Coinstar: Make Your Change Count

After moving I discovered a hidden treasure! 🙂 Well, not exactly. I found rolls of loose change I had stored away for a rainy day. We’re not talking quarters either 🙁 In keeping with my new outlook of less clutter in the new apartment I made a trek to the local bank to change my coinage to cold hard cash. After waiting patiently in line because I did not have an account there, I was turned away like a social outcast! Undaunted I went next door to Ralph’s where they had my answer, a Coinstar machine.

I passed by before, but never used one. After reviewing the instructions, Coinstar has a handling fee of 9.8 cents per dollar counted. Wowzers! No self respecting personal finance blogger would go for that so I checked out option number 2, free coin counting! Here’s the catch.

They will convert your coinage into an e-certificate to some of their partners. Browsing through their list, they had some decent selections. Lowes, Amazon, iTunes, to name a few. I finally settled on JC Penny’s because they offer additional coupons from time to time.

Sadly, my rolled up coins actually proved to be very time consuming. In the future, I’m just going to bring a jar. I had to painstakingly unwrap the coins and dump them into the counting tray. I did enjoy myself a little as it sounded like I hit a jackpot in Vegas! 🙂 After a few minutes, I got my grand haul of $15.76. I followed the instructions and got a printout with Coinstar code. I can either call and order through their catalog, shop online, or claim it in person.

So if you have ton of small change lying around your house collecting dust, make it count by counting it up at your local Coinstar machine. I forgot to mention, there is a third option. You can donate your small change to a charity as well. Give it a try, if nothing else, it’s cheaper than Vegas! 🙂

How do you handle your loose change?

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19 Responses

  1. I have a jar that I throw loose change into. I think we’ll use Coinstar and get an Amazon credit.

  2. krantcents says:

    I must be showing my age, because I remember throwing my loose change into a jar. At the end of the month or two, I would roll my change and take it to the bank. It was a great way to save money. Now I take my lunch to work and use my credit card whenever I can. I am making up for it by by having a payroll deduction for savings (including retirement).

    • Buck Inspire says:

      I rolled them up, too. I had a change holder and I think I broke a mechanical change organizer back in the day.

      I’m bringing lunch and using my credit card, too, but may have to slow down on my Coinstar use, well at least the quarters because I need them for the bus! 🙂

  3. Moneycone says:

    Good call on not paying 9% for counting! I always get an Amazon gift card for my loose change!

    BTW, what the heck is up with banks these days? You have to be a member to count spare change? Ridiculous isn’t it?

    • Buck Inspire says:

      9%, when you put it that way, it really is a no-brainer.

      Ridiculous, yes. But I discovered Coinstar in the process. What’s the saying, desperation is the mother of all invention? Or is it necessity? You get my drift. Who knows, maybe the teller had better things to do. 🙂

  4. I can’t believe that the bank turned you away, especially since it was rolled! Money is money, even if it is change! I would be furious!

  5. 101 Centavos says:

    Buck, we got lucky when we switched banks from the evil BofA to a small regional bank. An added bonus was that they offer a Coinstar-type service for free.

    Nine percent!? Amazon would seem the way to go for us.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Smaller regional banks seem to make you feel more like a valued customer. Do you miss any big bank perks?

      Pretty smart of Coinstar to partner up with Amazon and others.

  6. My bank does free coin counting, or at least it used to last time I tried. However, if I can get an Amazon Gift Card at the coinstar without paying a handling fee, I’ll do that. Thanks for letting me know about that option.

  7. I have used Coinstar in the past and used the cash option. I don’t remember what their fee was but it wasn’t 9.8 cents per dollar. If I remember right it was prior to them offering no fee to get credit for one of their partners. I am a member of a credit union and they have a coin counting machine that is free to use.

  8. Evan says:

    Last time I traded in about $150 worth of coins – I went to TD Bank and they did it for free, and I don’t have an account…I am not sure how big they are but you should check if one is by you for next time.

  9. kathleen says:

    I wish they would offer walmart gift cards as I shop there most. but I think I will go for a lowes gift card since it is spring and time for the garden to be planted and home improvements to catch up on.

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