Have you ever taken the time to think about all the loose change that’s scattered around your house or somewhere in your car? All those dimes and quarters seem to keep multiplying, and you don’t know what to do with them. It’s so easy to assume that there isn’t much use for them anymore, but you’d be surprised by all the things you could do. So, in this article, we’ll be looking at a couple of smart things, you can do with that chunk of pocket change.
16 Best Things To Do With Pocket Change
1. Take it to a coin counting machine
Coin counting machines are probably the most common way of exchanging coins. If you’ve been to the grocery store, you’ve probably had an encounter with coin-counting machines.
The process is simple too. You only need to drop your change in, then the machine counts them, and you receive a voucher that you’ll trade with a cashier at the store.
The only catch is you have to pay a fee, and Coinstar, being the most popular and accessible brand, charges an 11.9% service fee. But if you don’t need the cash, Coinstar offers other alternatives.
You can choose to trade your coins for an e-gift card instead, and when you do the fee is waivered. If you don’t want the cash for yourself though, you can donate it to a number of organizations working together with Coinstar, and every cent goes towards your donation. Charitable donations are tax-deductible, and so it would be wise to hold onto your receipts.
2. Use your pocket change while you’re out
There are plenty of public places that still accept and even encourage the use of coins. So having a small pouch of loose change with you comes in handy when you’re out.
If you don’t have a washer and dryer of your own, for example, keep your spare change available for the laundromat. With a few quarters, you can buy your laundry detergent and dryer sheets, and pay for the washer and dryer.
Keeping spare change in your car also comes in handy when you have to pay for parking meters or pay the road tolls. Just try and keep it out of sight. You don’t want people being tempted by a big pile of change as they peer through your car window.
Another place you can use your loose change is in public transportation. So make sure you have some on you before you catch the next bus.
3. Tip with your pocket change
You could always drop some of your spare pocket change in the tip jar at the counter as you get your morning caffeine fix in the coffee shop, or when getting take out. Regardless of the amount, it’ll surely be appreciated.
Tipping with coins is also less stressful for people working at the counter. Instead of paying for your purchases with spare change, use them to tip.
Tips don’t need to be counted right there and then, especially when there’s a long queue of people who need to be served.
4. Go through self-checkout
Using the self-checkout lane is another way you could use your loose change, without slowing down a check-out line or taking up a lot of the cashier’s time.
If you go through the self-service cashier line, while grocery shopping, you can feed spare change into the machine and pay for your own purchases. The machine doesn’t really care about how many coins you use, so no one needs to be inconvenienced unless there’s a line behind you.
Yes, you can pay for the purchases at the regular check-out lines, but there’s usually a line of people who get annoyed because they have to wait for you to count your change. There are less people waiting at the self-service line, and you can easily feed the coins into the slot to pay for your items and be on your way.
5. Hit up the vending machine
Although some vending machines no longer accept coins, a majority still do. Use some of your coins to buy a snack or a drink the next time you spot one. Even if you don’t want to have it right away, you can save it for later on.
You could even pick something up for someone else. They’ll appreciate it for sure.
6. Start a swear jar
Using a swear jar can help you and others change a few unwanted behaviours. Whether it’s using cuss words, or some other bad habit, using the swear jar can help you do away with it.
The amount to be dropped in the jar for each incident can be decided and once the habit is broken, you can use the collected money to do something fun and exciting.
7. Open a savings account
You can always use your change to start a savings account or add to it. This seems like a bit of a stretch, but it’s possible.
If you don’t already have one, open a high yield savings account and strive to save up to three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Each month you can make a deposit with all your loose change, giving it a chance to earn interest, or you can wait and make deposits once or twice a year to get a larger amount to deposit at a time.
So when the piggy bank gets full, roll the coins and head to the bank. Most banks don’t have a minimum deposit to open an account, and you can put as much or as little as you’d like over time.
8. Save for holiday gifts
You could always set aside your loose change for a holiday gift fund. And as the holidays approach, you’ll already have a head start on your holiday shopping budget.
You might actually have enough to hit the stores and purchase a thoughtful gift or two for your loved ones.
9. Create a vacation fund with your pocket change
Does saving for vacation seem impossible? It doesn’t have to be. Start small. You can open a vacation savings account and deposit whatever spare pocket change you have into it.
You might not make enough at the end of the year to fly to a tropical island, but with a little more patience, a time will come when you’ll have enough to go for that well-deserved and long-awaited holiday paradise.
10. Teach your kids about savings
Why not turn your spare pocket change savings plan into teachable moments for your kids. Offer them an allowance whenever they go above and beyond with their chores and they could save up and buy something they’ve wanted for a while or even encourage them to donate to a children’s charity.
You could also decide to save as a family. The parents and kids can all place their change in a jar and save it to do something fun, such as buying tickets for a movie or spending the day in the amusement park.
During the process, the kids get to learn a valuable lesson on the value of saving and making a sacrifice for a greater reward.
11. Start a college fund
With college tuitions costing thousands of dollars a year, spare pocket change isn’t going to make much of a dent. But don’t lose hope just yet. You can use your first round of change to open a 529 college savings plan.
A lot of plans allow you to open an account for as little as $25. Imagine that. Make a point of researching plans in various states to find a college savings plan with contribution plans that agree with your budget.
It’s not uncommon for families to use the piggy bank strategy to save for their kids’ college. And the best part about it is, your children learn about budgeting as well.
For instance, you could get a piggy bank that splits money into separate funds, such as, save, spend, donate and invest.
12. Donate to charity
Researching charities that support causes you believe in is another great idea. And all year long, you can save your spare change with that charity in mind. And at the end of the year, roll those coins and donate them. Many non-profits are happy to take coin donations.
So which charities, in particular, will accept loose change donations? Charities will accept any type of monetary donation for the most part. The organization would much prefer a check or credit card donation, but they aren’t going to reject your money or your efforts.
There are even charities that specifically solicit loose change or pennies. Searching online for penny charities will show you the many options to choose from.
Select a charity that is meaningful to you and your family. Support a cause that’s close to homes, such as an animal charity, a local food pantry, or a project that seeks to improve the community.
If there aren’t any local groups to support, go national or even global. You could help so many people with your contributions however small.
13. Pay down debt using your pocket change
Your loose change can help you pay off debt faster. Each time you get enough change to match a credit card payment, cash it in and send a double payment to your creditor.
An alternative would be to save it over a longer period of time and make a larger payment all at once to one of your creditors. It might not be much, but it does contribute to chipping away at the overwhelming debt.
14. Use it when the tooth fairy visits your home
If you have kids, you may need to have money around in case one of them loses a tooth. They’ll be overjoyed with having a few coins being left behind for them especially the young ones.
Most kids don’t expect the tooth fairy to pay with a debit or credit card. So having a few pennies here and there will help you out here.
15. Sponsor someone in the checkout line
Make someone’s day a little brighter with a random act of kindness. Use it to pay the bill of the person standing in line behind you at the coffee shop. If you’re going to the grocery store, deposit your spare change and take it with you as you head out and observe as people check out.
And when you spot someone with a grocery bill that’s roughly the same amount of your spare change deposit, offer to pay their bill. If you collect change in your car, use it to pay the toll for the driver behind you.
Such random acts of kindness really boost the mood of both you and the recipient. No one will expect it, everyone will remember it, and you’ll feel great about doing someone nice for someone without expecting anything in return.
16. Buy a stock or two from your pocket change
With all the coins that you drop in jars, or that are lying around all over the place for years, it would be a nice idea to cash in the money at regular intervals and buy a stock or two in various companies.
The stocks could pay dividends which you can decide to reinvest and just like that, you’ve transformed your spare change into a growing investment.
As you can see, there are so many ways you could make use of those coins that you have no idea what to do with. Although some places no longer accept coins, there are places that still do. So don’t disregard them just yet.
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