Find $100, pick it up?

Yeah, I pick up pennies. I’ve always loved the lure of a little lucky copper facing up at me. Place that penny in my pocket and the bounce in my step is a little more springy, my stride a little more steppy. Guess I like to believe in lady luck, even if the denomination is tiny, or now obsolete in Canada.

unclaimed money

That said, finding a fiver, a toonie, or even a loonie on the ground is waaaay better. I don’t tend to get a case of the ‘The Morality Sweats’ when finding this lost loot — it’s small change after all, and anyone who spies a buck or two on an abandoned sidewalk is likely to feel morally happy with the find.

Free money, yay! What’s not to love about that?

But things can get a little morally murky when the found cash sums up to something meaningful. That’s the conundrum Carl faced when he rang me on my iPhone the other day. Our conversation went something like this…

Carl: I have a huge problem.
Me: Are we about to have phone $ex? Where are you?

Carl: In the Future Shop parking lot.
Me: Oh, gadget $ex. Easy, don’t go into Future Shop and you won’t bring anything battery powered home.

Carl: Nooo!
Me: Yesss!

Carl: Nooo! I found a hundred dollar bill in the parking lot. It’s one of those new plastic bills. It’s shiny.
Me: Oh, those are slippery suckers. They don’t fold well, and they tend to bounce when dropped. Hate the plastic twenty dollar bills passionately.

Carl: What should I do?
Me: Easy, don’t go into Future Shop.

Carl: No seriously, Squawks. There’s no one in the parking lot.
Me: That’s ’cause they’ve all pocketed the other lost bills and they’re hitting Future Shop, hard.

Carl: I’m sweating. I feel bad for the person who lost this money. Maybe they’re a senior?
Me: OK, I’ll ask the Internet. The Internet will know what to do with one hundred plastic bucks.

click

So WolframAlpha, a super nerdy yet cool “computational knowledge engine”, says it takes 10,000 pennies to make one hundred dollars. Since 10,000 pennies weighs 23kg, or about 10.5 pounds, it’s way easier to pocket the plastic “C Note” than it is to bring home a bag of deprecated pennies. Pennies are boring. Plastic bills are fun to fold and beautiful to bounce.

But since Carl was sweating it out in the Future Shop parking lot, I quickly came up with a few ways to deal with found money based on my limited experience of finding money. Hint: Buying cool gadgets isn’t one of them.

50 Ways to Save $1,000 a Year

Saving, Shopping

50 Ways to Save $1,000 a Year

Looking for ways to save money this year? Good. Here are fifty (mostly) painless ways to stash some extra cash.

Read More »

Money found with identification.

This is a big case of duh, right? I once found a fat wallet while riding an OC Transpo bus around Carleton University in Ottawa. The owner’s driver’s license quickly identified the guy, and a quick lookup in the local phone book — yes, we still used phone books back then — found me the guy. He was very happy with my honesty, and I nearly landed a date with a very much older man. But rather than secure myself a sugar daddy, I instead scored twenty bucks for my trouble. If you have identification, yes return the cash. Seriously. I’ll leave the sugar daddy decision up to you. ;)

Money found in a place, no identification.

There are a lot of places on planet Earth. Businesses comprise a few places, and so do private homes. If you find cash in a private home, it’s safe to assume the homeowner owns the cash. But a business? This happened once to me in Erin Mills Town Centre — a mall in Mississauga. I found a fifty dollar bill in front of The Gap, and felt elated, yet terrible with the knowledge that someone had lost this money. So I went into The Gap, gave the manager my home number and said if someone comes in looking for “a certain denomination” then they should call me. I also left my number with the mall’s customer service desk. I felt uneasy leaving the money with these people, simply because I trusted my honesty more than some stranger. No one ever called, so I kept the unclaimed money. Go me.

Money found, zero identification, no one in sight.

Smaller denominations are a no brainer finders keepers situation for me since it’s common to find a few bucks on a sidewalk. If I found a big stash of cash, on the other hand, I’d call the police. Now defining “smaller denominations” from “a big stash of cash” is the tricky bit — so here’s where I’d like to hear from you guys.

Help! If you found $100 would you keep it? What if you found more, say $500 or $1,000? Creative answers and honesty get bonus points from me, always. :)

Love,
Kerry

Your two cents:

  1. terrie April 19th, 2013

    Hmmm, you’re making us do the thinking this time, Kerry. :)Thanks for sharing despite being a busy mom. Your post reminds me of the movie, “A Simple Plan” where greed clouds judgement and undermines relationships. A cascade of bad events occur after the protagonist finds a big ole bag o’ cash.

    That said, I’m not above keeping single banknotes that I find. Congrats to Carl on being $100 richer! I also pick up pennies. It all adds up, and sniffing at pennies lying on the ground reflects a lack of respect for money.

  2. Rob April 19th, 2013

    $100 is still small change these days. Put it into your kid’s college fund and forget about it. That’s the problem with cash (and why I never carry much) – it’s in no way unique or identifiable. Anyone can claim that it’s theirs.

    I suspect if I found larger amounts I’d consider tossing it into the safety deposit box and reporting the serial numbers to the police, after chatting with a lawyer to find out what the law requires.

    If it’s the debris from a bank robbery or the like then the bank would like it back. But don’t give it to the police. They’ll just steal it.

  3. Linds April 19th, 2013

    There is always the option to donate it to a local cause like the Food Bank. Then you don’t have to feel bad about keeping the money.

  4. Deitra April 19th, 2013

    I was exciting the bank doors when I looked down and found a $100 bill. I picked up and turned around to go back inside the bank to let them know. As I turned around I could hear a man coming up behind me cussing up a storm that the bank cheated him out of $100. Needless to say, I found the owner…lol

  5. Katy April 19th, 2013

    Does anyone know if the rumour that if you turn the cash into the police, and if it’s not claimed within 6 months, you get the cash back? I suspect that’s the route I’d go…..but who knows until it happens to you. That, or the suggestion of giving it to a charity.

  6. john e April 19th, 2013

    Keep it. It will balance out all the money you’ve lost with out knowing it.

  7. I had the very same dilemma In high school. My friend and I found a C note on the street. There was no one around, so we squealed, picked it up and went to the nearest Consumers Distributing (remember those?) and blew it on crazy stuff.

    Now, we all know high school girls make the most moral decisions, so clearly Carl should pick it up.

  8. Moosey April 19th, 2013

    I’d invest the 100 bucks in my TD e series if I could ever get into Webbroker without an issue. Seriously Kerry, would you consider an e-series tutorial to make the whole process a lot less painful for beginner investors. I know you invest in e-series with TD. I downloaded your rebalance spreadsheet. If only the TD website were as simple. So very frustrating!

  9. Shauna April 20th, 2013

    Just last September a group of 12 year olds I was walking with found a large sum – $500 on the sidewalk. We called the police and were told to hang on to it for a few weeks. No one called them about it so it was the kids. They chose a charity and off it went!

  10. Michael James April 21st, 2013

    23 kg is about 50 pounds. Even at minimum wage $100 is only just a little over a day’s pay.

  11. Debby Moreau April 21st, 2013

    Arghh, the thought of it just makes me all squeamish. Keep it? Don’t keep it? What would Mother Theresa do? I think I’d have to choose a charitable act if I kept it.

  12. Rob April 21st, 2013

    I’m fascinated at the moral trauma this seems to be causing.
    There’s absolutely *no* difference between finding a penny (or quarter, or dollar) and finding $100 (or $500, etc.).

    If you’d keep one, then keep the other. This discussion reminds me of this joke:

    ==============

    I tell them the old joke about the man who asks a girl if she will sleep with him for a million dollars. She says yes. He then offers her two dollars and she slaps his face, saying, ‘What do you think I am?’ He answers, ‘I know what you are. We are just haggling over the price.’

  13. Iva @ This Side of Perfect April 21st, 2013

    I would absolutely attempt to return it. Here’s why: we have been that family that lost a largish sum of money and it was devestating! My husband had just gotten paid and cashed his paycheck. His whole wallet was stolen. Rent and food money was in that wallet. Now, that’s money with identification, and you’ve clearly covered that. However, from a personal stand point, when you’re barely rubbing two nickels together, any sum of money lost could be detrimental to you. And if it is, you’re going to go looking for it. The first place I would look for it was the manager of a store. However, you bring up an excellent point about trusting your own honesty as opposed to a manager’s. That said, when we were selling Girl Scout cookies a couple of months ago, one of the girls did find a $100 bill and we turned it into the manager. I don’t think we gave him any identifying information, so I have no idea if the money was rightfully returned to the owner or pocketed by the manager (I’m hoping for the former).

    Long story short: return it. Or, at least attempt to return it. Finders keepers is such a crappy rule. Everyone loses something at some time or another. But that definitely doesn’t mean that it’s automatically yours.

  14. I would hold onto it and see if anyone reports it missing.

    It’s different these days, but my local paper used to have a lost and found. When I was in HS, I found it fun to look through the ads and see if I ever found a “match”. My mom worked at a bank. One day we were eating dinner and she mentioned that someone lost an envelope of money from the bank but there was no name on it.

    I said “yeah, $92″. She looked at me like I was crazy. “How did you know that? I didn’t tell you that! It’s illegal for me to tell you that!” “Mom, it’s in the lost and found ads. Some guy lost it.”

    I ended up with $2 for my troubles (hey, it was the 80′s). But I’m not sure what the new way would be. Craigslist? Telling the store where he was that he found it?

  15. Carla April 21st, 2013

    I couldn’t disagree more than $100.00 is no different than finding a shiny copper penny.. come on, what world do you live in?? Sure $100.00 for some people is “small change” but for others, it could be a weeks worth of grocery money to feed & clothe your children. I’m sorry, but to think otherwise is mere ignorance.

    I would absolutely try to find the owner of the money, if nobody comes looking for it, then fine. But what if they did and you decided that “finders keepers, losers weepers”, “sucks to be them” was your attitude. Yet someone gets their hydro got cut off, or that baby didn’t get the formula or diapers it needed, the parents couldn’t get to work that week, that medicine doesn’t get bought that was so desperately needed, etc… I think the right thing to do is at least *try*.

  16. DebbieT April 21st, 2013

    A few years ago our then 13 year old son found four $20 bills on the road while out trick-or-treating with friends. My honest son showed it to me when he returned home. So we turned it into the local police station the next day. We were told somebody would have to come in quoting the approximate time and location as well as denomination/amount of their loss to make claim. The officer doubted anybody would come forward within the allotted 3 month holding period; after that time, we’d be contacted and our son could keep the money. Would you believe that after 2 months time we got a phone call from an officer letting us know that it had finally been claimed? The claimer didn’t even pass on a thank you and not any kind of reward for our son’s honesty. Though I feel good about teaching our son honesty (we mentioned it might have been some poor person’s grocery money), it left a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth!

  17. VJ April 21st, 2013

    I was given an extra $60.00 in change at a Shopper’s Drug Mart once. I realized this when I got home. All I could think was that it was some old person’s change, that they had mistakenly mixed in with mine. I felt horrible, so I returned it to the Shopper’s Pharmacy. They phoned me later and said the cash register was out by that much money that night, so it was their mistake. However, they sent me a $50.00 gift card as a reward for my honesty. I was elated to receive the gift card and felt so much better for having returned the money in the first place.

  18. Sandy ferguson April 21st, 2013

    I feel sick after reading the others comments. I once lost $20 and cried for a week because it was money for a bill and I ended up getting dinged for $35 for not making the full payment amount. My point is you have NO idea of the circumstances of the person who lost this money. Do everything in your power to return the money to the owner. Do not think about it, just do the right thing. If no one comes for it then its yours, guilt free and God approved.

  19. Jennifer April 21st, 2013

    I would do the same as you did at the Gap. And if no owner appears, donate the money to a charity that is close to your heart. I am a huge believer in ‘paying it forward’.

  20. Drew April 21st, 2013
  21. Erin April 21st, 2013

    $100 may not be a lot to some but, for some families, on some weeks, that could break you. That’s close to my weekly grocery budget on some weeks (2 adults, 2 kids). I like the idea of holding onto it and letting the police, and maybe futureshop know.

  22. Rob April 21st, 2013

    Fascinating. Given the comments, apparently I don’t live in this world. Or perhaps I live in a world where logic overrides emotion.

    Context is important for the find. If, as Carl did, I found cash in an empty parking lot there *is* no “try and find the owner”. Cash is not something where you can identify the last person who owned it. That’s true whether you once lost 20 dollars of your own, whether your food budget is $100/week or whatever.

    Now, if a store gives you too much change OF COURSE you return it. You see someone drop something (money or anything else) then OF COURSE you catch their attention and make sure they get it back.

    But an empty parking lot? Or a sidewalk. If you don’t see someone come running in two or three minutes, it’s found money.

    As for the guy above who taught his kids to give money to the police in case someone claimed it – All he did was give $80 to the local cop in exchange for a phone call saying someone claimed “their” money. He didn’t teach his kid to be honest – he taught him to be naive.

    All of the “I once lost money” stories are precisely *why* I never use cash for anything where I can use a credit card. Not only is there no risk using plastic, but there are the ever present airline points to accumulate.

  23. Carla April 21st, 2013

    Rob, no, you obviously cannot identify lost cash, however, if it was lost in a certain store/parking lot you could go to customer service and do as was suggested above… tell them you found cash, leave a phone number and if anyone comes looking for it to call your number and have them call to claim it. Simple, but most of all HONEST.

    Teaching your kids to give something found to the police is not naive either, it’s HONEST.

    Wow.

  24. Rob April 21st, 2013

    Carla:

    The fact that cash is not identifiable means that the customer service clerk you give your information to will wait a day and have a friend or family member call you. It might make you feel good, but it’s not going to get the money back to the person who dropped it.

    Ditto giving it to the police. It might make you feel good, but you’ve done nothing to get the money back to the person who lost it.

    I’m not saying that any of the above is nice. But it is the way it is.

    To believe otherwise *is* naive.

  25. Carla April 21st, 2013

    Rob, if you don’t want a “friend or family member” of the employee to call and *claim* the lost cash, you simply wouldn’t tell them the amount. And I know the chances are slim that it would be claimed anyways, but it *could* be, and could make a BIG difference in the persons life who lost it. However, the way I see it is at least it’s doing “something” rather than “nothing”. :)

  26. Rob April 21st, 2013

    Carla:

    OK. That’s a valid technique and one that I’ll recall for the day that something like this happens.

    Ditto with the cops. Tell them you have found money and if someone can identify the exact amount they should call you.

    That way my distrust of people and cops is satisfied *and* the slight chance that the actual owner will come looking is also covered.

    :)

    The link above to the guy who found $1M in a trash can does also raise the question of the amount found and also personal safety. Finding $100 is one thing – normal people can drop bills. But finding $1M in a bag in a trash can? The chance that that is anything but drug money is slim. By making it all public, all that is going to happen is that the guy who found it is going to get a visit from ugly people with weapons one night and will be given the choice of giving them the money or losing a kid.

    In fact, even if it’s not the people whose money it is, he’s set himself up for attack by advertising that he found $1M dollars…

  27. Rob April 21st, 2013

    Carla:

    Another thing you can do if (like me) you like to experiment with people is to tell them how much money you found. But not the actual amount – some bogus and unlikely amount.

    Then you get the pleasure of telling them that they’re lying when they give you the exact (but bogus) amount.

  28. Diana April 21st, 2013

    $100 is a lot of money – a week of groceries or two tanks for gas! If I lost that, I’d be in tears! If it was in a parking lot, I’d go to customer service leave my name and number and have do the “if someone lost money and they can give me the denomination…” bit. Now, if I was out walking and came across $100 on the bike path, if no one else was around, I’d pocket it.

  29. Michael April 21st, 2013

    You should try to return found money buy leaving info of where & when found & a number where they can reach you to identify the amount! Yes hold on to it ..unfortunatly not all can be trusted..! So if no one claims it in a reasonable time,its your choice on keeping it or donating it,depending on your needs or the needs of others!

    Oh by the way Kerry was it deliberate pointing out the penis shape on the C-note with the arrow! lol…also- Your conversation with Carl about phone sex & gadget sex! I like how very open we are becoming talking about sex,now days in normal conversation ! Its an enjoyable fact of life,and should be talked about openly,instead of the dirty,hidden thing of past thinking! “Just saying” have a great day !

  30. Susan April 21st, 2013

    Kerry,
    Keep it or not, but please let Carl leave that parking lot.
    Susan

  31. shipcarpenter305 April 21st, 2013

    When I was a teenager, I used the drive-thru to withdrew some money from the bank then went home to my parent’s house. Yup, I didn’t count the money. An hour later, 4 cops are rudely BANGING on the front door wanting to arrest me for theft. Huh?! Apparently, the teller put $27 (?!!) too much in my envelope. Yelling, screaming, I’m babbling like an idiot, but my mother saves my bacon by pointing out the cash envelope was still sealed then opened by the cop so I could have no idea of the over-payment so therefore no theft. No apologies, nothing. Treated me and my mom like criminals. I’m still disgusted by the memory.

  32. Terri April 21st, 2013

    Wonderful thought provoking issue. WONDERFUL comments (so sorry for Rob. Sorry Rob, you clearly have been tainted, taken, and seriously taught about “naivety”. Sorry to you about that! and THAT is a whole other conversation).

    Seriously, a found 1-cent or 1-dollar is NOT the same as $100.

    Opinion: As Carla stated: “at least *try*” to return it. It doesn’t take much to go to the local store(s) where you found it and leave your name/number to be contacted if someone investigates the possibility of an “honest” person trying to return it. YEARS later you will think of the situation… and maybe YOU are the one that lost some cash… karma: “What goes around, comes around!” In any event, if you think back on the circumstances, at least you can feel GOOD about your decision (*try* to return it).

    Your own conscience should then guide you as to what to do if the *owner* is not found. (either donate to charity or a needy family or friend that you personally know; or maybe it is just really *your good luck* and you just happen to REALLY need the extra cash to buy you own food/gas (not to be blown on junk).

    just to repeat: What goes around, comes around!

  33. Rob April 21st, 2013

    @shipcarpenter305:

    F’ing cops. You should have sued the bank.

  34. Kerry April 21st, 2013

    @Susan I think Susan is winning this debate. Hilarious.

  35. Rob April 21st, 2013

    @Terri:

    I don’t feel I’m tainted. Just realistic. People and cops are not to be trusted.

    Carla’s technique is fine, as I acknowledged.

  36. Carla April 21st, 2013

    Rob… I honestly believe that *most* people and police officers CAN absolutely be trusted. I hope you meet some trustworthy people in your life that will show you kindness & love, so you too can see some of the amazing goodness in this world!! :)

  37. Rob April 21st, 2013

    Carla:

    I know lots of trustworthy people. Even kind and loving people. but I long ago realized that people need to earn trust, and many are incapable of it. Most cops become cops because of the power it gives them over people. I’d definitely never trust a cop that I didn’t personally know. And even then I’d be reluctant to tempt them.

    As for the goodness of the world – I’m the guy that annoys my friends with “Life is good!” postings on FB most days. I just temper that with life experience….

    Never forget that half the population is below average intelligence. And the average isn’t very high.

  38. David holoboff April 21st, 2013

    My cousin and I found a $100 bill on the steps leading downstairs in a home that had an estate sale. Asked everyone in sight if it was theirs, and everyone said no. And thus we kept it.

  39. Nancy A April 21st, 2013

    I had a similar experience, except I was cycling past a restaurant in a strip mall and found $300 lying on the tarmack. You could tell that it was probably stuffed in a back pocket as it was folded flat. This was a restaurant frequented by senior citizens and blue collar workers at the noon hour and I felt sick knowing that some poor soul was out a lot of money. No one was around to yell at and say “Hey! Did you lose something?” So, I did what you did – I went into the restaurant reported my find and left my name and phone number in case some one came looking for it. I never heard anything either. I did pay tithing on it to my church, considering it a gift from God and have kept it ever since as hidden stash for extreme emergencies.

  40. Terri April 21st, 2013

    @Nancy. You GO girl!
    @Carla. You (too) GO girl! Yes, world IS mostly HONEST PEOPLE!

    The few (rotten apples) spoil it for the others.

    Just because there are other in the world tempted to do less than honest, does NOT justify oneself doing less than honest. IMHO.

  41. Carla April 21st, 2013

    Terri… I agree! :) We should all (try) live up to the highest standards possible… trying to justify our poor actions by what others are doing is simple a poor excuse. Reminds me of the old adage, “if your friends all jumped off of a bridge… ” ;)

  42. Lizard of Oz April 21st, 2013

    I turned in 5x $50 to a store 15yrs ago (I think they just kept it, in hindsight), but all I could think of was “what if that person needs the money?”

  43. Rob April 21st, 2013

    @Terri, et al.

    It’s kind of cute how naive you all are.

    It seems like the topic has shifted, due to my cynicism, from what to do if you find $100 to whether people are trustworthy. I’m 100% sure the answer is no, and others seem to think we should expect the best of people. And we’re talking about something insignificant like $100…

    I’m assuming you’ll all agree that lack of trustworthiness in one aspect of life would imply lack of trustworthiness when it comes to money.. So with that, study after study shows that the vast majority of men and women cheat on or have cheated on their spouses at one point or another. Depending on your study, between 8% and 20% of men are raising a cuckoo slipped into their life by cheating wives.

    Personal experience in my 20s and 30s showed me that well more than half of the willing women at pretty much any social occasion were married. I know a lot of men, and damned few of them haven’t cheated on their wives. None of which matters to me other than (1) I get no-strings-attached sex with married women and (2) I wouldn’t trust a one of them alone near my wallet. Nor their (probably cheating) husbands. Nor, by extension, the unmarried population.

    So, given the inability of the majority of the population to be faithful to the individuals with whom they’ve signed a marriage contract and promised to be faithful, why in the world would anyone expect that people would be honest about money?

  44. Carla April 21st, 2013

    Rob, the fact that you brag about “no-strings-attached sex with married women” shows your loose moral code right there. If you think your actions don’t hurt anyone, you’re fooling yourself. And that 8-20% of men are raising a “cuckoo” by cheating wives… wonder how many of those “cuckoos” are yours??

    I hold myself up to higher standards than that… I thank God that I haven’t be skewed or so poorly impressed upon by others in this life. I prefer not to let the lack of values & morals by others lead the way I live my life. I have seen others do & say horrible things to others, but that doesn’t make it “ok” or excusable for me, or anyone else, to do the same. If you’re only looking out for “#1″ in this lifetime, why even bother?

    “Compassion is the basis of morality.”

  45. Rob April 21st, 2013

    I have a very strict moral code.

    I don’t do anything that intentionally hurts another person.
    There really is no other standard by with to judge morality.

    My point had nothing to do with *my* actions, BTW. My observation was that I have personal proof that most people are untrustworthy in an arena that most people find important – relationships. Given that, it’s easy to believe that most people are not trustworthy with money.

  46. Terri April 21st, 2013

    Each and every person must live with their own actions, wither it is returning found money or other things. This thread is a discussion (I believe) of returning found money. :)

    Everyone lives with their own actions. Has to get up in the morning and look themselves in the eye in the mirror. Has to think back on one’s past (hopefully) without regret. Eventually will meet one’s maker (or just die and turn to dust). I try to live by what I was taught by my parents; and what I hopefully instilled into my children (whom are now adults).

    We live with our own conscience and actions. Ultimately, all decisions (returning money or other) is between me, myself, and I (and if you believe, with God).

  47. Rob April 21st, 2013

    @Terri:

    Indeed. It just seemed like the conversation had segued from returning found money to the trustworthiness of people. I felt I was being criticized for my view of my fellow man, and took the opportunity to justify my views from a perspective that had nothing to do with money, but everything to do with demonstrating trustworthiness.

    We do, indeed, have to live with our own actions. After seeing the inconsistencies of most people’s “morality” and long discussions while in university I decided upon my very simplified “Don’t intentionally hurt other people.” theme for morality. So far it’s served me well and it’s been a theme that I’ve been able to stick to.

    Which doesn’t mean I’ve never made mistakes – we all do. But I’ve never been immoral by my standard. Something that’s caused me no end of personal grief, of course.

    Anyway… it seems like quite a while ago we concluded that some sort of “safe” attempt at returning found money is reasonable, after which ownership has transferred to the finder.

  48. peoplejunkie April 21st, 2013

    years ago i found 4 x$20 on the ground in the Toronto bus station. without pausing to think i handed it into a teller, left my name and contact info and didn’t think anything more of it except to wonder as my friends kept telling me i was a fool. 6 months later, graduated from university and really needing the cash i got a call telling me as no one claimed it i should come and get it…Hooray!!…always better to do the right thing if u can…the guilt seriously spoils the fun of spending the ill-gotten gains.

  49. Val April 21st, 2013

    I found $250 left behind at a drive-thru RBC banking machine. It was a remote machine, not an actual bank. I waited in the parking lot in the hopes that somebody would come back and look for it. That didn’t happen, so I ended up driving to the closest Royal Bank, and leaving it with them. I assumed that they could track the previous transaction.
    Hopefully it made it’s way to the rightful owner.
    I generally find in life that doing the right thing makes me feel better about myself as a person.

  50. Lisa April 21st, 2013

    Well considering I’m always short of cash, I’d look at it as if it was meant for me. However, if I was in an area where it could have been a lot of people I would have kept my ears open to see if I heard of someone complaining about lost money. I once told a guy he dropped money 4 times. I swear he wanted me to take it, he kept shoving it in his pocket and it came out, 4 times… I swore if it happened a 5th time I would have took it. I was tired of this guy being an idiot. I just couldn’t believe it. To me money and morality don’t mix. I hate money and everything it stands for and believe it is the downfall of modern society… Well mostly because of the Federal Reserve.

  51. Ruth Cooke April 22nd, 2013

    I’m with those who would try to return it. I would have done what you did about the $50–leave my name and number at the service desk of Future Shop.

    To the people who said $100 is just about a day’s work at minimum wage–yes, it is. If you happen to have a full day’s work at minimum wage. If you’re on disability or welfare or a pension, that $100 might represent one tenth or more of your income for the entire month. And even a day’s work is a lot of money to throw away for most people, especially at minimum wage. I know that if I lost a hundred dollar bill, I’d feel quite ill at the thought as my base expenses currently outstrip my income, and losing it would mean I’d be unable to pay a bill or two that month.

  52. Aceling April 22nd, 2013

    I found $100 years ago at a bank machine. I contacted the bank and they gave me the name and phone number of a lady who had deposited an empty envelope. I was very hard up for cash and this would have permitted me to buy much needed groceries. Nonetheless, she came to pick it up and gave me a lovely red rose in a vase (could have used the cash!).
    As for the Police, if you turn money in, they will give U a receipt and upon the prescribed time, you can contact them to see if it has bee retrieved by the owner. If not, it’s yours. Same goes for bikes, jewellery, etc. Honesty is still the best policy. And you’ll sleep better. Remember, it was never yours in the first place.

  53. Kristen April 22nd, 2013

    The money is not yours. If you can’t return it, turn it into the police. If you can’t do that, then donate it anonymously to charity. I repeat, it is not yours.

  54. Tori April 22nd, 2013

    I once found a 50 in a parking lot outside a drugstore. There were a few people in the parking lot but no one close and no one looking like they had just dropped a 50 sheet. Like Carl, I was rattled. I felt as though it was “bloodmoney”. I toiled with keeping it, or giving it to a charity or turning it in. I ended up keeping it in my wallet until about 6 months later when a frantic woman came into another drug store I happened to be in (I guess I go to a lot of drugstores) crying, saying that she needed money to take the bus to her parents house because “the guy she met on the internet turned out to be abusive”. I waited until I was outside to talk to her so as to not cause a scene when I gave her the money. She cried, hugged and thanked me and I kind of shrugged it off, wished her well and went on my way. She could have been lying, it could have all been a big scam but the money was never mine in the first place and even if she was lying, she clearly needed the money more than I did.

  55. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide April 22nd, 2013

    Easy. I’d go into the nearest store and say I found something of value, here’s my info, if someone calls or comes in about it in the next three days, have them call me and describe what they lost, and I’ll give it to them.

    :)

  56. RW-in-DC April 22nd, 2013

    Once upon a time, I was the person who inadvertently left $20 in the ATM. The nice gentleman directly after me came up to me and said “I think you…”: I cut him off as I was trained in urban areas to be suspicious of strangers, especially strange me. He kept the $20 — it was a lesson to me when I realized the cost of my distrust.

  57. Lisa April 23rd, 2013

    I hope I would do exactly what you did in the mall… go into FS, tell the manager you found something (maybe specify money, maybe not), if someone comes in looking for it to call you. I lost $20 once and it made me feel sick, can’t imagine $100. Although I think about all the times I’ve wasted $20 on junk and not had a second thought. Funny.

  58. Lynera April 24th, 2013

    Probably about 20 years ago, my siblings and I were playing with the neighbourhood kids in the park on Easter Sunday when I found a brand new $50 bill under a bush. I rode my bike straight home and made my mom call the police because I was worried that someone had lost so much money and would be looking for it (10 year old logic – I had never seen a $50 before). A nice officer came out to our house a few days later and the first thing he did was crumple it up! Apparently there was a rash of counterfeit bills in our area, primarily $50s – who knew? Anyway, turns out it was real and he took it with him and told me that if no one claimed it, he would bring it back to me. Several months later, having completely forgotten all about it, a police car showed up at our house and the same officer brought 10 year old me back the $50 and thanked me for doing the right thing.

  59. GT May 6th, 2013

    My seven-year old found a toonie on the floor at the dentist. Being an honest kid, he gave it to the dental assistant, who promptly smiled, put the toonie in his pocket, and said, “Thanks, that’ll by me coffee!”

    We have since asked our dentist if we could avoid that assistant. (He was annoying in other ways too…”

  60. Mike T May 6th, 2013

    hmmm that’s a noggin’ scratcher. I think because it’s found money, money you didn’t have in the first place, you might as well do some good with it.

    I’d probably donate it or pass it on to someone that needs it. I don’t have a lot of money but a lot of people have far less. They should have it.

  61. Ralph B May 15th, 2013

    When I was a kid (a long time ago) I found a wallet on the sidewalk. There was no-one else around. Took a look inside to see if I could find an address, got it from the driving license.

    There must have been over $500 in there, plus several credit cards. The address was about a mile away so I took it there myself. Knocked on the door, got a “whaddyawant?” from the owner. I held out the wallet, she snatched it out of my hand and slammed the door. No thank you.

    What’s the lesson here? No idea, maybe karma came back and bit her in the butt, maybe it blessed me. But I still remember it like it was yesterday.

  62. Cassie July 3rd, 2013

    In high school I found $20 on the sidewalk in the fall- i turned it into the front office and forgot about it. Much to my surprise on the last day of school I was called into the office and the principal gave me the $20 saying no one had claimed it all year so it was mine now.

    Also when my family went to the fair once my dad found a roll of hundreds on the ground. It totaled around 2000 dollars but was rolled so tightly it didn’t look like much. He did the right thing and turned it into the exhibition office. They took his name phone number etc. A few days later a gentleman stopped in and gave him a reward (not sure how much it was) and thanked him for turning it in.

    Recently I found $50 tucked under the windshield of my car. I didn’t drop it myself but someone must have assumed the owner of the car parked in that spot had. I held on to it for a couple months thinking if someone came into my office and asked if someone had found the denominations found and general area it was lost and matched…I’d return the money. No one did so eventually it got used for an evening out.

  63. alex July 15th, 2013

    It seems that all those who said they did not receive any compensation when returning the lost item to the owner, were disapointed. Showing that even if they are doing the “right” thing, the are expecting a reward. Kinds of defeat the whole purpose, no?

  64. Nathalie January 17th, 2014

    I would donate the money that I found to a worthy cause or charity (SPCA, homeless shelter). Technically you are not benefiting from the money but someone else will.

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