I remember the excitement I felt as a child when I spotted a shiny quarter on the sidewalk. I would let that 25 cents roll around in my hand. Occasionally it would make its way on to my nose or, when I became slightly more coordinated, I would place the quarter on my elbow and try to catch it when I swung my arm down.
These days a quarter doesn’t get you much but I still pick one up when I see it, and this act inspired my Spare Change 2011 project.
Every time I found money on the ground I picked it up and put it in a special flip flop bank (a gift from my sister). My thinking was this, “A quarter and a penny might not get you much but if you keep adding ….”
Last week my year-long project came to an end. I dumped out all the spare change people had unknowingly donated and counted.
The grand total was (drumroll, please) … $3.20.
Boy, people sure do hold on to their money! In this economy I can’t blame them.
So what can a girl do with $3.20 these days? Here are some ideas I imagined my family and friends would pitch:
Arrow, the Border Collie: “You know, Mom, Bark Avenue in El Dorado Hills sells treats for $5.99 a pound. That’s a half-pound of goodies for me and my pals. I might even share one or two with the cat.”
My sister: “Get over to Nugget Market and check out the dessert counter. They have a variety of cupcakes for $$1.99 to $2.99 and baklava for $1.29.”
My mom: “That’ll buy you one tasty In-N-Out burger!”
My coworkers: “Starbucks …. need we say more?”
My boyfriend: “Rockin’ Frog Yogurt sells by the ounce. Imagine the gummy bear creation you could make.”
Now the practical side of me points out that $3.20 is almost the cost of a gallon of gas or, if the sale is right, five cups of yogurt (my traditional breakfast). The less-practical side leans toward the desserts. Chocolate and I are great friends.
But before I let my drooling impulses take over I remember something. Someone dropped this money. Someone lost that dollar bill and maybe that was the last dollar they had. Maybe that dime I found in a department store would have made a good Christmas present a great Christmas present.
I remember that even though Christmas is over the season of giving runs all year long. So I’ve decided not to spend the money; I’ve decided to give it away. Now I know $3.20 isn’t going to make a big dent in any cause but it will certainly give me more satisfaction than a carmel latté.
My last decision is where to donate the money. Any suggestions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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