I tried searching "$HOME/.bitmonero" and just ".bitmonero" in my finder window and then pressing command+shift+. but I can't find anything...?
In finder hold down cmd and shift then the period. The period toggles hidden files that start with a '.' like '.bitmonero'.
$HOME is a variable holding the path to your home directory.
$HOME is the name of the variable, but what we want is its value. In your terminal, you can type
echo $HOME to find the value of this variable. Then you can navigate to this directory with your finder. On MacOS it should be something like
By typing literally
$HOME in your finder, you searched for a directory with
$HOME in it, not the value of this variable.