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Here’s What to Do With Loose Change

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I just finished up writing a post on where you can cash out your coins for cash at no cost, but of course, there are many options aside from wrapping your coins and converting into paper bills.  Some people want to know what they can do with their loose change aside from simply cashing it out.

So, in today’s post, I wanted to talk about the many things that you can do with your loose change.   Yes, while some of these ideas may sound obvious, I always include every possibility, no matter how silly it sounds.

From outside-the-box ideas to simply cashing it in, I try to cover it all.

So, if you have a ton of loose change laying around, here’s what you could do with it right now.

Let’s begin!

What to Do With Loose Change

Cash It out at Coinstar

In short, a Coinstar machine will take your change and turn it into cash and even gift cards from popular retailers such as Amazon and Nike.  It’s one of the easiest ways to turn your coins into cold-hard cash.

Now,  great inventions like this are not free, so if you plan on getting cash back only, you will have to pay a fee, which is said to be around 12%.  That’s a lot.

However, before you get too upset, you can turn your coins into a gift card that takes NO fees.   From Amazon to Nike, the kiosk will print a gift card on the spot after it counts your coins and will cost you nothing but your coins.

If you don’t mind using a gift card, many of which are very good, then this is one of the best use for your spare change.  You can also donate to very popular charities at no fee as well if you’re feeling charitable.

By far, this is my favorite option, only if you take the free gift card route.

To find a Coinstar location and see what gift cards you can get, refer to the official website located here.

Roll It and Take to the Bank

Did you know that almost every bank, as long as you’re a customer, will offer you free coin wrappers?  Most of the popular ones I talked to would include them to customers only free of charge.  With that being said, there’s a 99% chance your bank does this.

While banks used to have coin sorting machines, many of them no longer do, but it doesn’t mean that they won’t take your coins.  You’re just going to have to roll them yourself.

Now, I know rolling coins could be a lot of work, especially if you have a ton of them.  However, as technology advances, there are some pretty cool sorting machines on Amazon that do all of the dirty work for you.  And no, they don’t cost much, either.  Maybe $50~ tops.  If you do decide to buy one, all you need to do is deposit the wrappers in the slots and deposit your coins in a bin as you would with a Coinstar machine.

And if you don’t want to wrap them or even invest in a sorter, you could always hire out your kids to do the dirty work for you and let them keep a few bucks for their efforts.

Take these newly wrapped coins to your local bank and they will be more than happy to deposit them into your account.

Your Bank “May” Have a Coin Machine

There could be a chance that your bank has a coin machine that it offers for its customers, and the best part about it is that it will often be 100% free.   Again, as long as you’re a customer. It will be similar to that of Coinstar, only that it’s a different brand, but it will work in the same way.

In the past, many banks offered this option, but sadly, many branches found it to be more of a headache than a plus, so a lot of these machines have disappeared.  It doesn’t mean you can’t find one, however.

To see if your bank has a coin counting machine or even find one in your area, a quick Google search can suffice or you can even call the bank you currently bank with.

Keep in mind that most of your bigger name banks, such as Bank of America, Chase, PNC, Capital One and even TD Bank do not offer these options.  TD Bank used to offer the “penny arcade” in the past but eventually got rid of them after being sued for inaccurately counting the coins.

Take Advantage of U-scan Machines

If you have ever used the U-scan machines at your local grocery store or even Walmart, you may have already noticed that they, yes, accept coins.

Now, the nice thing about these U-scan machines is that many of them allow you to throw all of your coins into a bin, similar to that of a Coinstar, to count out for you at no cost.  This is much better than inserting one coin at a time.

So, the next time you find yourself heading to the grocery store or even Walmart, study the U-scan machine to see how it accepts coins as not all machines will have the same setup.  If you have to insert each coin individually, then this could take some time and is often not worth it.  However, if you can throw the coins in all at once, this could be a great way to unload a ton of coins instead of using paper bills or your credit card.

Go to the Casino (no gambling required)

I have heard countless reports that you can actually take all of your coins to the cash cage at the casino and they will be more than happy to use their machines to give you a cash voucher.  Some even have free coin counting machines that anyone can use in an area nearby.

In exchange for this voucher, you can then head to the ATM and cash it out for some bills, simply meaning you do not have to gamble.

Again, your results will greatly vary, so you may want to call up your casino before heading in or even researching more in-depth online as every brand will have its own policies.

If you do find they are willing to accommodate you, then you will just have to bring your sack of coins.  No fees applied, either!

Look for Collectibles

If you have a ton of coins, don’t just take them to the Coinstar machine just yet as you could have some coins worth much more than the actual value.

And, no, you don’t have to necessarily be a coin master, either, to know what the coins are worth.

In general, you’re just going to want to look at the coin’s year.  The older the coin is, preferably before 1965, the more the coin could be worth.  If you think you found one of value, then you could check out the most recently sold eBay listings to see what it sells for.

Of course, your coin will need to be the great shape and it’s going to take some time to find a collectible, but it could be a fun hobby to pass the time.

Create a Coin Savings Fund

Who says you have to spend the coins right now?

Instead of worrying about it right now, consider investing in a few larger coin banks and labeling them for future use.

For example, one could be for a vacation while another could be for a child’s college fund or Christmas shopping spree.  It could also be used to pay off debt.

Once the bank is filled to the top, then you could apply one of the strategies mentioned above to cash out and use it for what it was designated for.

Keep It on Hand

In everyday life, there are so many reasons you may need coins.  While it won’t be a ton, it doesn’t hurt to have a few quarters on hand for the following purchases:

  • arcades
  • allowance
  • cheap fast food
  • laundromat
  • public transportation (bus/subway)
  • parking
  • toll booths
  • donations/tip jars
  • stamps
  • vending machines

As you can see, there are quite a few times that may come up when you could have used those coins, so for the time being, at least keep about $10~ in coins either in your car or in your purse at all times to avoid not having any coins at all.

Be Creative

Of course, a lot of these tips deal with turning your coins into cash.  After all, you want to spend your coins, right?

Well, thinking outside of the box, you can also turn your coins into some pretty cool projects, most of which you can find on Pinterest.  Just search for “coin crafts” or something along that line.  Google works, too.

From a coin table to a necklace, you could browse pictures for hours to find something of interest.

If you have a knack for crafts, it’s one to highly consider.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how many coins you have, there will always be ways to spend it.

To me, I would at least consider the Coinstar route, seeing I can at least get an Amazon gift card with no fees.  An Amazon gift card, at least in my eyes, is as good as cash, seeing they have almost everything.

In a close second, I like the U-scan idea as it’s just as good as the Coinstar strategy, only that you can use your coins to buy something in store.  Seeing Walmart often has the U-scan machines you’re looking for, there’s almost always something worth buying.

While you can’t really go wrong with all of these ideas, some are better than others.

Whether it’s spending your coins or saving them for a rainy day, just let it be known that there are a ton of things to do with your loose change no matter how much you have saved.

As always, if I’m missing any ideas, you’re more than welcome to add to the guide via the comments below!

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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