Whether or not you believe in the unlucky powers of Friday the 13th (and apparently the stock market doesn’t), there are plenty of money superstitions to keep you occupied throughout the year. Here are 13 of our favorites, from the wacky to the I-might-just-try-that…
1. Money trees. According to popular myth, a poor Taiwanese farmer came across an unusual tree one day in his fields. Thinking it would bring him luck, he uprooted it, brought it home, and began selling plants grown from its seeds. The farmer prospered, and ever after the tree was said to bring wealth and good luck to its owner. Its reputation has made the plant—botanical name pachira aquatica— a popular gift for new business openings and graduations.
2. Find a penny, pick it up… And all day long you’ll have good luck! With one caveat: Make sure the penny is heads up before you grab it. Over time, pennies began to reflect the popular “good vs. bad” dichotomy, with heads earning a positive reputation and tails a negative. When you see a tails-up penny on the street, flip it over so the next person can reap the good luck.
3. Money attracts money. Most cultures have some version of this adage. (This one is a particular favorite in Greece.) Which is why you’ll often find that when someone gives a wallet or purse as a present, they stash some money, even if it’s just a penny, in one of the pockets.
4. Keep your purse off the floor. There’s an old Chinese saying, “A purse on the floor is money out the door.” Putting your purse on the ground shows disregard for your wealth, and suggests that you may have a tough time managing your finances.
5. Throwing coins in a fountain. Dropping coins into bodies of water started as a way to thank the gods for the gift of clean water and ask for good health. Saying a prayer when you tossed the coin eventually evolved into the modern-day practice of throwing money into wishing wells and fountains.
6. If a spider crawls into your pocket… You’ll always have money. Provided you’re not too afraid to stick your hand in there to get it.
7. Especially if it’s a “money spider.” On the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, a brown spider or grasshopper in your home is supposed to bring you good luck. A green grasshopper, however, brings misfortune. The concept of a “money spider” is popular in other cultures as well and will supposedly bring you good money luck if you let it crawl on you (see above).
8. The Number 8. Particularly in Chinese culture, the number 8 signifies wealth and prosperity, making it a coveted digit in phone numbers and license plates. And while the financial benefits of the number are often touted, some numerologists point out that the shape of the number indicates balance and that as a Karmic equalizer it is a “force that just as easily creates as it destroys.”
9. Never accept a knife for free. Giving a gift of knives or scissors is bad luck, suggesting that your connection with the person will eventually be severed. To avoid ending the relationship, it’s common practice for the recipient to pay a penny so that the knife is no longer considered a gift.
11. Itchy palms. An itchy right palm means you’ll bring bringing in some cash, and an itchy left palm means you’ll be paying money out. Can’t get the left palm to stop itching? Superstition says to rub it on a piece of wood.
12. Origami jumping frog. A three-legged frog symbolizes good luck, and one made from a dollar bill can help bring you prosperity. They are easy to make, and you can keep them in your wallet or hidden around your home to attract some good money vibes.
13. The “wealth corner.” According to the Chinese practice of feng shui, the southeast corner of your home is considered your “wealth area.” Decorating your wealth area with trinkets that symbolize money accumulation, like wealth vases and Chinese coins, or stashing some money there, can help you maximize its impact on your financial life.