For many many years, since I was a kid, I’ve kept a coin jar for collecting loose change. Piggy banks are boring, you can’t see what they hold inside! Coin jars rock. You can see your hoarded coins accumulate and shake them around hunting for the right coin to suit your needs. My jars sit in my closet, and each day I add whatever silver is in my pocket to the smaller of the two jars, and segregate pennies into the larger jar. The silver jar sees a lot of traffic, both in and out, as the whole family would routinely fish for quarters to help pay for a day’s lunch or bus fare. But the pennies just accumulated. Once in the jar, there’s never any real reason for a penny to come back out. Until today.
Today I acted on a notion that I had since the start of the year, that maybe it’s time to dump the coins, turn them into more practical funds, and give each jar a fresh start. So here’s how that went.
First, upon hearing of my plan, daughter Colleen asked if she could first help herself to quarters from the silver jar. I dumped the jar and gave her some time to hunt and gather quarters as I bagged the rest of the coins. She managed to scoop up $11 in the process. The remaining silver and all of the pennies, now dumped into plastic bags for transport, headed to the local grocery with me for tallying in the Coinstar machine. Now back in the day, I remember the burdensome chore of getting paper coin rolls, carefully counting out all of your coins and rolling them, and then having to write your bank account number on every single roll, just so you could deposit them in the bank and make some use of your excess coinage. It was a lot of work and hassle, and that’s probably why I haven’t bothered in so long. Coinstar machines will sort and tally your coins for you, and then you have three options; receive a cash voucher (after a 10.9% fee), or without fees you can get the full amount on a gift card, or donate the full amount to charity. But I was in this for the cash, and figured the fee was worth it.
Here’s my tally:
$ 6.50 – 26 Quarters
$25.90 – 259 Dimes
$ 7.50 – 150 Nickels
$21.79 – 2,179 Pennies
$ 6.72 Service Fee
There were a few coins rejected by the Coinstar machine, all legitimately so. They were 10 Japanese Yen, 1/2 Swiss Franc, 1 Czech Koruna, and 2 Irish Cents.
I did a bit of shopping with my newly flush wallet. And then at home, I gave both of my coin jars a nice scrubbing, and filled them each with my newly acquired change totaling $1.33. That was after spotting I had a commemorative issue Virgin Islands Quarter which was removed for placement in one of our state quarter collection folders.
The idea occurs to me too late for this year, but in 2015 I’ll plan on starting the year with empty jars in order to tally exactly how much pocket change I accumulate in a year. That will be exciting won’t it?? Stay tuned! (and hope I remember).