They’re rolling around in your car, piled up on your nightstand and weighing down your pockets – they’re the coins that have been adding up throughout the day, week or month – and you’re starting to think you’ve got too many of them to use as change at your local convenience store. But don’t lose out on the money you can get from turning in your coins and getting cash in exchange, which you can then invest in savings accounts to earn even more money, or simply sock away for a rainy day.
Unfortunately, the days of carrying a jar of coins into the bank and getting a pile of bills in return are largely behind us. Most banks will no longer count your coins for you and give you the equivalent amount of money or deposit the cash into your accounts unless you roll the coins first, and that can be a tedious task.
Most banks will still at least provide you with coin wrappers, so if you are an account holder, you can ask for as many of these as you need. Some people will lay out their coins on the table and roll them while they’re watching TV or doing another activity.
There are machines that can make quick work of coin sorting, which typically range from about $10 to $50. You can often find them cheaper on used equipment sites like Craigslist or local second-hand merchandise portals. If you have a large quantity of coins that you expect to be worth a lot of money (or if you’re in an occupation where you get a lot of coins as change), then it could be worth your while to invest in a sorter.
Visit A Credit Union
Many credit unions still maintain coin sorting machines like banks used to have, and they’re typically free for members to use. If you’re a credit union member, call your local branch to see if they have a free-to-use coin sorting machine, and if not, whether they can direct you to the branch office closest to you that does offer this service.
Check Out Coinstar
Coinstar gets a bad rap. The coin sorting machine that’s ubiquitous at grocery stories across the country is easy to use and quickly sorts your coins, but takes about 12 percent of the profits. That’s a hard pill for many coin exchangers to swallow, but keep in mind that Coinstar offers other options beyond the cash payout.
First, you can exchange your profits for gift cards to a wide variety of retailers. So if you were planning to visit a chain such as Lowe’s and your Coinstar offers gift cards there, then you know it’s a good time to cash in your coins and get a Lowe’s gift card – and it’s a lot easier than walking into Lowe’s with a sack full of coins.
In addition, if you plan to make a tax-deductible charitable donation, you can do that for free through Coinstar, turning your coins into bucks for your favorite non-profit organization.
Among the newer Coinstar features, you’ll find the option of adding the coin balance to your Amazon account. Rather than using a credit card for your Amazon purchases, you can add to your Amazon balance via a local Coinstar machine.
As an aside, Coinstar is also a great source for printable coupons. Although this service is not yet available in every location, the kiosks that do offer it give you a great range of coupons to print, and the service is growing across the country.
Use the Coins
Although it may take time and a sharp organizational system to use all of your coins (particularly if you have a few jars full of them), you can commit to spending them over time. For instance, if you know your morning coffee always costs $1.37, count that amount out every night in coins and have it ready for your morning coffee run. You can also set aside money in your car for tolls and vending machine purchases when on the road.
If your grocery store offers a self-checkout station, then you can sometimes stand there for as long as you want and load coins into the payment slots to pay for your groceries. Bring a few pockets full of coins each time you hit the grocery and you can make a dent in your grocery bill by putting those coins into the payment area.