Friday, May 29, 2009

Walking while on Vacation

Journal Entry: Coinage = $.11. 6 pennies, one nickel. Significant find, a very obvious walk-over nickel near Starbucks in Galleria Area of Houston, TX.

Feature Entry: Vacation walking is not a good time or place for money walking. On my walk this morning in the upscale area of Houston I finally gave up looking for coins and focused on the sights and sounds of a new vista. While a very nice change of pace, I miss the "buzz" of finding coins in the MoneyWalker's on savanna.

What is significant is that I found time for a walk. Also, I am using "cognitive over ride" to eat light meals while on the trip. It has taken several weeks to weight in consistently at 174 and I do not want to lose all that work with overeating.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coin Sorting Machine Etiquette

Journal Entry: Weight =174.2; Coinage = $1.04 (.63 from residual walk from 5/27/09), 89 pennies, one quarter; Glass bottles retrieved = 2; Ground Scores = 7. Significant Find was 57 pennies in the front load of a supermarket coin sorting machine. One of the pennies was 1919 wheat. Not rare, 1919 was a prolific year for Lincoln pennies.(See Feature Entry Below.) I also found 1951 wheat on this morning's walk.

Feature Entry: Yesterday the MoneyWalker found 57 cents in a grocery store coin sorting machine, but not in the rejected coin slot or on the ground, but in the main feed slot. Most of the coins were covered with a green powdery substance. Upon inspection, it appeared to be Comet or a similar cleanser. Then, unbelievably I noticed copious amounts of moisture on the conveyer pad. It appeared that some coin monster (see photograph) had attempted to wash the coins with water and the green cleanser, but instead of removing the cleanser and completely drying them, just dumped them into the machine. Obviously the corrupted coins and moisture shut down the machine.

In my coin shop are tools for rehabilitating damaged coins. The tools consist of an electric wire brush, a grinder, an anvil, pliers, and a hammer. In less than five minutes the coins were scrubbed and polished, then counted and stored in my change tender.

Seeing those abused pennies, perhaps there is a coin sorting machine etiquette that we can use for guidance. Not according to Google. What follows then is the MoneyWalker's six rules for bank and grocery store money sorting machine etiquette:

• Pre sort the coins and remove foreign, damaged and soiled coins before dumping.
• All coins are to be moisture free.
• Collect and remove sacks, boxes, plastic, coin roll papers and other containers from the coin sorting area when sorting is complete.
• Limit the time at the machine. For example, massive amounts of coins such as a five gallon bucket should be divided into smaller amounts and presented at different times.
• While using the machine, avoid blocking the aisles that others use for regular banking or shopping with your paraphernalia and or your friends/accompanists.
• For those that check the machines for lost coins, use discretion and polite behavior when searching the coin return and floor area.

There must be more etiquette principles, but these six are a start. The MoneyWalker urges everyone that seeks and finds money to use coin sorting machines owned by others with prudence and courtesy.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day from the MoneyWalker

Journal Entry: Weight = +175.2; Coinage $1.01, 46 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles picked up and disposed = 8; Ground Scores = 5. Best coin find, a two coin scatter (1 quarter and 1 penny) found along a curb of an "occasional" street detour taken on a hunch. A block further, the curb gave up a dime.

Bob's Herrenzimmer is operation central for the MoneyWalker's blog, coin shop, office, and library. It is a place that I read, reflect, write, and study. Today, I am reminded of Memorial Day and a person that I met on this morning's walk. A slight altercation ended happily. I spotted what looked like a recyclable jacket and ventured to close to his "home." He was homeless, but he had squatted in a crevice of trees and a pushed over wooden fence. The spot was vacant, but as I neared it the gentleman was walking up from a different direction. His warning was just a grunt, but it communicated clearly to stay away. Later I returned and apologized for my intrusion explaining that I had spotted a jacket that might be recycled. He said, "No problem, would I like the jacket?" I politely refused, but upon reflection realized the spirit of Memorial Day, to live in a country that allows easy habitation of people on the full continuum of life's blessings. But in the mean time I am reminded that it must be time to get a new pair of Brooks walking shoes.

Happy Memorial Day, thank you veterans for your sacrifice--for all of us.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Regression Effect

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.4; Coinage = $2.45, 70 pennies, 1 nickel, 7 dimes, 4 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 3; Ground Scores =7. Find of the day was the amount. .28 was from a residual walk from yesterday, but still finding $2.17 on one walk is fun.

Note: The apparatus on the right is a mechanical coin device found in newspaper stands. I found it using Google. I wanted to better understand how money is left in newspaper stands. Sorry, I read the mechanics and it was still too complicated to grasp. The best I could tell sometimes coins are "read" correctly, but drop in the coin return by accident. Thus, the reader is unaware that money has been left behind.

Feature Entry: Several good stories emerged from this successful money walk. First, .60 (2 quarters & 1 dime) were found after I walked away from a pay phone. Already across the street, I remembered that I had not looked on the ground. Back I went, and under blades of thick St. Augustine grass, a hint of a coin was detected. With a probe, out popped 2 quarters and one dime. Then I found a wheat penny. A little later, I rechecked a funky area near a local university where students hang out. Being Saturday, I scratched around and found 36 pennies and a quarter. After reaching my end-point, I retracted the same area I had just walked and found four pennies that I had walked over previously. Tiring of the redundancy, I re-crossed the street and found a quarter in a most unlikely spot as I crossed the street.

Some days, like yesterday’s .31, you can’t find squat; and then the next day a splendid find of $2.17 occurs. In statistics this is called the regression effect, one outlier followed immediately by another in the opposite direction, a regression to the mean.

It is the same with weight control. Give me a few good scale readings and if I am not careful, some excuse will come up that leads to overindulging in eating and the scales bounce right back in the other direction. To avoid the regression effect is eating we must remember moderation and portion control. We can use cognitive override to avoid negative food indulgence rationalizations. A lowering trend on the scales is not justification for a fried food or chocolate candy binge party.


Friday, May 22, 2009

The Dreaded Body Mass Index

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.8; Coinage = $.31, 21 pennies, 2 nickels; Glass Bottles retrieved = 8; Ground Scores = 3. Significant Find: Spotting a glass bottle, I deviated across the street from my intended path. Just in front of the bottle was a six penny curb scatter.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker must share a dirty little secret, according to the so-called Body Mass Index Scale, BMI, I am slightly overweight. The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. Great information and a BMI calculator are found at the National Heart and Lung websites.

For my height and weight, I should be in the 18.5 - 24.9 range, but I come in at 25.2. Yet everyone tells me how good I look. Still, the BMI is an established indicator of overweight/obesity and a reliable predictor of obesity-associated diseases. I may be at risk for a heart attack or a stroke.

BMI is only the first of three measures for assessing your risk. The second is the measurement of waist circumference which measures abdominal fat. My 36/37 inch waist line is under the benchmark of 40 for men and 35 from women. No risk there.

Measure three is the so called “additional risk factors” as shown in the list below:

• high blood pressure (hypertension)
• high LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
• low HDL-cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
• high triglycerides
• high blood glucose (sugar)
• family history of premature heart disease
• physical inactivity
• cigarette smoking

According to NHL, here is my prognosis in terms of being “at risk.” “Individuals (patients) who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement, and have less than 2 risk factors may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight." Since I have none of the “additional risk factors” I am not at risk and need to continue the behaviours I am doing.

Still, I am setting a new weight loss goal; my new goal is 168 lbs., the amount needed to lower my BMI into the “normal” range. The MoneyWalker does not like the label, “overweight.” Join me, calculate your risks, and set your weight loss goal accordingly.

“What is that? Jackson’s 1 year birthday cake is just about ready. I’ll be right up with the ice cream.” I didn't say it would be easy.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fifty Tries Before Paydirt

Journal Entry: 5/20 & 5/21/09 + one residual walk: Weight = 174.2; Coinage = $2.87, 52 pennies, 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 7 quarters; Ground finds for 5/21/09 = 12; glass bottles retrieved = 11. Significant finds were from three different coin returns, 4 quarters in one telephone, 2 quarters in a newspaper return, and one dime in a second telephone return. The usual response is no, no, no…..and no! My SWAG guess is that it takes 50 tries collectively for telephone and newspaper coin return mechanisms before one of these reluctantly gives up a coin. Three in one day is very unusual. I also found a full pack of Kools, minus two, on the same newspaper stand that produced the two quarters. The machine was in front of the criminal court house. Could he have been the defendant? I gave the Kools to a down-and –out-looking couple a few blocks away.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Occasional Streets

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.6; Coinage = $.56, 31 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes; Glass bottles retrieved = 3; Ground Scores = 7. Significant find, a curb scatter of 1 dime and 3 pennies. My entire walk focused on that find and "the habit of carelessness." The Moneywalker follows "occasional" streets when returning to base from the end-point. These are usually a bit out of the way and so are not walked frequently. On most streets I remember which side I took on last walk and take the other side for the current walk. But today, I remembered that one block of the occasional street often gives up coins with high frequency. Sure enough, I abandoned the novel side for the high yield side and once again money was found. The results provided yet more data for the "habit of carelessness." Some people are just not careful when getting in and out of the car. They lose coins over and over and in the same place. My mind remembers these locations and never fails to guide me to these locations.

Because the Habit of Carelessness is so pervasive and pertains to so many behaviors, Ms. MoneyWalker is well acquainted with a person with this problem.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Proustian Thinking While Walking

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.4; Coinage = $1.45, 35 pennies, 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles = 3; Ground Scores =2. Best find: a solitary curb wheat penny, 1947 date (Note the "tails" side of the penny in the photo, it is a wheat penny); also, another good day at the car wash, $.61.

Feature Entry: Occasionally, a friend will ask what the MoneyWalker thinks about when walking. I have found that focused walking blocks most random thought intrusions from consciousness. My mind is busy problem solving and playing hunches about where to scan. However, one recurring theme does break in frequently: Which of my past experiences relates and informs the art and science of finding money. Similarly, which of the principles of fitness and nutrition should I include in featured blogs. I also spend some time thinking about how to best “market” the blog. Finally, I think of Proustian-type random recalls and associations. But, mainly, I am thinking about finding coins.

Today, I was thinking of Bobby, a friend from work. He is the one that send me the satire on walking. He has been doing internet research on walking because of a just completed stint heart procedure. He is in therapy and walks the treadmill. Bobby has a motivation for walking that pales any slight buzz that I might get out of finding a wheat penny or a quarter at the car wash.

Bobby likes my blog and promises to give moneywalking a review when he finishes physical therapy. This thought brings me to the techniques that I advocate for finding money in my mid-city neighborhood. My success is the plentiful moneyspots in my area. But for others in more remote neighborhoods, I advocate a different technique. Just walk the curbs. It will take several weeks to mine all the loose change along street curbs. For Bobby, the focus will be on the restoration of a strong heart muscle, finding coins will be lagniappe, a Cajun word meaning something extra.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Journal Entry: May 17, 2009

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.2; Coinage = $.95, 35 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles retrieved = 11; Ground Scores = 7. Our local car wash gave up 37 cents, a quarter, a dime, and 2 pennies.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, and Weight Loss

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.2; Coinage = $1.31 (Combination of two days). Significant find at a new car wash = .44. Glass bottles retrieved = 9; Ground Scores = 5.

Feature Entry: In applied psychology, few have left a larger mark than Albert Bandura and his Social Learning Theory (: Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press.)

Among his helpful theories is self-efficacy, a person’s belief that he/she can manage their situations. If a person thinks he/she will be successful, they are said to possess self-belief. A person with a high sense of self-belief may or may not be successful, but a person with low self-belief most certainly will not be successful.

The MoneyWalker's blogs are designed to help individuals to develop a sustained daily walking exercise regiment using found money as an incentive. To be successful in either weight control or in finding money, a person must have the confidence to succeed.

Positive self-efficacy is created by action. Walking is an easily manageable action activity. Thus, a walking habit will lead to self-control over the threatening event of overeating. By adding the activity of looking for and finding money, the habit of walking is easily created and sustained.

Bandura believed that “nurture shapes nature.” To maintain a healthy weight level we must reverse our tendency to be “more heavily invested in the theories of failure than .. in the theories of success.” Jogging, swimming, and the “jewels” of the gym are made to look enticing, but nothing is more sustainable in terms of costs, safety, time, and results than walking; it is a theory of success.

For those contending with weight problems, it is important to stick out the tough times of weight gain by self-reflection. Often the cause is a temporarily lowered sense of self-efficacy which results in lapsed exercise participation and slippage of food portion control. Bandura will have you to self-reflect, target the problem, and then move right back into positive behaviors. And then take credit for your accomplishments. Avoid believing in a pill, surgical procedures, or expensive “program” foods. For most of us, only an exercise program will restore our sense of self-worth.

Tasty food is reinforcing, but so is money. When you feel a need for an unhealthy snack, instead, put on your walking shoes and hit the streets. Before long, the found coinage will by jingling in your pocket and the satisfaction center of your brain will be buzzing with excitement. Let the habit of walking be reestablished and before long your positive self efficacy will have returned and you will act, think, and feel differently from that old inefficacious person you were. Daily exercise and portion control are important tools of the self-efficacious person.

Also, the habit of daily weighing is an important step for developing “perceived self-efficacy.” Perceived self-efficacy shapes causal thinking. Bandura found that “…when people seek solutions to difficult problems, those who perceived themselves as highly efficacious are inclined to attribute their failures to insufficient effort, whereas those of comparable skills but lower perceived self-efficacy ascribe their failures to deficient ability.” Daily weighing is a reminder of physical effort and portion control. Weighing and eating breakfast are two other things that self-efficacious people will practice.

How high is your self-efficacy when it comes to weight management? The MoneyWalker wants to help. Follow our blog and we will assist you to lose weight, sustain the weight loss, develop your self-efficacy, and put money in your bank account.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Importance of Walking

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.8; Coinage = $.71, 51 pennies, 2 dimes; Glass bottles retrieved = 8; Ground Scores = 5. Continue to play the "seeding" game with the folks in the Century 21 Real Estate parking lot. 26 pennies were strewn through out the lot. Someone throws them, I retrieve them. Is this a one-way game, or is someone enjoying the drama/comedy as much as I am. Concerning the Numismatist's query (, even after finding 821 pennies in one location,I still get a thrill in finding pennies.

Feature Entry: This satire on walking is going around: The Importance of Walking

Walking can add minutes to your life.
This enables you at 85 years old
To spend an additional 5 months in a nursing
Home at $7000 per month.

My grandpa started walking
Five miles a day when he was 60.
Now he's 97 years old
And we don't know where he is.

I like long walks,
Especially when they are taken
By people who annoy me.

The only reason I would take up walking
Is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I have to walk early in the morning,
Before my brain figures out what I'm doing..

I joined a health club last year,
Spent about 400 bucks.
Haven't lost a pound.
Apparently you have to go there.

Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise',
I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

I do have flabby thighs,
But fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day
Is so when you die, they'll say,
'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'

If you are going to try cross-country skiing,
Start with a small country.

I know I got a lot of exercise
The last few years,......
Just getting over the hill.

We all get heavier as we get older,
Because there's a lot more information in our heads.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Every time I start thinking too much
About how I look,
I just find a Happy Hour
And by the time I leave,
I look just fine.

You could run this over to your friends
But just e-mail it to them!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The SWAG Theory For Finding Money

Journal Entry: Weight = 176; Coinage = $1.78; 38 pennies, 2 nickels, 3 dimes, 4 quarters; Glass bottles = 7; Ground Scores = 5. Three great finds. The test came early, would finding 8 pennies on an ATT phone shelf bring joy after finding 821 pennies the two days before? The MoneyWalker passed the test, joy was felt. Fidelity was rewarded by a “walk over” scatter of four soiled and stained coins (quarter, dime, and two pennies); and a newspaper dispenser with three quarters in the coin return.

Feature Entry: Yesterday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, I played a hunch and found one of my all-time high money finds, nine dollars and twenty-one cents, and nearly all pennies. As a seasoned moneywalker I find myself experiencing feelings or intuitions or hunches that certain detours from my established routes of walking will lead to greater success in terms of finding money. I play a hunch because it feels right, and then when the hunch results in a found coin, human nature is such that I want to give the action some mystical power such as Zen power.

Does the scientific literature substantiate the role of hunches as a behavior of consequence? In a word, No! Intuition seems to work best when guided by previous relevant experience. The more that hunches or guess work is “educated,” intuition rises to higher and higher levels. According to B. B. Suran, Ph.D. (his essay in the URL below is informative and funny)

a licensed clinical psychologist, “homework and hard reason carry the day” when it comes to decision making. Suran provides names for all the voodoo strategies. My favorite is SWAGs — scientific wild-assed guesses. Honest scientists admit to the practice of using SWAGs to guide their way through unchartered domains. More philosophical, Emmanuel Kant called SWAGs transcendental reason. G.K. Chesterton noted: “A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.”

Suran suggests that we should brush intuition and hunches aside and rely upon logic and the scientific method to explain success: “Lay out the legal pad, draw the line down the middle, and line up the pros and cons. Then, let intuition, gut instinct, the sixth sense, transcendental reason, and SWAGs work their magic in the light of day.” In other words, allow experience and research to do the work.

As for moneywalking, as I gain experience and add reflection, I find myself playing more and more “hunches” and with more and more success finding money. It is not Zen or intuition, but learning. With experience I am learning where money is lost and how people thing and behave that leads to the loss.

A hunch led me to look down into the 17th Street Canal, but it was the informed behavior of many previous penny scatters combined with the multiple finds of penny scatters on the canal bank that caused me to wonder, “Is someone deliberately throwing this money away?”, and “If they are throwing money up here, could they also be throwing money down into concrete apron below?”

But why would they throw money away? My belief, it is that some segments of society have a growing contempt for the penny, especially teens and young adults. It is this group that utilize the bus stops that flank the canal. When pennies accumulate whether in the jeans, the purse, or in the car, out they go.

But having zero evidence, I’m putting this whole notion in the SWAG category.


Monday, May 11, 2009

I found 821 pennies in one location

Journal Entry: Weight = 175 lbs; Coinage = $9.21, 821 pennies, 3 nickels, 5 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles retrieved + 21; Ground scores =4.

Today and yesterday I found 821 pennies in two spots along the infamous 17th Street Canal. This is the Canal that gave way during Katrina and flooded my home and thousands like me with five feet of water.

The Canal runs through my walking savanna. It is a 25 foot deep concreted ditch that flows along mostly without observation or incidence. A bus stop is on two sides of a traffic bridge that crosses the canal. Recently I have found several penny scatters on a walk way that leads along the high protected bank from on one bus stop to another.

Careless bus riders was my explanation. But then I had a hunch. I decided to carefully examine a concrete apron at the base of the canal. Barely visible from the 25 ft vantage point was what looked like a penny, but hardly worth retrieving. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a scatter of what appeared to be several dozen coins. Finding an access ladder near the bridge, down I went. 300 pennies later I went home. This morning I returned to the canal for a second look. In a different spot, I found 500 more pennies and several nickels and dimes.

I have taken that path and crossed 17th Street Canal bridge hundreds of times without thinking of finding money in such a remote and difficult location. But playing a hunch provided big rewards. Perhaps Zen is an explanation for the hunches. This is my second blog about playing hunches to find money. In my next blog I will attempt to provide a scientific explanation about what seems to be going on.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Playing a hunch and algorithms

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.0 (note I have combined two journal entries); Coinage = $1.85, 75 pennies, 1 nickel, 8 dimes, 1 quarter; glass bottles = 10; Ground Scores = 5. Significant coinage find, a 30 penny scatter at the McDonald Drive Through. I also am proposing a new coinage distinction--commercial finds and street finds. If the coins can be linked to a commercial establishment such as a fast food store, it is a commercial find; if found on a sidewalk, curb, or other neutral site, it is a street find.

Feature Entry: We like this expression, “playing a hunch.” Following a hunch is one of the MoneyWalker’s favorite strategies for finding coinage. I also combine hunch strategy with algorithm, a computer programming word. An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem. In college, the instructional problem began with a beginning and end point; we student programmers were required to develop flow charts to solve the problem. If the problem was complex, successful algorithms had one thing in common, they solved the problem, but the flow charts were nearly always different—some elegant, some wasteful in terms of binary time, mine were usually in the wasteful camp.

It is similar with my walking strategy. With my home as the starting point, the end point is predetermined. I then develop an algorithm in terms of my walking route. For variety, I experiment with different routes that take me to the end point, an inefficient practice. Here is another rub, as I walk, I am tempted to play a hunch. Suddenly I am zooming off target to track down a money hunch. These practices make for a highly inelegant walks, but often more profitable ones; and besides the detours add additional steps which consume more calories.

We will revisit the notion of “playing a hunch” in a future blog. You will want to know what Dr. Bernard G. Suran has to say about SWAGs (Scientific wild-assed guesses) and how “Intuition drapes SWAGs over the window of your mind.”

It is all good!

Money Walker

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Penny's Leadership

Journal Entry: Body Weight = 175.0; Coinage =$.94, 44 pennies, 3 nickels, 1 dime, 1 quarter; glass bottles retrieved = 4; Ground scores = 7.

Feature Entry: When fast walking (zooming), I walk the curbs of the streets rather than the sidewalks. The curbs is where money falls when people get in out of their cars. Curb walking can be "inside" or "outside." Inside walking is the area between the actual curb and the pavement reserved for cars. Outside walking is still reserved for car parking, but it is the area that the driven opens out to. With busy streets, outside walking is dangerous.

As for finding coins, there are trade-offs. Gravity pulls coins to the curb, but many drivers drop coins when getting into and out of their car which favors outside walking. When zooming along the inside, I always look between parked cars for coins. This morning, the MoneyWalker spotted a bright penny between two cars but in the area defined as outside. Looking carefully for traffic risks, I retrieved the penny. But once there, again vigilant for cars, I scanned the area for more coins. There hidden from my original view on the "outside" was one more penny, then a quarter, and finally a dime--one of my all time best "scatters." And to think, a lowly penny led the way.

That is what I call leadership.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hall of Fame Money Spots

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.4; Coinage = $1.25, 25 pennies, one nickel, two dimes, and 3 quarters; glass bottles retrieved = 8; Ground scores =3. Four great finds and several scatters on this walk. Find of the day, a quarter and nickel scatter of Juan's Flying Burrito parking lot. Runner up find, a quarter and two pennies at the coin change machine in Rouse's Grocery Store (found on the floor, not in the refuse coin return bin).

Feature Entry: Today, I am featuring several photos showing "hall of fame" money spots in the Mid City area of New Orleans. While walking for fitness and weight control, I plot these spots into my four mile daily walk.

The Jefferson Davis Car Wash featuring six vacuum stations, one automatic bay, and five self wash bays. I have checked this spot two or three times a week for several month and have never been shut out.

A depiction of how money is left near the vacuum bays of the car wash.

Newspaper stands have mechanical coin mechanisms that somehow drop monetary overflow into coin returns. I want to know how that happens. This shot is near a fast food entrance. It takes about fifty tries before one of these machines delivers a coin. Some people drop coins on the ground so I always look around the machines as well as in the coin returns.

Car wash coin receivers have yielded big returns for the MoneyWalker. People drop a quarter and don't feel a need to open the door, look through debris, and retrieve the coin. Also, inside the car wash money is somehow found. Recently I found a dollar bill inside an automated car wash.

Telephones are still viable even with cell phones, but they are slipping out of use. Recently, the telephone company systematically removed one phone from each two phone station as indicated in the photo. I find money in the return and on the ground around the phone. Note the trash in one of the phone bays, I always clean trash from the phone bays as a service.

This dime is resting in the parking area between the street and the curb, I call them curb finds. Curb finds is my top hall of fame money location. For the MoneyWalker, zooming from one money spot to another always involves curb walking. My least favorite hall of fame money spot is the fast food drive through. I chose not to provide a photo feature.

Someone once said, "You are so lucky concerning finding money, I never find anything." Finding money is luck, but it is also a function of art and science. We will talk about learning and the art and science of finding money in a future blog.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Journal Entry: May 5, 2009

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.6; Coinage = $1.06, 26 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 4; Ground Scores = 0. Significant find, two quarters at a university pay-to-park parking lot. Drove to the university to return books, found a parking lot (I have a decal), parked in the farthest spot from the library, noted a mechanical pay station at the pay lot, followed a hunch, walked 100 steps out of the way, looked down, found two quarters. Soon I plan to write a feature entry on playing hunches.

The shirt on the left was found recently, then washed and placed on the pole for any and all takers. It lasted less than an hour. Mrs. MoneyWalker hates this "charitable" aspect of my money walks.


Monday, May 4, 2009

The Habit of Irresponsibility: Stealing Calories

Journal Entry: Weight = 177.0 lbs; Coinage = $.15, all pennies; Glass bottles retrieved = 6; Ground scores = 6. Walk was cut short by the encounter with Jack Curry, writer of the Times-Picayune. Such encounters are rare at 6:30 a.m., but Jack is worth the interruption. For years his “feature” in the Venture Section of the sports page provided education and insight into the world of biking, canoeing, hiking, and similar out-door pursuits. For a sample of his writing:

Feature Entry: When walking in search of coins and an occasional “paper” find, I note that some people have “habits of irresponsibility” when it comes to money. I find money in the same relative spots over and over. One example is a parking lot reserved for employees of a local fast food restaurant. The spot nearly always yields a score. My theory, one of the employees is careless getting in and out of their car. As he/she reaches for car keys, whether from pants pocket or purse, money is accidently pulled out with the keys and falls unheeded to the asphalt.

Nearly all of our behaviors are habit driven. Habits can be both good and bad. Walking is a good habit because it results in weight control; overeating is a bad habit because it causes weight gain. Recently, the MoneyWalker was asked how I maintained my weight? My answer was quick, I steal calories. Here are several of my secret habits. These points involve both exercise and thought control.

• For errands close to my house, I walk rather than drive
• For drives, I leave early and park in the farthest spot in the parking lot
• I avoid parking garages and park several blocks from places such as the doctor’s office
• I avoid elevators for destinations lower than six floors
• In social situations, I take small portions of fattening foods or avoid them totally
• Coffee does not need crème or sugar to taste good
• Avoid drinks with sugar especially colas and fruit drinks

In short, I monitor my bad habits. Interesting work by J Quinn, A. Pascoe, W. Wood and D. Neal of Duke University ( have documented that individuals can “override” bad habits such as overeating by engaging in attention management. With college students, they found that “…participants who used a strategy of vigilant monitoring and focused on possible mistakes, thinking “don’t do it,” were better able to inhibit unwanted habits and give the desired response.”; in the case of food, avoidance or portion control.

Bad habits are difficult to break and good habits are difficult to establish. I have broken the habit of irresponsibility in terms of fitness and weight control with this formula: weigh daily and record in a journal; eat a healthy breakfast; exercise by walking one hour or more five days a week; and practice portion control while eating. Still I need external motivation and nothing works better for me than the searching for lost coins while zooming along the historic streets of New Orleans.

That steak is tempting, but "I'll take the skinless chicken please!"


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Journal Entry: May 3, 2009

Journal Entry: Weight = 177.4; Coinage = $1.00, 55 pennies, 2 nickels, 1 dime, 1 quarter; glass bottles retrieved = 16; ground scores = 11. Best find was 24 cents on the asphalt apron of what I call an entrepreneur car wash. The owner rents a space, creates a sign, and then starts washing other peoples' cars for $20 bucks a pop. They call it detailing. There are three or four of these in my savannah. One just opened two addresses down from my home. I have visited it four times, had a hit each time, this time for two nickels and 14 pennies. I guess compared to $20 dollars why be bothered with a few pennies and nickels.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Soooy Pig, Avoiding the Swine Flu

Journal Entry: Weight = 176.6; Coinage =$.99, 24 pennies (one wheat), 2 nickels, 4 dimes, & 1 quarter; 11 glass bottles retrieved and dumped; ground scores = 5. Significant find, a dime at Walgreens. This once hot money spot had been pitching shut outs for a long time.

Feature Entry: How do we money walkers plan to survive swine flu and still honor our commitment for maintaining fitness and finding coins? Robert Schwartz, MD, and chairman of family medicine at the University of Miami
School of Medicine admits that it is very difficult to protect oneself from catching a virus, especially in waiting rooms, airports, and supermarkets.

We seek and find coins in these places, but most of our work is done outdoors. Are coins and other “ground scores” safe to handle? Yes and no. Swine flu, like all influenzas is spread by the release of microscopic airborne droplets. If the droplets are transported to coins, and the coins touch our hands, and our hands touch our mouths, we are at risk. However, if the droplet dries and is moisture free, the risk is essentially zero. A dry virus is a dead virus.

So what should we do? Dr. Schwartz recommends that money walkers stock up on hand sanitizers, either gels or hand wipes. Then when we handle “scores” we should immediately clean our hands. When possible during our searches, we should wash our hands as often as possible. All the fast food chains have liberal policies concerning their wash rooms. Just walk right in and wash up. And while there look around the dining room, there is nearly always loose change on the floor of these places. This morning, I found a dime on the floor inside the Bean Gallery while Ms. MoneyWalker and I enjoyed "muffin Friday" together.

Also, we should become socially conscious and not cough or sneeze in public. And then we should avoid contact with others who may be sick.

As they use to say on Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there!”