Broken up by year...and one segment for change found on a particular trip. I love a dedicated penny finder! Thanks, April!

Oh how I love when friends send me pictures of their finds!!  Last week, my friend Illeny posted not one but TWO pictures on The Penny Project Facebook Page.  And then today,  I woke up to another picture from my friend April!

We met last week for drinks & to catch up and as soon as she walked in the door she said, “Damn!!  I forgot the pennies!”

BUT…here they are in a picture…which warms my heart just as much!  And the note that came with the picture spelled out just when & where the change came from!

  • 2010– 2 dollar bills. 4 quarters. 5 dimes. 3 nickels. 19 pennies.
  • 2009– 16 pennies. 1 nickel. From la trip over thanksgiving. 1 dime. 1 nickel 1 penny.



Ah…more fun pics & notes from my friends! 

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there's not joy to be had. Look! A penny!!

It was a soggy DC day on Monday but April didn’t let that stop her from finding a bit of joy in the form of a penny.  What’s more…she SPREAD that joy by texting me a picture of said soggy penny!

Neither rain, nor sleet nor dark of night (it works for the postal carriers!) will keep a good penny finder from enjoying the moment of happiness that comes with finding a penny!

Below is a note I got from my friend Carolyn…and you know how I love hearing other people’s penny tales!   What makes it even better is she sent a picture of the penny AND the one she found in the driveway the next day.  Double the fun!

From Carolyn:

It might be a penny...or maybe not. But I should check...'cause it might be a penny!

Here’s my not nearly as impressive penny tale — I now find myself unable to overlook a penny (despite trying) ……..I was in the parking garage of Stop & Shop — 3rd floor, carrying a computer bag, coffee mug, heeled boots, coat, scarf — and rushing.  As I was getting in my car I looked over and thought it might be a penny……loaded my bag, mug into the car and closed the door — wait — it might be a penny — I opened up the door — leaned out a bit — kind of a circle, pretty dirty, no — close door — no, open door, it might be a penny….get out and walk towards front of car — guy getting in car sees me & thinks car trouble — as I appeared flustered and unsure (door open/close/open) — says “hey do you need a jump?” — I replied “No I need this penny” — snatching up a ratty old dirty penny and jumping back in the car — ok Leslie — I got you a penny!  Next time, I’m going to pretend the car doesn’t start and get the jump – I’m just sayin’ 

Are you ready to increase the return on actions in your life? Do something outside your "norm" without worrying what others will think. It might be a "penny in the grate" moment & bring you more than you could have imagined!

On the walk between the metro & my office today, I passed a grate I have passed many times.  I knew there was change down there but before today had not been inspired to dig it out.  But with spring in the air and my mood being good…I decided to throw caution to the wind (and kick pride to the curb) and settle in to see what I could dig up. 

Now, I should mention I have done this before…at the very same grate, in fact!  But that was deep in the dead of winter and I was dressed in sweats on my way back from the gym, so some passers-by probably mistook me for a homeless person.

But today, I was in a suit, headed back from a ceremony at The Pentagon.  Maybe my attire and knowing I was just hobnobbing with a bunch of military big-wigs gave me the extra push I needed to dig into this grate without fear of being mistaken for being  homeless.  Or…mabye I’ve just gotten used to doing what I want when it comes to pennies and not worrying about what others think!

The more I thought about it…the more I realized I was actually excited to dig up this change.  I settled in, fully SITTING on the grate so I would be comfortable during my excavation!

Unlike the previous time when people shook their heads and walked by…a guy actually stopped to see if I had dropped something and needed help.  Well…no, that wasn’t exactly what was going on.  I told him I was working on a project and was actually ok.  He seemed satisfied with that (and I was satisfied not to explain myself more than necessary so I could carry on with my task).

I pulled out the chopsticks I’d grabbed from a Japanese takeout place in a nearby food court and went to town digging money out of this grate.  I started with the dimes first.  Small & profitable…gotta love that!  Then I moved onto the pennies.  When I thought I was done I got up and walked the length of the grate to see if I’d missed anything.  Sure enough, I found TWO QUARTERS.  Wahoo!!  After digging those out I had a grand total of $1.04.  I was so excited I immediately posted a picture on my Facebook page with the following message:

“Walking down the street today I passed by a grate with tons of change below. Unable to resist the temptation, I stopped at a food court, got a pair of chopsticks, and dug out $1.04. Never mind the fact I was cross-legged on the sidewalk in a suit…I was going to get that change! Sure I looked silly…but I also got… a 104% higher return than I get from picking up a penny on the ground. Seems worth a little silliness to me!”

I was quite pleased with myself and loved the idea that my return was so high for being willing to look a little silly.  Don’t we all pass up opportunities sometimes for fear of looking silly (substitute the thought that holds you back here–I don’t want to be wrong, hurt, foolish, misled–you get the idea)?  Well, I for one don’t want to do that anymore…and this was a small step in the right direction!

This thought only improved when a friend who is clearly a better mathematician than me replied to my Facebook post with:

“Technically, that’s a 10,400% return on a 1 cent investment…”

Are you kidding me?!  Setting aside my fear of looking silly increased my return by over 10,000%?!  How is that even possible?!  And why have I not tapped into this sooner?!

Lessons like this are EXACTLY what I love about picking up pennies.  So simple, yet so powerful. 

So what will you do with this simple lesson?  Better yet…where can you set aside your fear of looking silly (or whatever acts as YOUR  limiting fear) to increase the return in your life by %10,000? 

Pennies & Judgement

Some of the things we do don't serve us...and we might be better off burying them & learning new behaviors!

The other day I was on the metro at about 10am (this is after the work rush…about the time the stragglers & riff-raff–myself included–drag themselves out of bed to see what kind of trouble they can get in that day).  During my commute, I was approached by a woman who was a bit scary looking.

Scary is a strong word here…she was actually just very different from me. Long dreadlocks, backwards hat, & loose-fitting hip-hoppy kind of clothes. And in reality, she wasn’t actually approaching me…she was just leaning over me to read the metro map on the wall of the train.

Even so, I half-instinctively zipped up my purse (which had my wallet & ipod right on top) as I didn’t want to be stupid about leaving those things just hanging out in plain view. I’ve been with friends who were pick-pocketed and it is no fun…so I thought I was just protecting my stuff to avoid a similar situation.

As the woman backed away and sat down, I realized I had made a snap judgement that was totally unfair to her. I didn’t know anything about her and assuming she was “scary” or might take something from my purse just because she didn’t look like me was not a fact I was not particularly proud of.

I thought back to an exercise I’d done as part of a leadership retreat called “Bury the Weapon.”  The exercise was based on the Native American tradition of Tribal Chiefs burying their weapons when they came together for peace talks.  In our version of the exercise, we had to list behaviors  we used as weapons and talk about how burying them might make us more successful. 

I thought back  and remembered that judging others was one of the weapons I buried. Although I had apparently felt it necessary to dig it up for this metro ride.

A bit disgusted with myself, I stood up to exit the train at my stop and realized this woman was right behind me. We both walked up the escalator and headed in the same direction. This continued until I stopped to pick up a penny I spotted under one of the planters on the sidewalk (there is literally nowhere I won’t look or go for a stray penny). Right as I leaned over to pick up the penny I heard a voice behind me, “You go girl! If I would have seen it I would have picked it up first!”

It was the woman from the train!

She went on to tell me how much she loved pennies and that she always went out of her way to pick them up. She was also headed to the courthouse (I had jury duty, she had to pay a parking ticket) and we ended up walking and talking about our best penny finds all the way to the front door.

She was actually quite lovely and not at all what I might have imagined if I had stuck with my snap/WRONG judgement. We even got a good laugh inside when I found 11 cents in the security screening area and she said, “Damn, you are good!”

The whole interaction was a reminder that we have a choice in how we view those we encounter…even if it’s just for a short time. Are they obstacles in getting to our final destination more quickly or do we see them as more than that. Gifts. Teachers. Fellow human beings just trying to get to their destinations too! 

When all was said and done, this woman walked away laughing and hopefully had a better day after our interaction. I know I did…and I was nicely reminded why it was I buried the weapon of judgement in the first place!

And all because we bonded over pennies.  Now tell me THAT wasn’t worth more than a cent!

Sometimes I find a penny (for my thougths, perhaps?). Other times, I just find the thoughts!

It’s not only pennies I find when I’m walking down the street, constantly scanning the pavement for a payout.

No, sometimes I find other things that are equally (if not more) amusing than mere pennies & dimes.

I’ve found watches, eyeglasses, jewelry…you name it!  The other day, for example, I was walking home and I found an apple green iPod Nano in the middle of the sidewalk.  Say, what?! 

Yep, an iPod.  Talk about life being better than I could imagine it (which is something my coach is always pushing me to see…life can be bigger and better than I could ever imagine.  Now I know what he means!).  Looking for a penny and finding an iPod adds MAJOR excitement to your day!  I practically danced all the way home (and had the tunes to accompany such moves!).

But today while I was running errands at lunch, I found something that was less exciting and more thought provoking.  It came to me in two parts. 

First, I found a gift wrapped nut & bolt.  Odd, but true.  It was in a little baggie with a pink ribbon wrapped around it.  For some reason, I just couldn’t pass it up.  It was sort of hysterical!
Next, I found a discarded fortune (probably from someone’s lunch at The Panda Express).  I picked it up.  After all, it was sitting right in front of me.  Maybe the literbug who dropped it did so because the universe wanted ME to see this fortune!
The fortune said:
 “The project you have in mind will soon gain momentum.”
Hmmm.  What could that mean?
Nuts, blots & momentum on a project I’ve been thinking about.  I have a pretty active imagination, so I thought this could refer to a number of things!
But I decided to make it mean the following (and feel free to correct me, Universe, if I am wrong): I will soon have the nuts & bolts of the publishing industry figured out and my penny book will be on its way to a lovely hardcover edition by late summer.
I like it!  In fact, the whole thought put a little extra spring in my step for the rest of the day!
For those of you who are constantly searching but can’t seem to find pennies no matter how hard you look…just keep looking!  Perhaps you’ll eventually find the pennies you seek.  Or better yet…you might discover a sign from the universe.  If you’re really lucky the universe might even send you some dancing music in an apple green iPod nano!


All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind.

As we enter into President’s Day Weekend, I like to think about the reason we get to have Monday off (which I will be using to search for pennies!).

On February 12, 1809 the 16th President of the United States was born.  Abraham Lincoln.

I love Lincoln as much as I love the pennies he’s on.  It’s not everyday that such a man is born!

So if you get a chance today, grab a penny and take a look at Mr. Lincoln.  Let his life inspire you to ask, “What changes can I make to ensure the world is a better place TODAY?!”

Yes, TODAY!!  Don’t wait for tomorrow or until you get some flash of genius.  Find at least one small way you can make the world a better place RIGHT NOW!  Need an idea?  Here’s my list of favorite ways to put a smile on someone’s face (because face it…that IS how we make the world a better place!):


  • Call an old friend to catch up
  • Pay the toll of the person behind you
  • Use reusable bags when you go to the store
  • Make a $5 donation to your favorite charity (Abe’s on the $5…so it’s a tribute to him too!)
  • Shovel your neighbor’s walkway
  • Hug someone you love and tell that person what makes you proud of him/her
  • Return a phone call or e-mail message you know is long over due
  • Create your own way to make the world a better place!

What’s your 2¢?  How are you going to honor Abe AND make the world a better place today?