What’s the Best Way to Cash in Loose Change for Free?

How To

Unless you manage to pay for absolutely everything with credit and debit, chances are you’re going to gather loose change throughout your day.

A penny here, a quarter there, and before you know it, you’ve got more coinage than Scrooge McDuck.

If you’re like most people, you’ll want to get rid of those annoying things as soon as possible.

Because while we know it’s money, we’d prefer it in a more convenient form than “giant jar of shiny things.”

The less likely our money could crash down to the floor at 4 AM and scare everybody into peeing the bed, the better.

So what’s the easiest, most cost-effective way of ridding yourself of loose change?

Let’s find out together.

Here are a few tried-and-true methods, along with the pros and cons of each because nothing in this world is polite enough to be perfect.

Coin Counting Machines

Chances are, you’ve seen these things at your local grocery store or bank, usually under the name “Coinstar.”

Simply drop your coins into the slot and the machine counts them all up for you.

You receive a handy-dandy money voucher afterwards, condensing all your heavy metal money into one, easy-to-store piece of paper.

PRO: The machine counts up all your coins for you. Other than getting yourself to the store or bank, you don’t have to do anything!

CON: You have to use your voucher at the store, so forget about holding onto it for the next time you’re on vacation and need spending money.

Also, unless you elect to put your money into a store-specific gift card, you will likely lose 8-10% of your fortune to fees.

Rolling Them Yourself

This should be pretty self-explanatory — pick up some coin rollers and roll the change up yourself.

PRO: It’s 100% free. Even the rollers should be free, as a banker will likely give you a bunch of spare ones if you ask politely.

CON: It all depends on how good you are with neatly organizing bits of metal into little paper tubes.

If you have tons of coins and clumsy hands, this could end up being an all-day project, and an unfortunate waste of time.

Hiring Someone to Roll Them

If your schedule is simply too tight to roll coins yourself or go to the store and have a machine do it, you can always pay a friend or neighbor to do it.

PRO: You literally don’t have to do anything but collect the rolls afterwards.

CON: Unless you can turn this into one of your child’s chores, then you have to pay somebody to do this each and every time, which means you now have less money and kind of defeats the purpose of this exercise.

Besides, there’s always the sad-but-true possibility your hired help will quietly skim a little bit off the top for themselves.

Buy a Coin Separator

Since most stores would frown on you stealing their coin machine, why not buy a miniature version for your home?

Just pick up some rollers, place them in the appropriate slots, and the separator will automatically slide the coins right in. Depending on the model, it might even seal the roll for you!

PRO: It separates everything and rolls it all for you, and charges no fees.

CON: Unfortunately, you still have to buy the machine, and if you have a huge project involving jars upon jars of coins, a top-of-the-line separator could run you several hundred bucks.

Luckily, if you only have a few coins and aren’t constantly building up more, a basic machine will only run you about 15 bucks.

Buy Stuff with Them

Of course, you COULD just use the coins as money, which they technically still are. Simply bring what you need to the counter, pay the clerk, and enjoy all your new-found stuff.

PRO: There’s no need to roll anything, and nobody’s going to charge you extra for paying with coins instead of paper or plastic.

CON: You have to constantly count your coins before using them, which gets old fast.

And while you theoretically could dump all your change on the counter and make the clerk count out what they need, don’t do that.

Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.


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