The Best Ways To Collect, Contain And Cash Loose Coins

Tips and tricks for exchanging all the day's loose change and making it work for you.

With a slight spending change and an easily developed habit you can make yourself or family richer. Really! Make it a habit, a vow or a resolution to start collecting, containing and cashing in all that loose change gathered throughout the day.

Start with a family meeting, even if it's with yourself, and agree to take a moment each day, first thing in the morning or just before bed, to empty your pockets, handbags or briefcase of loose change. To start the ball rolling, have the youngest in the household search desks, drawers, coat pockets and the like for change that's just hanging around.

Create a goal or reason for the collection such as a new television, a limo ride to the airport on your next vacation, a special outfit for someone or be even more specific and try to reach an amount such as $100 to be donated to your favorite charity.

To reach your goal you'll need to make a slight adjustment to your spending - pay with paper. Whenever you purchase an item, pay only with paper bills, even if you have the change. This way, you'll have a pocket of loose change at the end of the day to donate to the family fund. It may take a few days to get into the habit, but keep trying.

Stash your daily change wisely. Keep a receptacle in a high-traffic area of your home, near the door, coat closet or key rack. The more prominent the receptacle, the easier it will be to remember to ante up. Select a receptacle that is big and portable. An empty detergent bottle, gold fish bowl, cookie tin or basket will work well and coordinate with your d├ęcor. Think in terms of easy in/easy out - collection should be easy and so should the counting or cashing in.

Once your stash of cash is getting heavy or full, time to cash in. Don't wait too long to cash in coins. First, a lot of coins can be difficult to face if hand rolling or carrying to a cashier; second, even as little as $40 worth of coins placed in a savings account can accumulate a little bit of interest - at least more interest than it makes sitting at home.

A number of options exist for cashing in coins:

If patience and time are on your side, try hand rolling with coin tubes found at discount stores. This process can be a great tool for kids just learning how the monetary system works. Offer them a percentage of the total as an incentive and a lesson on percentages. Banks will take wrapped coins in exchange for dollars, though some banks require your name and account number written on the tube. Call before going to be certain.

If you plan to do a lot of change sorting, invest in a sorting machine. Machines can be lavish and expensive such as electronic counters and automatic rollers; or they can simply make rolling easier with something similar to a large funnel.

If convenience is more what you are looking for, many grocery stores offer Coinstar machines that will sort, count and keep your change. The grand total, minus a percentage for processing, is printed on a slip and exchanged at the same store. Coinstar also offers a charitable donation of your change to a number of national programs. A printed slip is created for tax deduction purposes.

Commerce Banks in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, offer the Penny Arcade coin counting machines free of charge - no need to even be a bank customer. These machines are kid friendly, arranged at a child's height and offer videos and guessing games while the coins are counted.

A few coins can pay more money than their face value due to minting or stamping errors. A very patient or observant collector can make more than a few pennies if they are careful. For example, a 1969 penny minted in San Francisco ("s" under the date) with the words "In God We Trust" doubled is worth thousands, a 1995 penny minted in Philadelphia with the word "Liberty" doubled can be worth $40, or a 1972 penny minted in Philadelphia with all the front wording doubled can be worth hundreds. So keep a sharp look out.

If you didn't set a goal, or your change amounts are not substantial enough to deposit; think of it as "found" money and use it for good purposes. Treat yourself to a dessert coffee or splurge on a magazine, purchase water or soda for a traffic officer or construction worker, donate your dollars to the person playing guitar on the corner or to the next school fund raiser you see. Or, buys the little things you never seem to have on hand; stamps, a card for your friend, extra candles, or novelty toys for birthdays or stocking stuffers. These little changes that you made occur, will create warm feelings and big smiles - sometimes that's better than the cash in your wallet.

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