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Many people have the habit of collecting coins and putting into a big jar. Alex works as a Pizza Delivery boy and gathers many coins by the end of the day. He has a big change jar and puts all the coins in the big jar.
This casual habit turned out to be a boon when one day, suddenly in need of an emergency, he decided to dig into the jar and to his surprise, there was more than $250 – enough to help him in an emergency.
There are many such incidents, and there are people who save money by saving coins and designate it for a specific purpose. Also, carrying coins can make your purse bulky and heavy. So toss the spare change in the jar and use it when you want it- may be a vacation or Emergency fund or buying a gift.
- 1 How to Change Your Coins to Cash?
- 2 Other Ways to Use than changing Coins to Cash
- 3 Back to You
How to Change Your Coins to Cash?
Well, you cannot carry the change jar everywhere to pay for your purpose. Example, when you want to buy an airline ticket, you cannot go to counter with a big jar of coins.
What to do then?
You have to cash them. Coins to Cash!
You might be wondering “How” to change coins to cash? Well, here are a few ways to put that spare change to use productively.
Coin Counting Machine
There are coin counting machines in front of a grocery store or in a supermarket. The most popular machine is Coinstar Machine allows you to change coins to cash, gift cards or donations. It counts up to $3000 worth of coins.
How does it work?
Pour in your counts in the kiosk.
Choose the exchange option: cash, gift card or charity donation. If you opt for cash, there is a processing fee of 11.9% which may vary location to location.
Add coins to the tray and lift the handle to put them in slots.
After all your coins are counted, you will receive a voucher for cash or a gift card which will have a code printed on it. If you chose a charity, you would receive a receipt for the donation.
Take your cash voucher to the store’s register to claim the cash and redeem the cash voucher on the same day of issuance. In case of a gift card, use the code printed on the top to shop at any store, restaurant or online.
Easy! Isn’t it?
The only drawback of coins to cash at Coinstar is the processing fee of 11.9%, i.e. for every $100, and you will have to pay a fee of $12.
Coinstar waives fees if you exchange coins for a gift card. Therefore, you can opt for a gift voucher which has no fees. You can claim gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe, Southwest Airlines, Game Stop, and others. However, depending on the individual machine, you can choose the retail outlets, online outlets or restaurants.
Depending on the location, the retailers listed on the Coinstar site will be available at the kiosk or grocery store. Hence, it is advisable to check your nearest machine that will provide the full value of the card.
Opt for a gift card if you would actually use it at the retailer then only it is worth to trade coins for a gift card or else it will not be worth to choose this option.
In exchange of coins for a gift card, you will be given a code equal to the value of coins and redeemable instantly.
Another option is to give a donation for a charity. Put your coins and get the receipt.
Coinstar waives the coin counting fee if you donate for a charity. Your change will be wired to the Red Cross, The Humane Society, UNICEF, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Feeding America, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, United Way and others.
If the charity you would like to donate is not listed on the Coinstar, you can ask the organization directly if they will take the donation of your change jar from you at any local office. Your donations made on the Coinstar, every cent will go to the charity, and in return, you will receive a receipt.
Donations are tax-deductible and even if it is a coin donation you can save the receipts.
Listed below are the main locations for the Coinstar Machine but not necessary that you will find a Coinstar machine at every location of the mentioned store. It would be advisable to check with your local store for information before changing the coins to cash or gift cards or donations.
Take it to the Bank
All those dimes and nickels will be worth more by depositing in the bank in your account than sitting around in your house. If you don’t want to change coins to cash, then deposit them in your bank account. Some banks allow you to deposit unrolled coins into your account can be a big timesaver.
But it would be better to check with the bank beforehand to avoid the trouble of getting turned away. Irrespective of rolling the coins and deposit, at least you can earn a small interest on those coins in your account than just keeping them idle for months and years.
Even though many banks have phased out with coin counting services in recent years, there are few bank branches that keep an annual event ‘Piggy Bank Day’ where they bring out their coin counting machine to entice community members to set up accounts with the bank with their change jar earnings.
Roll the Coins to Cash at the Bank
A traditional method where you make children sit and learn to sort, identify and count the cash. Many banks have coin counting machines. A customer of the bank will get the service for free, but a non-customer might be charged fees for change of coins to cash.
Some banks would require you to roll the coins into a paper yourself before they accept it. But the catch is at some banks, and the teller might tell you to open the rolled coins to put them in coin counter and check the coins to cash. This is because there are chances of scams, many put some fake coins in a roll.
It is better to call before you roll the coins and ask the bank if they will take coins and have a coin counting machine, whether they need to be rolled and if yes, they will give the roll paper for free. If they don’t, you find them for cheap at dollar stores.
Some financial institutions might even not take your change jar. The U.S Department of Treasury says banks don’t have to accept change if they don’t want to. The few reasons are for this rule is :
- Coins require space to store.
- Heavy to transport
- Coin counting machine needs to be installed which can be an additional cost to the bank
- A lot of work for teller
There are some banks who offer free coin counting to change coins to cash but with their own requirements:
- U.S Bank changes coins to cash for their customers only without fees and rolls
- Bank of America requires coins to be rolled to change coins to cash.
- Wells Fargo is getting rid of their coin counting machines but accepts rolled coins to cash from their customers only.
- Citibank requires coins to be rolled but may charge fees depending on the state.
- Chase also accepts coins to cash but requires coins to be rolled.
- Credit Union offers coin counting service to change coins to cash, but requirements may vary.
- Community Savings bank accepts coins to cash, but the requirement may vary.
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Other Ways to Use than changing Coins to Cash
Use the Coins
You can also use the exact change at a store or supermarket. To avoid cashier’s ire and embarrassment, make sure that the grocery store has a self-checkout machine. You can hit the self check out point and deposit all the coins for your shopping. Also, you can avoid holding up the line too if you go at odd hours.
You can organize the coins and put them in use, and if not, there is always a way to exchange coins to cash.
If you don’t want to go for a change of coins to cash and deal with any of the above, then another option is to donate it for a good cause. There are many charities who would happily accept change or coins.
You can carry your change jar to places like supermarkets, fast food joints or check out lines where there are donation boxes available. If you want to donate the jar personally, then you can visit a local charity, Salvation Army or any community center.
You can also give away your accumulated foreign coins as many charities accept foreign coins as a donation.
Some coin machines not only change coins to cash but also allow you to donate it to charities directly. As mentioned earlier, Coinstar has an option of charity donation.
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Designate for a Specific Purpose
You can save money by designating it for a specific purpose. You can deposit all the change in college saving funds or retirement fund.
The contribution may not be magnanimous, but it will add up to a good value over the period of time. Also, you will earn interest on the amount deposited in the college fund or retirement fund which will be higher than the savings account.
Also, you can set a target for any specific purpose like tuition fees or Christmas fund and make a saving in your change jar and later change the coins to cash. This will help you to achieve the amount and purpose.
Make it a Family Game
Your spouse and kids can have a separate change jar and collect all the coins to cash. Then, on a decided day you can count the coins and have a good family outing or movie or gift each other.
The point to note here is, you need to use only the accumulated coins and cannot spend any penny extra.
If you are able to collect more coins in a year, you can have a great family outing. But if you haven’t had luck during the year then maybe you can just settle over a candy treat.
Decorate and be Creative
There are many ideas online where you can make coin art or craft for your kids’ room or kitchen. You can do it yourself with the pennies and repurpose the coins.
There are various ideas where you can use the coins to make a cap showpiece, a pretty necklace, fancy coin tree art, beautiful ancient look like frames and many more. Pinterest has many DIY ideas, and it will be a great art learning for the children too.
Rare Collection of Coins
Coins collectibles are valuable and treasured. It is also known as coin roll hunting. There are coins which are worth more than their face value. You can buy a roll of coins from the bank and then sort out to find the rare collectible coin.
This will be a great activity for kids to sort, hunt and count the coins. Combine all the ideas whether you are changing coins to cash, repurposing it or using it but make sure you don’t lose coin worth more than the face value. Example, half dollar coins minted before 1965 which are 90% silver can fetch you around $7 each on sale.
According to CBS News, Americans throw away $62 million in coins each year. Whatever you choose to do with the coins, but don’t let them sit idle as you are carrying an opportunity cost on it.
It loses its value over time due to inflation. Use them efficiently in whichever way you wish – change coins to cash or simply make a coin craft.
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Back to You
Many people have stated that changing coins to cash has provided them with a lot of money which they never knew they had.
If you change coins to cash, after cashing in the money, deposit into your savings accounts to earn interest. You can earn more value on the money then just using up the cash if not needed. Don’t miss any opportunity because ‘Every Penny Saved is Every Penny Earned.’