Convert Coins to Dollars

coinsWhat do you do with coins you get in change from cash purchases?  Do you just put them down here or there, letting them accumulate in various drawers or wherever?  You shouldn’t be careless with your coins.  If you consistently put them into a piggy bank or coin jar, you’ll be surprised how quickly they grow into dollars.

When your coin jar is too full, ask your bank or credit union if they accept loose coins.  Some might have a coin counting machine.  If they require coins to be rolled, get some coin wrappers (if you ask nicely at a bank they might give you some for free or you can try a dollar store) and spend some time counting and wrapping.  Beware of coin-counting machines in grocery stores.  Don’t use a commercial coin-counting machine unless it’s completely free, which usually means you need to make a purchase of some sort and you shouldn’t do that unless you really need the required purchase.  Coin-counting machines in grocery stores typically charge a 9% fee.  Think about that: paying 9 cents to count a coins worth a dollar, maybe just 4 quarters.  Better to count them yourself and take them your bank or credit union.

coin_wrappersI had a gallon pickle jar with a slot in the lid that I kept on the floor next to the couch.*  Every time I had any coins at the end of the day I’d put them into the jar.  When the jar was about 2/3 full, it broke when someone moved it.  (So be careful!)  When counted, the coins added up to a few hundred dollars.

Another idea:  Something else you can do with coins is make an effort to spend your coins, especially pennies.  Instead of accumulating them, make it a point to carry them and use them whenever you make a cash purchase.  Using a few pennies on a small cash purchase, say something that costs a dollar or two, is like getting a discount of a few percent, compared with stashing the pennies somewhere and never using them.  I try to carry an assortment of coins and will often pay the odd cents portion of what I owe with coins.  For example, my purchases total $15 and 63¢.  I pay the 63 cents with coins and put the even 15 dollars on my credit card (which I pay off in full more than once per month).  Do that a few times, and I have a dollar or two in my checking account that wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t made an effort to spend those cents.


* It was an experiment.  I had heard that a large dollar coin, an Eisenhower dollar for example, would rise to the top in a jar full of coins due to its larger size relative to the other coins.  An example of the scientific principle of granular convection, which explains how rocks come up from deeper in the ground, as happens in farmers’ fields.  The experiment with the Eisenhower dollar didn’t work the way I thought it would.  But cashing in the coins for large deposit to my checking account sure was nice.

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