Are money superstitions true? And where do they come from? Superstitions span many centuries and have different meanings to different people.
People are meaning-seekers. When we cannot explain the underlying causes of events, we feel powerless.
Attributing the cause to superstition gives people a sense of control. More so when the superstition is related to money. In fact, some money superstitions have a global audience.
Human psychologists, for example, say that getting money is challenging due to behavioral and psychological deficiencies like overspending and a lack of work ethic.
In other words, most people are quick to believe in money superstitions because money is difficult to get yet very essential for people’s security, safety, and happiness. Do you think that when certain events happen to you, you will either get money or lose money?
Then I will tell you some strange and common money superstitions from around the world. Where possible, buy a lottery ticket the same day you experience a positive money superstition.
18 Bizarre Money Superstitions (Plus their origins)
There are many common superstitions from various places around the world. Over the centuries, some strange superstitions have been embraced several miles away from their place of origin.
Here are some money superstitions that most people still believe in:
1. Give Money With Your Right Hand
Place of origin: Africa
I stayed in Kenya for five years, between 2006 and 2010. During that period, I heard of several bizarre superstitions that have been passed down through many generations.
One day I went to buy some groceries. I held the money in my left arm and stretched it out to the seller. The old woman gently suggested that I put the money in my right hand and give it to her with my right hand.
I respected but asked why. She told me that handing money over to another person using the left hand can make you poor.
Whenever I have found myself almost giving money using my left hand, the money superstition is always knocking at my conscience. However, I understand it differently today. I see that the money superstition was somehow meant to instill respect in kids.
According to my old age understanding, giving someone money using the left-hand shows disinterest and disrespect. Perhaps that was the original reasoning behind it. We might never know. But please, give someone money with your right hand; never through your left.
2. Don’t Dispose Of Household Waste at Night
Place of origin: Africa
This bizarre money superstition originated in ancient African traditions where nighttime is attributed to witchcraft and evil spirits.
Regardless of how untidy your house is at night, just clean it, but do not dispose of the garbage outside. The superstition holds that you will be cleaning away money blessings, which the evil spirits will carry away.
People told me that doing that can make you poor at an alarming rate. Whether that is true or not, I have kept my trash inside the house until the following day.
I believe this money superstition is a Biblical argument derived from the Book of Matthew 10:14-15.
It says, “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust in your feet when you leave that house or town.” Matthew continues in verse 15, saying, “Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that house or town.”
In African traditions, the dust on visitors’ feet is considered sacred. It could mean someone has visited your home with good luck or a bad omen.
If you clear the dirt out at night, you will throw away a significant potential for money and wealth.
3. Always Keep The Toilet Bowl Closed
Place of origin: Eastern Asia
Keeping the toilet bowl closed is a common superstition closely related to not removing the dirt from your house at night. Unlike the latter, keeping the toilet bowl closed originated in Eastern Asia. Several happy households from around the world have also embraced superstition.
Asians use the philosophy of Feng Shui to explain that an open toilet lid causes an imbalance in the order of nature. They believe that good and bad energy is always in a constant cycle.
On the other hand, a toilet is a place for flashing out what’s been created within the house, including food and positive energy.
If you keep your toilet lid open, the harmony and prosperity in your home will go down the drain. Although that’s the case, we can understand this superstition from a health perspective.
It is generally not a good idea to leave your toilet bowl open because no matter how clean you keep your toilet, it is probably the most contaminated space in your house.
Germs and diseases are more likely to spread from open toilets than from closed ones. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to be poor, always keep your toilet bowl closed when it’s not in use.
Otherwise, this Asian money superstition insists that you will be broke.
4. Hang The Number 8 In Your House
Place of origin: Japan
Another money superstition from Japan emphasizes the significance of the number eight. According to Japanese numerology, 8, written as 八, is a lucky number.
In ancient times, the Japanese considered eight a holy number because when writing it, the letters broaden out. As a result, the superstition that eight means growing prosperous was born.
If you want more money, write, print, or have artwork of number 8 somewhere in your home. The Japanese believe that the number will invite good fortune to your house.
In addition, the number 8 promotes positive Chi energy in your living space. It does not symbolize money alone but also equilibrium, spiritual growth, and maturity.
5. You are Lucky If a Bird Poops On You
Place of origin: Turkey
It is rare but not impossible to be pooped on by a bird. Bird poop can land on you anywhere. Whether it is your pet parrot or a wild bird outside your home.
Although it can be disgusting if you wear your best dress, don’t get angry at the bird. This common money superstition from Turkey says that bird droppings are signs of good luck.
That superstition reminds me of the 2001 comedy film, Mr. Bones. Under the King’s command to find the future prince of Kuvukiland, Mr. Bones located two potential heirs to the throne.
To tell them apart, Mr. Bones threw his prophecy bones, and a bird immediately pooped on Wild Boar’s head, clearing everyone’s doubts about who the King’s son really was.
Although it is just a film, it borrows from the bird poop money superstition. If it happens to you, you will receive a favor. Also, expect wealth in your life. In Turkey, it has even become a tradition to purchase a lottery the same day a bird poops on you.
6. Money Spider In Your Pocket
Place of origin: Trinidad and Tobago
Have you heard of the money spider yet? It is such a common money superstition that even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary recognized it.
The money spider superstition originates from Trinidad and Tobago. It states that you should stay optimistic if you accidentally catch and pocket an eight-legged spider because unprecedented wealth is headed your way.
Even finding a spider in your hair could mean good luck and riches. However, several other arachnid superstitions of fear make the money spider superstition not worth believing.
Although the one from Trinidad and Tobago pronounces good luck in your life, some superstitions say it is bad luck. These bizarre superstitions say that if a spider crawls on you, someone might trick you, or you may receive news of death.
Whether to believe the money spider in your pocket is up to you to decide. What do you think?
7. Itching On Your Right and Left Palms
Place of origin: Europe
Itching on your palms is another common money superstition you’ll hear around the world.
Historical records of the itching palm can be traced back to 1601 in Shakespeare’s texts when he related it to taking bribes. However, the superstition must have come earlier than that. The meaning is also different among different genders and traditions.
For instance, if you are a man, an itching right hand is your sure-fire bet that you will get lots of money. But if the itching occurs on the left palm of a man, you will lose significant amounts of money soon. You can lose money on utility bills or in unforeseen financial emergencies.
The opposite is true for women. Itching left hands suggests that a woman will get money, and itching right palms mean she will lose plenty of it.
If your lucky hand starts itching without any reasonable cause, superstitious individuals recommend monitoring the events in your life that follow it.
If you don’t always gamble, it might be your chance to take the risk and even try the lottery. Who knows. You can win millions. If you are afraid, consider grandma Shammas’s $64 million itch.
The money superstition argues that the money from itching palms will come from unimaginable sources like being mentioned in a will, finding money stashed away for years, or simply picking dropped cash.
8. Don’t Put Your Purse On The Floor
Place of origin: China
Putting your purse on the floor is a money superstition with its origins in China. The Chinese even have a saying for it. “A purse on the floor,” they say, “is money out the door.”
According to this money superstition, you should handle a purse with great respect. Not just because it contains money but also other critical resources such as Bank cards responsible for your financial wellbeing.
Putting your purse on the floor suggests a disregard for your support system. Thus, you will lose your money and wealth by spending even the little you have on unnecessary things.
Always carry your purse at all times or place it on a clean seat or table. Showing respect to money is one of the most common superstitions that means you will get money.
If you disrespect it, it will disrespect you. Besides, keeping your purse in the right place also keeps it clean.
9. Throwing Coins In a Fountain
Place of origin: Europe
I remember an educational trip I made to a sacred fountain as an undergraduate. I had never seen or heard about throwing coins in a fountain. We visited a sacred shrine in Kenya’s Rift Valley region – The Subukia Shrine.
There is a mythical fountain of clear water oozing from the top of a hill, defying every principle of science. There is no other place in the rift valley with such clear freshwater that defies gravity. Thus, the discovery of that fountain transformed the area into a shrine.
Apart from praying in the area, visitors also throw coins inside the fountain. The coins have stayed there for decades and are still piling up. Tossing coins in a fountain is another money superstition that’s not only found in Africa. You will also find it in early European tribes.
For instance, they retrieved 16000 coins of different denominations and eras from wells and springs in England. People believe that doing so is a means of thanking the gods for the gift of clean water. It also brings them good health and prosperity.
Next time you visit a fountain of coins, drop one or two copper pennies in it and expect a stroke of money luck.
10. Picking a Heads-up Penny On The Floor
Place of origin: Britain
If your lucky hand itches, you will find money in many ways including picking dropped coins or notes. Furthermore, picking up a penny is in itself a money superstition.
If you notice a penny with the tail facing up, pick it up, but give it away to someone else immediately. That way, you will get more money.
But if it is the heads facing up, that’s an added advantage. You can use the coin afterward. But at the moment, put the penny in your pocket and you will be very lucky with money.
But the fact that you found the coin with the head facing up and picked it, means your day will be productive. As the ancient saying goes, “find a penny, pick it up. All-day long you’ll have good luck.”
11. New Year Money Superstition With Cash In Hand
Place of origin: Latin America
It is a common belief that if the new year clocks in if you are happy, you will be happy for the rest of the year.
Similarly, at the end of each year, that is every 31st day of December, there is a money superstition worth noting. In Latin America, that day should not find you asleep.
Get some cash off your wallet or purse and hold it in your hands. Wait for the clock to strike midnight.
In other words, ensure you have cash in hand as you transition between the previous year to the new year. According to Latino traditions, it means the new year will bring you significant economic prosperity.
12. Literally Freeze Your Credit Card
Place of origin: USA
Don’t worry about damaging your credit card. They are designed with a new chip technology that is tough enough to keep them safe from water freezing and thawing.
This is a common superstition in the United States and is as modern as it sounds. There are those who believe that freezing your card literally will make you get more money.
Put your credit card inside a glass of water and place it in the deep freezer. You will have to break the ice to get the card, which will definitely shutter your credit card.
If you really need to buy something with it, you will not. During this time you may even change your mind about the purchase. This bizarre superstition “gives” you money when you literally freeze your credit card.
13. Hammer a Coin Into a Fallen Wish Tree
Place of origin: Wales
The tradition of hammering coins on fallen tree trunks is native to North Wales but it has sprung up in Europe and the United Kingdom. Perhaps you have come across them. The tree trunks are peculiar with thousands of coins wedged on them inch by inch.
So, always carry a coin around and use it to make a wish. When you visit these places, you will most probably get a tool for hammering your coin in the fallen tree. It is a centuries-old superstition that says you will find good luck and wealth wherever you go.
14. Bury St. Joseph’s Statue In Your Compound
Place of origin: Europe
If it were any other statue, it could sound like witchcraft. But this is the statue of St. Joseph. According to the Roman Catholic, St. Joseph intercedes for believers who need homes or families.
Ancient European nuns are said to have relied on St. Joseph to get them a convent and it happened. Buy a statue of St. Joseph, dig a pit at a preferred site in your yard, and bury it there. It is said that your home and family will stick together.
15. The Laughing Buddha
Place of origin: Asia
The “Laughing Buddha” is a deity in Hindu traditions who has a large belly and is always laughing. The protruding belly shows that he has plenty and is content with his life.
Therefore, the statue of the laughing buddha represents abundance, contentment, and good luck.
But to get these from the laughing buddha, you should rub his large protruding belly. The laughing buddha is the most popular money superstition charm that is going around the world today.
16. Irish Fairy Forts
Place of origin: Ireland
They are called “fairy forts” because they are sacred. In ancient Irish folklore, the forts were cattle protection mechanisms. And the cattle were a symbol of wealth in several traditions around the world.
Just like you secure your money today at the bank, the ancient Irish people secured their cattle in the forts. So much so that the forts gave rise to a money superstition in Ireland. Irish people believe that tampering with the structures is bad luck with money.
Most specifically, if you mess with the Irish fairy forts, you will face significant financial hardship.
17. Cover The Deceased Eyes With Coins
Place of origin: Greece
According to ancient Greek mythology, Charon takes the dead into the afterlife on a boat across the river Styx. The Greeks believed that the gods of the afterlife demanded money to grant people access to a life of peace, luxury, and prosperity.
18. Hairy Arms Mean Good Luck With Money
Place of Origin: Movie
Have you ever heard that you will definitely be rich if you have a hairy arm? Mark Twain made that expression more famous in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Is it true, for example, that those hairy arms mean you are destined for money and wealth? What about itching palms? What other money superstitions have you heard of?
Are Money Superstitions Real?
The truth about money superstitions is that even if they aren’t real and you don’t believe in them, you will become conscious of them whenever you find yourself in a similar situation.
Some might mean you will gain money, but some are the opposite. Although relying on superstitions can seem slightly off, it gives people a sense of control over events they cannot explain.
Whether these are coincidences or mere superstitions is for you to judge. Do you have hairy arms, or do you know anyone that does? How has their financial life turned out?
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I’m Swati, a mom, a personal finance enthusiast, and the owner of TheBlissfulBudget. My work has been featured in major publications including Fox 10, Credit Cards, Cheapism, How to Fire, Databox & Referral Rock.
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