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The best places to find lost coins in Austin

Coins I found on the 1M bus, just left there on a seat.
Coins I found on the 1M bus, just left there on a seat.
Photo by Derrick Wescott

In my article last month, "There's Free Money on the Streets of Austin if You Just Look for It," I discussed the concept of finding money that has been carelessly rained upon the city.

Now I'd like to give you some tips on where the best places in Austin are to find this kind of money.

I have created an ultra-geeky spreadsheet of each and every penny I have found in the city since April 2010.  And using some almost-scientific analysis of this spreadsheet, I have been able to see where most of the money has been found.  Here are my findings, for your perusal!

1. Crazy bars.  People are paying for drinks in cash, and then they proceed to gyrate on the dance floor.  The only thing more fun than both those activities combined is simply sitting in a corner and looking at the floor to find all the money these patrons are letting fall to the ground.

2. Buses.  Why just yesterday I was riding the bus, and there was this huge mound of coins on one of the seats.  A lady was sitting next to the coin collection and occasionally looking at it.  But when she got to her stop, she de-boarded the bus and never looked back.  The collection was obviously not hers, and I wondered what was going through her mind as she contemplated these funds.  Maybe she thought that it would be silly to walk around with all that loose change.  Maybe she didn't think about it at all.  But who ever got rich that way?  I think she couldn't be bothered.  Enter Derrick.

3. Bus stops.  People are digging around in their pockets for that exact fare demanded by the buses.  And once they catch their bus, they never think that maybe in their haste they dropped some money behind at the bus stop.  If you see this money, you should take it before the rain washes it away into a gutter.  One interesting thing I've noticed:  Sometimes I'll be waiting for a bus for a while, and I'll be scanning the ground around me to see if there's any lost money.  After a few minutes, I realize there's no money, so I kind of walk around mindlessly while waiting for the bus.  Then, ten minutes pass.  And then fifteen.  And then suddenly I'll find a coin right there, under my nose, at that same bus stop I had already walked around for fifteen minutes.  So the moral of this story is that if sometimes you think there's no money there, that might not always be the case.  With more time stationed at a given location, you can find more money.

4. Poolside.  People go to their local pool and sunbathe at the poolside.  When they get up to leave, they leave behind cash from their pockets.  I'd rather be pale and rich than tan and broke.

5. Parking meters.  Meter maids must make mad money, because I always find loads of coins at the parking meters.  Yet another reason why driving makes you lose money and why you ought to opt for the bus instead.  People fumble about for change to pay the parking meter, and half that change just slips through their fingers and onto the ground.

So now, my fellow fiscally-savvy Austinites, go out and find that free money that has your name written all over it!


  • Jim 5 years ago

    This guy is just after change. We used to survive on bills we would find during or after high wind at HEB parking lots where everything blew into the grass and bushes.

  • Derrick Wescott (Austin Budget Examiner) 5 years ago

    What a great concept, Jim! Thanks for the advice!

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