Saturday, 14 July 2012

Look After The Pennies…

find penny

This is a controversial post, but I am interested in others’ opinions here. If you see a coin on the pavement, what do you do?

  1. ignore it – you can live without that grubby 2p
  2. how gross! you’d never touch other people’s filthy lucre!
  3. pick it up and put it in your purse
  4. pick it up then put it in the next charity box you see
  5. let your child pick it up and spend it on sweets
  6. you didn't see it, you are always looking up not down
  7. something else?

My usual course of action would be #4. I have always thought of ‘pavement money’ as unexpected blessings to be shared. When the girls were younger, I encouraged them to do that too. They have both grown up to be very generous young women.

But I am very conscious these days that far more people are picking up dropped coins. There are lots of blogs listing how much they have collected, and what they plan to do with the purseful come Christmas/ holidays/ etc.

But if I am trying to be truly frugal and really watch the pennies, should I change the habit of a lifetime and start pocketing the cash?

charity-boxThen there’s the Change question. If I pay in cash, and the item is £x and 95p or £x and 99p, my habit has been to put the 5p or 1p in the Charity box by the till. That seems a particularly appropriate action in Charity Shops – if I get a great dress for £4.99, then I think the 1p change should go in the pot.

I have honestly no idea how often I do that, or how much the hospice/ air-ambulance/ Battersea etc have benefitted down the years. It probably hasn’t added up to much – but the important thing is, I have not noticed the pennies going out, but I am sure that the charities have been blessed by the pounds coming in.

Sometimes I feel that we are developing a Lottery Mentality – folk will only give in the hope of a return. People support Children In Need by bidding to get some sort of prize. They buy Charity Raffle Tickets in the hopes of the £1000 windfall. I wonder how many of the winners will return a proportion of their prize money to the Hospice? Having been brought up to eschew all forms of financial gambling, I just don’t buy raffle tickets. It sometimes causes great confusion if I say “I will make a donation to your good cause, but I do not want a ticket”

Please do not think I am judging you if your habits and practices differ. I am just aware that there are some aspects of my thriftiness and frugality which may easily tip over into being mean and ‘tightwad’ [although I do not like that adjective one little bit]

I didn’t do a sponsored run this summer, and one reason was that I felt uncomfortable about asking the same group of friends to sponsor me again, when I know many of them already give lots away to charities and good causes. I would like to give more to friends who are fund-raising- but I honesty cannot support them all!

How do other people maintain a balance between wise spending and stewardship of their resources, and loving, open-handed generosity?


  1. I find it personally important to give all I can. I recycle everything I can to charity shops and happily tip out the loose change from my purse for supermarket exit collections. Pennies add up, what's 28p in coppers to me? But all contributions help. I cleared out carb rich food in my house and donated it to the food bank - it's important to share.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion about food banks, Froogs! There other ways to give apart from money.

    I always regard YOU as an expert in being both a generous-giver AND a penny-pincher!!

  3. 'Find a penny, pick it up, pass it on and bring Good Luck'!
    I personally don't buy into all that Lottery Mentality - selling people dreams is what it amounts to for me. One reason the charity shops price things at £x.99 is so that you'll put that extra penny in the box, which most folks would do anyway.Look after the pennies, Angela and hopefully the pounds will look after themselves!!!lol

  4. I won't pick up money from the floor, it's dirty enough as it is.
    Jane x

  5. I put bits into charity boxes, it's also a way of clearing out the heavy collection of small coins from my purse.
    I once found a 50 euro note on the pavement. I looked around for someone who might have dropped it but there was no one nearby. I couldnt feel right about spending it, so gave it to the British legion chairman.

  6. I tend to pass the money by, leaving it for the next person, who may need it more than I.

    I would rather just donate than donate with the hopes of winning a prize. I'd also rather just donate than buy a candy bar or a box of cookies, neither of which I need!


  7. I make a monthly donation to the local heart charity, and gave them another donation at Christmas in lieu of the money I saved by not buying and sending cards. I've stopped giving unwanted items to charity shops as too many of them where I live 'rag' things which could be sold - a practice I disapprove of. I'm also being priced out of almost every charity shop I go into. Recently seen are - men's shirts for £19.99,a paint covered Pyrex dish(without the lid) for £5.99 and a washed out 'bobbly' wraparound dress for £12.99. On the rare occasion that I do buy anything in a charity shop I always pop the pence change into the box. There was a 20p on the floor at the concert I went to on Wednesday evening - I didn't pick it up but the woman who was standing near me did.

  8. i dont pick up pennies from the floor either. the floor at work is so filthy that even if i drop some channge, i may just leave it there if i dont have the time or inclination to wash my hands. as far as giving money, whatever I give often comes back to me, maybe in the form of a discount or gift. Just open your eyes and be aware!

  9. Just came across your blog, I found this post really interesting having never really thought about this before.
    I don't often see money lying around on the ground, however when I do I also like to put it in a charity box. When I was at school, we'd go to the local shopping centre at break time and a dear old lady would wander round picking up all the cast off change from the 1.95 boxes of chips and hand it in to the Marie Curie shop. I always thought it was great!

  10. Mattman always sees money on the ground. And I always let him pick it up and keep it. It's a long-running family joke now. Should I be encouraging him to give it away, or leave it there, or wash his hands afterwards? Oh dear!


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