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So I have about $50 in pennies, dimes and nickels. What would you do with it? I'm asking because I don't think spending hours rolling up the change and taking it to the bank is the best/most creative thing.

More info: I took the change to the bank (not rolled up). The banker asked me if I knew the exact amount... when all I had was a huge bag of change weighing like 30-40 pounds :-p I said I didn't know the exact amount. So the banker put all the change into a different bag, gave me a little receipt and said look for a deposit to your account in about a week.

Next time I'll just find a coinstar machine. I don't like waiting a week to have my change counted. Also I'm sure the banker could fish out the quarters and no one would be the wiser :-)

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    Next time? Why not, starting now, just don't accumulate coins? Every time you spend cash, offer the coins in your pocket if they'll cover the non-dollar cost. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Oct 11 '15 at 14:14

12 Answers 12

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Just take it to a bank that will count it and give you cash or put it in your account. Don't bother counting it and rolling it. They will just break the rolls and throw it into a change counting machine. I did that once and never will again after I saw that years ago. The local bank I used for this offered it as a free service.

You could also use those coinstar machines found in many grocery stores and various outlets, but they take like 8 or 9%. Unless time/hassle is of concern, why do that when there are possible free options?

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  • Nice. I was going to suggest buying one of those plastic coin sorting/rolling aids. (Or, if you have a lot of change and generate a lot of it, an electric sorter.) Looking for a bank that will do it for you makes more sense. – George Marian Oct 7 '10 at 0:01
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    Yah, I took the time to roll and count once. I then watched the banker reverse all my efforts quickly by breaking them up. I vowed to never waste time doing that again. :) – Troggy Oct 7 '10 at 0:13
  • I brought in a heavy walletful of change once to a bank, and the teller told me that there was a change counting machine further down the building. My mind was blown because I hadn't seen it before. No more massive piles of change for me! – Corey Oct 7 '10 at 0:53
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    Some banks have hours and "must be a customer" limitations for their counters. But it is worth it. My daughter's piggy bank held ~$100 in coins and now it how a $100 bill. Much easier on the shelf. – MrChrister Oct 8 '10 at 21:44
  • Coinstar doesn't take any cut if you use it for an Amazon gift card - probably most of the other gift cards as well. – sirjonsnow Feb 21 '18 at 16:12
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Coinstar will charge zero if you will take one of the gift cards they offer. Since my daughter likes iTunes, a $20 gift card is just as easy to get at the Coinstar machine as anyplace. They offer a multitude of choices, Amazon gift cards among them.

The current list for gift cards -

enter image description here

Really, stop saving coins. It's no big deal to give a cashier at the supermarket up to 10 pennies, or a toll guy $2 in coins. Just don't give the toll guy $1 in pennies. Remember, stores often need coins or $1/$5 bills, so they are happy to take them as long as the timing is right.

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    +1 for bringing up the gift card option. I forgot they offered that in some places. – Troggy Oct 7 '10 at 0:57
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    Thanks Troggy. I must admit, I was very anti-Coinstar a while back. The fee in the US is 9.8%, I called this an "idiot tax." When I saw the card option, I reconsidered my position. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Oct 7 '10 at 4:20
  • Gift cards and Amazon.com gift certificates, IIRC. – user296 Jan 26 '11 at 20:33
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    I think the fee is up to 11.9% now, and I too was very against Coinstar until 60 seconds ago when I learned of the gift card option. Thanks for this. – TTT Feb 20 '18 at 3:53
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    I have some details on "timing is right". Shops need change but they don't like to count it at the end of the day (a teller often has to count all the money he has in the teller machine before he can end his shift and go home). So your change is more welcome in the morning and during the day than it is in the evening. – sharptooth Feb 20 '18 at 14:19
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Have you tried your local panhandler? She/He will probably accept 50€ in small change.

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    The question was "How do you get rid of..." – GUI Junkie Oct 8 '10 at 20:27
  • cute. i wouldn't vote up the answer, but i'll vote up the comment ;b – user296 Oct 8 '10 at 21:08
  • there's a different way of looking at the issue - and one that [could] be a Nice Thing(tm), too :) – warren Mar 26 '12 at 14:26
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  1. Go to a self-checkout at a supermarket late at night or early in the morning.
  2. Pay for your week's groceries with your spare change.
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    Last night I paid for $8 in groceries with change... Glad to know I'm not the only one :) – Alex B Oct 7 '10 at 18:45
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    As payback for an argument I know a person who paid her last rent check to her roommate in pennies. All over her bedroom floor. $400 in pennies is a crap load of pennies. – MrChrister Oct 8 '10 at 21:43
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    In the UK pennies are only legal tender in amounts up to 20p. I think in the USA cents are only legal tender up to 25c, so the landlord would be within their rights to refuse the pennies and demand the rent is paid with notes. – bdsl Feb 14 '16 at 11:01
  • @bdsl "legal tender" has a very narrow meaning. Specifically it is a specification of how you can pay money into court in order to discharge a debt. The landlord might well have been within their rights to refuse the pennies; but that's not because of the legal tender rules. – Martin Bonner supports Monica May 23 '19 at 9:36
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TD Bank (Northeast US) has free change counting machines at its branches. You don't have to have an account to use them.

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    Many of the smaller banks will be willing to count your change immediately, free of charge. Check with a local community bank or credit union. – Benjamin Chambers Jan 25 '11 at 18:50
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    As of 2016 it looks like TD Bank is beginning to phase out these machines. The one at the branch near my office is gone, and when I handed rolls to the teller I asked about it in passing. He sort of shrugged and said, "It was actually more work for everyone." – pjmorse Jul 6 '16 at 17:40
  • @pjmorse I think its just temporary: nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2016/04/… – Michael Pryor Jul 7 '16 at 18:26
  • @MichaelPryor That explains both the absence of the machines and the teller's comment - if the machines were inaccurate that would definitely generate more work. Thanks! – pjmorse Jul 7 '16 at 18:28
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We're easily amused I guess, but my wife and I collect our change in a big jar and seperate it once a year on the kitchen table, usually on a snow-day in January or February.

We separate out coins from certain years to collect, then we roll it up, and it goes into the vacation fund.

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    I do the same thing. It's also valuable if you're interested in the value of the constituent metals, old pennies having more copper and what-not. This is only useful if you do collect or are otherwise interested in the coins themselves. – C. Ross Jan 26 '11 at 12:08
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You may want to keep some of your change - especially your nickels. I know George would be disappointed if I didn't point this out. :)

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    Also, don't forget to check the dates and mint marks. Never know when you may find something valuable. :) – George Marian Oct 7 '10 at 17:15
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I don't suppose you could keep it in your pocket and just spend it? That's what I do.

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    $50 worth? You must have really big pockets – JBRWilkinson Oct 7 '10 at 21:40
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    @JBRWilkinson. One spends it as one accumulates it. Change from a dollar is used as appropriate in the next purchases. The coins never leave my (zippered) wallet (as one might empty one's pockets every evening). – kajaco Oct 8 '10 at 13:10
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I separate out the quarters and larger (I'm Canadian, so there are coins bigger than a quarter). Then I put the rest in charity boxes.

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You just take some of that change and use it when paying in cash. When you run out of change in your purse/pockets - take more. It just takes some time and absolutely no effort.

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Do you eat out much or go to coffee shops? I add portions of my excess spare change to the tips/tip jars. I make it a bit over the usual percentage to make up for the fact that it's, well, spare change...

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You could donate them to charity. If you get a receipt for your donation, it will be tax deductible as long as it is to a 501c(3).

You could make them into a piece of artwork. The sky's the limit as to what you could create. As long as you don't fraudulently alter the coins, then it should be legal to make whatever kind of art you want from them.

You could take a trip to the arcade and buy some arcade tokens or visit a coin-operated laundromat.

You could always just take them to the bank and trust that the bank will count them correctly. And if they've been sitting at home for a few weeks or even a few years, a one week waiting period for the coins to be deposited in your account is a pretty short waiting period to have them converted into a more usable format.

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