How to use up lots of small change?

ashleysfJanuary 19, 2006

My DH has the annoying habit of using cash for small purchases and then dropping all the change (quarters, pennys, dimes etc) into a box in the home. He will not carry change with him to spend and uses a fresh new $20 bill for the next purchase.

I cleaned out the closet in his study over the weekend and found 2 shoe boxes full of change from the past 3 years. I am not sure how to process them. I guess I could separate the quarters out. How about the mountain of pennys and nickels? Is there an automated way to sort them? Will the bank take a whole container full of them? And what do you guys do with the change that collects at your home? How to manage small change? Any creative ideas? Thanks for your tips in advance.

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You'll have to roll them up to deposit them in the bank. If you arrive at the bank with a box full of change, they'll give you the empty rolls and a place to sit and ask you to roll them up. (At least that's my experience.) OH - and the bank may want you to write your account number on each roll. They probably weigh the rolls later to make sure that you didn't short them a nickle here and a quarter there!

OR you can just pick up empty rolls at the bank any time and roll them at your leisure, then take them in.

OR you can take them to one of those automated counting machines, dump it all in, and it gives you paper money in return, after collecting its percentage. I don't know what percent it keeps. I used to see these machines in the grocery store but I don't know if they're everywhere. My biggest qualm about them is that since you don't know how much you're dumping in, you really don't know how much it's keeping! So you gotta weigh your time/effort against that.

I actually purposely keep change, then roll it up a couple or three times a year and deposit it in my "house" account (formerly my "kitchen" account). I found it to be a good way to save a little here & there without trying.

Rolling up does take time and is tedious, but heck, you can do it while sitting in front of the TV in an evening.

By the way, if you do roll them, get the empty rolls free from your bank. You can buy the rolls -- I've seen them in office supply stores for sale -- BUT THEY'RE FREE AT THE BANK, so don't buy them!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 4:33PM
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Should I send you my address?


We have a 5 gallon jug we use (a water jug). We stick it in a closet. It keeps it all in the same place and when it's full (probably at least another 6 months, unless you send yours my way), we're going to Disney.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 4:37PM
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Look for a CoinStar machine at a local store. It's in some stores around here, but not all. Yes it costs 9% (or something like that), but you can make a 100% donation to the Red Cross, or get 100% value on a Starbucks card. (At least those are the local promotopns, YMMV).

Last time I used it, and paid the fee, I still got back more than $95. Worth it!

Here is a link that might be useful: CoinStar

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 4:40PM
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Oh no!, can't you just take it all to a local bank that has a coin sorter and they'll give you the bills in exchange? I finally gathered up all the change around the house awhile back and counted it and . . gasp . . found I have over $85. I'd hate the idea of having to roll all that money. I'll take it to the grocery store bit by bit before I'll do that.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 5:14PM
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We take ours to the local supermarket where there is a Coinstar machine (another store chain has a different name machine, but does the same thing). We dump in the change and it spits out a receipt that we can use against the grocery purchase.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 7:13PM
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The bank in my neighborhood has a coin sorting machine that doesn't charge at all. I save up a canister and cash it in for about $100. It's a great way to pay for show tickets or a night out!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 7:15PM
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I guess I must be old fashioned. I just sorted and wrapped almost $300 worth of change two weeks ago. It is just my DH's change, I actually use what I have. Every three months I take an afternoon and sort and wrap. I always make sure I have a good movie to watch and listen to while I'm doing it. It was An (or The, I can't rememer) American President this last time. I also can send you my address if you really need to use up the small change.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 7:23PM
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We've been saving change for our children's education since they were born. Loose coins add up, but our rule is: anything in the pocket at the end of the day goes into the bucket. Forget to put that $10 in your wallet? Too bad for you. Many hundreds of dollars saved this way in addition to normal savings. Our small town bank has a sorter/counter that they use--in fact if you bring it in rolled, they dump it out into the machine anyway.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 8:18PM
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The coinstar machine near me charges 10%, which I think is ridiculous. I worked my way through a 1/2 gallon container of change over a few years with the following technique. I keep a stash on coins in the car. If I do drive-through then I use exact change from the stash. If I'm walking in to a store where I know I'll use cash (e.g. Starbuck's, etc), then I'll get exactly $.99 in change, that way I'm guaranteed to have exact change. When the car stash runs out I refill from the bucket at home. It took a while but I eventually used up the entire bucket of coins.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 9:16PM
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All of the change that accumulates (from dhs habits similar to OP) is taken to the bank and put into dds college savings account. Our bank will also process the change "as is".

I am always finding dhs change lying aroung. It used to drive me crazy until I started putting into a container and saving it. I have a container in the kitchen and one in the master closet.

It really adds up!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 9:25PM
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We save all our change in a antique 2 gallon pickle jar. Before we moved I rolled it all up and found we had saved over $1100.00 in about 6 years. Nice surprise. The only problem was I had to have DH take it to the bank because it was all so heavy.

We put the pennys in a old sparklets bottle. It's a little over half full after 25 years. I told my grandson he could have it when it was full. He is just 20 and I told him that when he was about 5 years old. I hope I live long enough to hand it over.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 12:40AM
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My daughter takes the change to school for lunch money every day. The women who run that register must hate me!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 10:06AM
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When the kids were little, they LOVED to sit on the floor and count out coins! I put them to work. I let them keep half of whatever they rolled. We'd pile into the car, go to the bank, and they would get to decide how much to put in their accounts and how much to put in their little pockets!

I miss those days! Now they much prefer bills...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 4:28PM
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We roll on average about once a month, and anything that gets rolled, my wife makes "disappear" with the rest of the "money that doesn't exist". I'm a bad one for money burning a hole in my pocket, so the less I know about money we have on hand the better off we are. :-)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 8:37PM
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I keep 5 charitable donation boxes in my home.
I and DH, DD put our "spare" change in these.
When the box gets full, I bring it to the organization.

why am I the only one who mentioned this option?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 12:40AM
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Thanks to all for the great ideas! I found out that the credit union we belong to has a coin counting service for free if I maintained a high minimum balance in my account. Since I don't do this right now, I will remember to take advantage of this service if and when my balance goes up.
And I checked out the Coinstar machines at my local Albertson's as per your recommendations, and they now offer gift cards without any counting comission in addition to Stabucks and some others. I chose some Amazon gift cards as this is my most common method of gift giving and it worked out well. I am now stocked up for attending a good number of birthday and graduation parties this year with Amazon gift cards :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 3:06PM
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I have a container where I put all the change - DH does the same thing you describe and it's all over the place. When the container gets full I bring it to the bank and deposit it in my savings account. They just dump the whole thing in a coin sorter/counter - no muss, no fuss. It even rejects foreign coins that I've inadvertently put in there.

DH does alot of international travel and does the same thing with foreign coins. Now that is going to be a different story as I have a jar full of those - all different currency comingled.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 10:29PM
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What is this *spare change* you all talk about?????


Maddiemom, who suspects that having 5 kids makes change disapear easily :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 8:14PM
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LOL Maddiemom.

My bank will also machine count coins and exchange for bills for free. I drag the change bowl there a couple times a year. Real money.

As for the foreign coins, I laid a bunch into the wet concrete holes made when we had our sidewalk mudjacked last fall. The holes left are ugly and my first plan to sink solar disk lights in the holes didn't work out. The coins in the walk are fun. My favorites are the one from making it through a corn maze and a local Chucky Cheese token. Not foreign but..

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 5:25PM
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We have a little battery operated coin sorter that stacks the coins into roll lengths. Just drop the loose change in and it counts & stacks.

It's a nice little extra savings account.

Here is a link that might be useful: coin sorter - something like this

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 11:17PM
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I have to take it to a coinstar. Our local bank no longer accepts rolled coins. Imagine!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 7:29PM
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I agree with fairegold! CoinStar, worth it....
It's fun watching the totals $$$changing$$$

maddiemom6... That's funny!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 5:30PM
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I have lots of quarters to count & am always looking for new ideas
A bank or credit union with a coin counting machine is a big help. Most banks don't do it in our area any more and some charge. I hear they also charge merchants to get coins.
I don't want to waste 10% at coin star.
There are coin wrappers and coin metal holders that help you put them in pre-rolled wrappers. I finally ordered them from the company directly because I only needed ones for quarters. I admire anybody that can use the flat wrappers.
Sometmes we go to Reno, Las Vegas or Laughlin.Every casino cheerfully will accept mixed coins and give you cash. Indian Casinos are no help, they apparently don't use quarters around here.
Bank of America doesn't make you wrap them but they give you a plastic bag. You count and seal them in the bag, and they will accept the deposit, but only if you have an account That way if you are off, they can straighten it out in your account.
Also I carry a small pouch with quarters in my car, and a small one with dimes. I use it for hamburgers, parking meters, etc. My dry cleaner loves the change, and helps me count.
Last week I put two wrappers of quarters in the collection box at church. As the box was passed it was funny to see people startled at the weight. Next week I might try 3.
I had a friend who had several jars on the refrig. One for quarters, one for dimes, etc. Its quicker to count at the store if they are only one denomination. Kids don't like mixed coins but are delighted with a bunch of quarters or dimes, or even nickels.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 3:54AM
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Some CoinStar machines (not all, check the CoinStar website to see) have a new option. There is no 8% fee if you take your money in a gift certificate to seveal stores, including Starbucks, Amazon, Borders and Linens N Things, or charitable donations.

Yesterday I turned in my 32 oz mayo jar for $91.84 in credit. And with no 8% fee, either. Not too shabby!

Here is a link that might be useful: CoinStar free counting

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 9:12AM
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My husband is exactly like the OP, he'll use paper money instead of counting out change. Actually, change is an obsession for him. We bought a toilet, sink, and the custom shower doors with one round of change. The funny thing is, we actually walked around with this change (rolled and ready) in a pillow case LOL!

Each Christmas, we roll our change and use it to buy gifts. With 5 kids to buy for, it sure comes in handy. Hubby always figures that the change is a method of saving and it doesn't hurt... it has paid off for us. It really adds up for us because being canadian, our dollars and 2 dollars are CHANGE! We do use the Loonies and Toonies in regular purchases but not as often as we would if they were paper, most often they get tossed in the giant jug we have.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 6:20PM
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My bank has a CoinStar type machine that is free!!! We use it all the time to process the loose change and then let the kids deposit the money in their bank accounts. They love to do this. It is such pain in the butt to roll the coins manually....

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 7:38PM
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Just another thing to consider:

It seems that the kids at our school/church are always collecting pennies for some service project or another. It is relatively painless to dump in a pile of change. Even if they are collecting pennies, they never turn away larger change. :)

The kids give the money an initial count as a way to practice money skills, then put the coins in a wagon and wheel them to the bank. The bank sorts for free.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 10:47PM
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what is it about guys and change? my husband is the same way, pays with paper money and throws the change into a jar every night. and what about those guys who always have their hands in their pockets giggling their change? especially older guys.
i let the kids roll the change and we take it to the bank. since the bank wants your name and address on every roll, those free address labels one gets in the mail come in real handy to stick on quickly.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 3:00PM
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