one to return it to, and I discovered an incredible little thrift store find that day.

    I have always been a coin-picker-upper. I keep my coin jar and turn the coins in at a friend’s bank (they don’t charge a % to count the coins). She makes a deposit & then gives me the cash. We turned in $78 last week when I went to Reno. Fun! and makes for a nice little deposit to my savings account.

    I always feel like the Karma Goddess has blessed me, even when I find a penny. It’s just a nice little kick to my day, and who can’t use a free smile?

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Exactly :) You should track how much you’ve found over the years and continue doing so. There used to be a blog about that but it since stopped… I loved checking in every few months to see the new numbers and all the places he had found them. He had a favorite airport (he traveled a lot) because it always had better odds of finding coins on the ground than others :) It’s cool finding these little things in life!

  24. Michelle February 23, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    I found 5 crumpled up $20 dollar bills while riding my bike past a bar. I had just voted in 2008. I got off my bike and realized what they were-$100 dollars!! I scooped up that money really fast and started laughing hysterically. What a great day! I found $5 dollars 2 weeks ago and last weekend the ATM gave me $40 extra. I returned that money!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Wow you are lucky!! Good for you!

  25. Sarah Park February 23, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    Your friend did get pranked with that $100 card. I always find it amusing to find a few cents or some bills on the pockets of my clothes while doing the laundry.

  26. Skrpune February 23, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    A year or so ago, I found $9 when walking the dog – as I normally do, I was looking down periodically as I walked (as you HAVE to do in my neighborhood since not everyone picks up their pup’s doggie-bombs), and VOILA there it was, all crumpled up. Looked like someone had dropped it when getting into/out of their car. I remember finding another couple dollars on the sidewalk not too long after that, too. I also found a $20 in a gas station parking lot a few months back – parked to pop inside to grab something from the convenience store, and as I came around the back of the car, it was there right behind my car. SWEET!

    Last year, I found a wallet when walking the dog – no money, just an ID and some store discount cards & family pictures. Looked like the wallet had been lifted & anything of value was taken before it got tossed aside. Oh, and the ID was a Department of Corrections card, identifying him as a released criminal. I happened to see a cop drive by in the neighborhood the next day, and so I flagged him down and asked him what I should do…he said to throw it away & that the guy could get a new ID from his parole officer!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Really?? That seems odd from a cop… Maybe he was just being lazy and didn’t want to file any paperwork, haha…

  27. Jackie February 23, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Yeah, probably the fake hundred that makes people feel bad isn’t the best marketing strategy ever.

    I find money quite often — and I get excited even if it’s a nickel ;) But I have found real hundreds laying on the ground multiple times. Once my husband and just kept finding them on the street when we were walking. We did find the person those belonged to though…

    1. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Was he/she a drug dealer? ;)

  28. Pam February 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    One time when my husband and I were going out to a Vietnamese Pho restaurant for dinner, I happened to look down on the sidewalk where I was standing and found a $20 bill. The funny thing about it was that it was directly across the street from the restaurant and the restaurant bill came to exactly $20. So, we had free Pho that night!

  29. Bobbi February 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    My brother really did find two hundred dollar bills by the dumpster at his college apartment. Crazy! But he is that kind of guy where he has tons of crazy stories like that. I once found a ten dollar bill in a pair of jeans at a thrift store , that is the extent of my luck.

    1. J. Money February 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Haha… How the heck does $200 show up randomly near a dumpster??? Was he dumpster diving?? :)

  30. Renee S February 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    It is pretty coincidental that this post was written this weekend….

    On Saturday, I was at Target and I was walking out of the store and found about $150.00 in gift cards to a big box electronic store…I couldn’t believe that people were just walking over these gift cards! I scooped ’em up and got a brand new Tablet :)

    I find money all of the time…I’ve found many $20 bills–once on top of a book at a college book store, a lot in parking lots. My friends and I were leaving a waterpark and in the parking lot and they BOTH walked over a $10 bill. I bent down and picked it up and laughed at them, haha.

    Anyway….my find this weekend is BY FAR the most I’ve ever found

  31. J. Money February 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    WOW!! Good timing indeed – so crazy! $150 is no joke!!

  32. Bmoney February 27, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    I was at the casino one night, many years ago, with my then girlfriend and her family. Me and my girl were walking around the casino watching everyone play. We walk around the table games and then head over to the slot machines. Shortly After walking around the machines, i spot a folded up $10 dollar bill hiding in the corner. Trying not to look down and make it too obvious to everyone around me, I made a beeline to the corner. I step on the bill, quickly pick it up & stash it in my pocket. I then find a safe spot to unwrap it. While unwrapping it i discover this $10 bill had two $20’s inside. I didn’t gamble…but i was a winner that night!

  33. J. Money February 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Awesome!! I was hoping you were gonna say you then bet it all on black and doubled up, haha… by finding two 20’s in there is even better!

  34. Cat March 3, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    I think that’s a great strategy…. I guess I would be angry that I was tricked but it certainly gets the word out effectively.

    A few months ago I found a 20 dollar bill in a parking lot and no one was around to claim it…


  35. Mario March 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    You know what would be a fun surprise? If you open up that fake $100 bill of a business card, but inside there were *two* $100 bills.

  36. J. Money March 8, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Haha yes… that WOULD be a better surprise! :)