Who Among Us Finds Money In Their (Literal) Pocket?

Why isn’t the money in your wallet, where it belongs?


Here is a common topic of conversation around this time of year, when the weather turns chilly and winter and fall jackets re-emerge from closets: finding money in your pockets.

“I found fifty dollars in my pea coat!” someone says, waving a glass of wine. “It’d been there all year! I just found it now! What a treat!”

“I put on a sweater, reached into the pocket and pulled out ten dollars and a ticket stub from The Martian!” someone else says. The stories continue, one after another, tales of not-insignificgant amounts of cash left in the pockets of down coats and old jeans, put away for the winter and discovered every year — a fun seasonal treat like Mallomars or the pumpkin spice latte. How is this happening?

When money comes out of the ATM and into my hand, it’s usually for a very specific purpose, earmarked for something I’m going to do that day. As forgetful as I am about stories I’ve already told or where I put my keys, I always know where my money is. If I take $60 out of the ATM on a Saturday morning in anticipation of drinks at the bar I like that is infuriatingly cash-only, that money goes into my wallet and stays there. At the end of the night, when I empty my pockets, there’s probably a crumpled bill or two floating around, but I still cram that back in my wallet too, next to receipts and trash and the tiny bottle of nail glue I keep just for emergencies.

If I have money on my person, I’m probably going to spend it. If I have cash, it’s gone sooner than I like to think about, spent on coffees and snacks and magazines and jewelry bought from street vendors under the influence of a very nice sun and blue skies. There are budgeting methods out there that tell you to only carry cash, so you can easily keep track of your spending, set budgets for yourself and break yourself of the habit of reaching for plastic. I’m sure this works for some people, but for me, the thought of leaving my house without my debit card throws me into a tailspin.

Cash goes in a wallet. It stays in the wallet. It exits the wallet when it’s time to buy a thing. Honestly, I can never hold onto cash long enough to forget it in a pair of pants or a coat pocket, anyway. I’m impressed by those who can. What are you people doing with your money that it’s just sitting in your pockets, forgotten for literal months only to be discovered at later date? How are you not spending it?

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