Donna Freedman's post for MSN Money poses an interesting question: do you have a problem keeping money you've found on the ground?
Readers' comments basically fall into two camps: keep it all, regardless of how much -- or if there's a chance you can find the owner (because it's a large amount, or in a bag or wallet), then make the effort. (And keep the cash if no one comes forward.)
Bargain Babe started the idea, by finding $5 that no one picked up, an hour after she'd spotted it. She felt so guilty about picking it up that she spent it on a bag of locally-grown almonds.
I just don't get this. Why in the world would you feel guilty about finding money? You didn't drop it. Whoever did either doesn't need it (they would have come back looking) -- or they're too far away to come back for it. Or they never missed it, in the first place.
I haven't had this happen much, darn it. A few pennies here, a dime there. The Mama found a $5 bill in the hallway on our recent cruise. My brother is the champ -- he finds money a lot, all in small amounts. Daughter #1 follows his lead; she's found everything from change to a $10 bill. (She refuses to pick up pennies, a fact her mother finds incomprehensible.)
I did notice a wallet once while leaning over to pick up a parking chit from the machine at the airport. That case was open-and-shut; I knew whose money it was, and she needed it back! And she was really grateful; I even got a restaurant gift card from her. That was thoughtful, but unneeded; at least once, I've lost something that someone took the trouble to return. It just seemed like payback time.
Many of the respondents put the money back into the local economy, spent it on souvenirs or gave it to the poor. I tend to take any money found, and put it in a metal bus bank that sits above the washing machine. (Any change or bills found while doing wash also goes there.) You'd be surprised at how much collects annually -- even with a buck or two extracted for emergencies or pizza, it's usually in the $30 range!
At Christmas time, the money's used to buy a gift card or presents for an "angel" gift. The recipient doesn't know who we are...but God does.