Ground Scores - Finding Things When Walking

What's your best find when walking?

Ground Score - Finding Money on Your Walk
Ground Score - Finding Money on Your Walk. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Do you ever find something usable abandoned on the ground when you are out on a walk? My walking friends call this a ground score.

Ground scores can be any item you consider worth picking up to take along with you on the walk. Better yet, they may be items worth taking home and using or enjoying.

Ground scores are only acceptable if they can't be traced to their original owners. It isn't a fair ground score if it is something that the owner is likely to miss and return to look for.

And you should never trespass on private property.

The easiest ground score is money. What is the most money you have found walking? What do you do with it?

  • When Julie finds a coin that is "tails up" she turns it "heads up" to leave it for other people to find a lucky coin.
  • Judy and her walking partner save all of the money and then once it is enough, they enjoy breakfast at a restaurant that is on their daily walking route.
  • Pay it forward by donating any money found to a favorite charity or leaving it as a tip.

Often, a ground score is a "trash to treasure" find -- something that you can do something with but that other people wouldn't see the value in. If you're trying to be frugal, finding ground scores can be a great way to economize.

What was your best ground score? We asked readers and got three dozen responses.

Readers List Their Best Ground Scores

Ethan Allen Persian Rug: My favorite ground score was a 5 x 7 foot Ethan Allen Persian rug that was thrown out because of a small water stain on the back side.

A little elbow grease and the stain disappeared. —MoneyWalker

Life jacket and 2 dollars in a bag. —jeepnut58

Spare Change Splurges: We pick up any change throughout the year and once a year treat ourselves to an early morning breakfast with the actual money at McDonalds which is on our walking route that day.

—Guest Judy Thomas

Cash Ready to Go: I found $25 in one dollar bills in an envelope near a church. — Vicki

iPod: Today I found and iPod shuffle. I asked some kids nearby if they knew who it was, and then I went and found a guy I know who had just walked by. He said it wasn't his, but I figured I couldn't return it to anyone anyways so I gave it to him. He gave ten bucks for it — :D

Heavy Metal: We walk around our business park every morning and afternoon (2-mile loop) and pick up all the nails, screws, bolts, coins, clips and whatever (it has to be metal) from the parking lots. We like to call it our Community Service. We are preventing flat tires! We have 3 large containers full! — Margaret

Good Stuff: I once found a wallet, which I returned. On other occasions, I have found coins, a few dollar bills and one $5 bill, sunglasses, back scratcher, a glove to wash the car. I have been trying to improve my walking posture by not looking at the ground. I seem to find less now. — cplake

Cool Coins: I found a 1944 penny while walking in Branson, MO. Kept some pre-1982 copper pennies for my collection — t H.J.Gadiyar

Harvest Lady: My best finds have all been "from the Curb". Maybe it doesn't count, as they can certainly be traced to their owners, who put them out to the trash!

My favorite is a beautiful metal statue, fashionably rusted, that I call my "harvest lady" - she is wearing a sunflower styled hat and holding a rounded pumpkin dish. She looks great in my fall garden every year. I've also picked up an old scrolled wrought iron chair that only needed a bit of soldering, a farm bench, an antique bookcase, my list goes on and on. Walking is evidently great for recyclers! —CMAmy

Mothers Ring: About 13 or so years ago while going out to the mailbox I spotted something on the ground, bent over and picked it up and it was what appeared to be a mother's ring, set in 18 carat gold with 3 different colored stones in it.

I think someone must have thrown it out their car window or something as there was a cheap skull ring along with it. I still have the ring and have never had it appraised. — mnmlady

Antique Corkscrew: I guess the most valuable thing I've found was an antique folding corkscrew, just lying in the dirt. Some research showed it was made in the 1930s, and an email appraisal gave a value of $120. About a year later, the appraiser contacted me and bought it on behalf of a collector for $150! Not bad. —GunsShooting

Electrician's pliers found in the street. —nothairy

Ground Scores: I found a $100 bill in a gas station the other day. Yesterday I found an Ikea chair with cushion, 3 molded wood stacking chairs, 3 Cosco folding chairs, a bicycle, a table lamp, a kitchen table, some kids books, and 10 collapsible stacking storage crates. I ALWAYS search for free stuff. I count curbside finds as ground scores. —Guest alwayslookin

Jackpot! Last Tuesday morning I found five twenty-dollar bills, bringing this year's total to $106. — Slobberchops

Once I found $30, out in the woods! — alex

Old glass: I used to live out on a country road, and every spring after the thaws I would find old bottles coming back up--old Coke, Pepsi and Mountain Dew bottles, and some very interesting wine bottles with embossed grapes on the side. Also once I found a $20.00 bill. —rbrubacker60