Here's a test--if you are walking along somewhere and spot a penny that has been dropped, do you pick it up?
I confess I do. And my reason for picking it up has nothing to do with whether or not I want "good luck." As in: "Find a penny, pick it up; all the day you'll have good luck."
There is an alternate version as to what luck a penny might bring. Once when I found a penny lying on the ground and went to pick it up, my daughter, who was a little girl at the time, said "Don't, Mom" she said--"it's tails--bad luck."
No, I pick up pennies because I figure any found money is....well, money.
I am not a child of the Depression, as my parents were, but I have a healthy respect for not wasting money. My parent's generation was a model of frugality--emptying their dinner plates, not wasting food, not throwing something away simply because it is out-dated or broken.
I can recall times when I did something that resulted in my losing money--no, I don't gamble. One such occasion was not long after our son was born. My husband was teaching and, as a new mother, I had cut back my working hours teaching, becoming an adjunct college instructor. Now, I realize how little adjunct instructors are paid, but at the time I didn't know that going to half-time teaching did not mean earning half my salary--it meant earning far less than half salary.
Anyway, to be frugal I would buy meat at our local farmers' market--usually in some quantity that meant I repackaged the meat before I froze it. After I had done up all my packages, and after a day had passed, I looked in the freezer for a flank steak I had bought. It was nowhere to be found. I was puzzled--and then it hit me. In my repackaging, I had obviously missed that flank steak, and carried it out to the trash along with all the brown wrapping paper the butcher used. I went to the outside trash cans to check--and, sure enough, there it was. It took me a long time to get over having thrown away a perfectly good cut of meat. All I could think was--what a waste of money.
Another time, I did in fact lose money. For more than 20 years, my husband and I went to home football games for Penn State University. It was great fun to get away, visit a lovely location--as Happy Valley is--and to have time with friends. Over time, the rules for entering the football stadium got more restrictive and carrying bags into the stadium was forbidden. So, one time, I tucked a $20 into my sock, thinking I would have a bit of money if I wanted to buy a snack or soft drink.
When we got home, I looked for the $20 since I hadn't bought anything. GONE. Apparently, it had worked its way out, and presumably fell on the ground. At least, I managed to get past this loss a little more quickly--I consoled myself by thinking that some student found a spare $20 lying on the ground, and was happy at the sudden "wealth."
So, found money--whether a penny or $20--I'll take it.