7 Great Ways To Do Something With All Your Loose Change
Have you ever stopped to think about how much money could be scattered around your home in the form of loose change? Whether you keep it corralled in a small bowl, carefully stored in a big jar, or it’s just rattling around the bottom of your junk drawer, your coin collection could be serving a number of better purposes!
Many businesses have encouraged card-only payments and discouraged cash and coins during the pandemic, so it’s easy to assume there’s not much you can do with all that loose change you have lying around. But I disagree, and I’ve got 7 ideas to share with you that will back me up! :-)
7 Things You Can Do With Your Loose Change
1. Take It To A Coin Counting Machine
Coin counting machines like Coinstar are probably the most well-known way to exchange coins. The premise is simple—dump your loose change in, the machine counts them, and you can choose to get the amount in cash or as a gift card.
Using a Coinstar machine isn’t necessarily the best bang for your buck if you choose the cash option due their 10% commission fee. But you can keep 100% of the value of your coins by choosing the gift card option, and they have a lot of options to choose from (including Amazon gift cards).
If you’re set on getting the full value of your coins in cash, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way by sorting it yourself and taking it to your bank. (But hey, as least the coin wrappers are free!)
2. Use It While You’re Out
Between parking meters, highway tolls, laundromats, public transportation, and even gumball machines, there are plenty of places that still accept (and encourage) coins. Keep a bag of loose change handy to use when opportunities like these arise (but keep in mind that most machines don’t accept pennies.)
Bonus Tip: Those little drawstring bags you get with new pairs of sunglasses make great coin purses.
3. Tip With It
The next time you get coffee or food to take away, toss some of your spare change into the tip jar. Ideally that handful would have at least a few quarters in it, but any amount will help show your appreciation.
Tipping with change is also a lot less likely to inconvenience the people working the counter than paying with change. Tips don’t need to be counted right away, especially when there’s a line of other people waiting to be helped.
4. Go Through Self Checkout
Another way to use loose change without slowing down a checkout line or monopolizing a cashier’s time is to use it in the self checkout lane. The machine doesn’t care how many coins you use, so you won’t be inconveniencing anyone unless there’s a long line behind you.
5. Hit Up The Vending Machine
While the odd vending machine no longer accepts coins, the vast majority still do. The next time you spot a vending machine, use some of your coins to buy a snack or drink!
You can always save your snack for later if you don’t want right away. Or why not buy your sweetie’s favorite snack and take it home for them? (Nothing says “I love you” like bringing someone their favorite treat just because!)
6. Start a “Swear Jar”
Whether you use it to discourage potty language or some other bad habit, a “swear jar” system can help you or others change unwanted behaviors. You can decide on the “fee” owed for each incident, and once the bad habit has been conquered, you can use the money collected in the jar as a reward!
The swear jar concept also works well for getting young kids contributing to housework by completing basic chores. Just toss a coin in the jar for each task they complete, then use the money to treat them to ice cream at the end of the week.
7. Give It To The Kids
Nobody is more thrilled about getting cold hard cash than kids (whether they’re your kids, your kids’ kids, or even your neighbors’ kids!). Incorporate coins into holiday activities for the kids, such as hiding some inside plastic Easter eggs, tucking them into Christmas stockings, etc.
Even babies can get in on the action—add a few pennies to a small food storage container to make a makeshift rattle. (Just be sure to seal it up tightly enough that baby hands won’t be able to pry it open, as individual coins present a choking hazard.)
How do you put your spare change to good use?