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Musing the meanderings of my money...

Before last week, I never gave much consideration to the meanderings of my money.

Rifling around in my purse, I grasp the green bills and hand them to a cashier and once they’ve left my possession, I didn’t really think about the thousands of transfers that happened before that particular bill came into my possession nor did I give a thought to where it went when it left. I simply thought about spending and purchasing.

Last week, as I was about to hand the barista at Higher Grounds a $20 for my white chocolate café mocha, I noticed something…funny…about my money. It had a red stamp on it and some writing. Odd, I thought. So, I stuffed it back into my purse and paid with another bill.

When I arrived home, I went to the website stamped onto the bill and found that it is part of this interesting project where curious people all over the country, relying on the inquisitive nature of people like me, are tracking the physical movement of money as it moves around the country. What’s so interesting about this?

Well, it is a little like those balloons that you let go of with a message attached, hoping against hope that someone will find your message and write you back. If a bill is found and logged into the site, you see a map and a detailed report showing each time someone found and re-registered the bill. Somewhere, someone is wondering what happened to the $20 bill they spent six months ago in Fort Wayne and registered it on a website to find out what happened after it left their possession.

This is also interesting because based on what I learned from my $20 bill, it confirms a key piece of information shared in the Columbia City Chamber of Commerce’s November monthly business luncheon. The topic of that luncheon involved the concept that money spent in your community stays in your community. In the case of my money – that seems to be literally what is happening. Isn’t that cool!?

When I logged onto the website and registered my $20 bill, I received a report that showed that it was first registered in Fort Wayne on August 10, 2007. On October 24, 2007, it was registered in Pierceton and the finder stated he or she received it in their change back at the American Legion. I received the $20 bill at the bank when I cashed a check two weeks ago. I am apparently the third person to receive the bill who has logged it, but considering the proximity to the area, it seems to be circulating in this vicinity – thereby proving that money spent in our community stays in our community – literally. Figuratively, this is an important concept for us all to consider as we make our daily business transactions. Buying locally keeps money in our community.

My $20 bill has logged at least 42 miles (not including all the miles it has been traveling in my purse!) in the past 164 days, 1 hour and 55 minutes (as of when I checked last) since it was originally registered.

It is now burning a hole in my pocket, you know, so I think its days are numbered in my hands. Besides, I’m now very curious to find out where it goes after it leaves me. I know I’ll spend it locally, so I’ll be very interested to hear if any of our Talk of The Town readers happen to get it back in their change or at the local bank. If you do find it, let me know. It would be interesting to see how this $20 travels in Whitley County. Can we keep it within our county borders?



Jennifer Zartman Romano


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