Most of us have a stash of coins somewhere in our home. It could be a change jar, a drawer, or even a pile of the jingly, jangly stuff sitting on a window sill. You save it because, well, it’s money, but also because it’s a pain to carry around and actually use. Here’s what to do with that massive coin stash.
Take It to the Bank
All those five cent and 20 cent pieces would probably be a lot more useful in your savings account. Most banks now let you make instant coin deposits at select ATMs. In other words, there’s no need to line up and speak to a human bank clerk like it’s 1988.
If you want spending cash for your wallet, you can also trade your coins for bank notes during your bank’s opening hours. You might be surprised by the number of $20 bills your shrapnel jar adds up to!
Off the grid? Some banks will accept coins or let you use their counting machine if you don’t have an account with them. However, they usually charge a fee for the service which can be up to 10 per cent of the total value of the coin deposit.
Swap it for notes at the Pokies
If you’d rather not deal with banks, your local pub might be able to step in when it’s open. Poker machines are pure evil, but their proprietors will usually exchange your “winnings” for bank notes; no questions asked. Obviously, this only works if your coins match the domination spat out by their machines which tends to be $1 coins. Still, if you have a ton of gold lying around this is an easy way to get rid of it.
Organise It and Actually Use It
In a world where everything is paid for with a credit card or smartphone app it’s easy to forget that coins are still usable tender. It might be time consuming, but you can organise all those coins into different spending categories that make sense for you.
For example, you can turn some of it into a coffee fund or snack bank you keep on your desk at work. Or you can separate coins so you always have a stash ready for bus fares, toll booths, laundry machines and so on. You might end up with a “useful” and “not useful” pile, but you can eventually get that “not useful” pile counted and exchanged later.
You can also bring your coin jar into a supermarket and use it to buy a big batch of groceries – while merchants are not legally obligated to accept your coins, most cashiers will dutifully count them anyway. (We advise not doing this during busy shopping periods when you’ll be holding up the line.)
If you don’t feel like dealing with it at all, there are plenty of charities that would gladly take your change and make things easier on you. You can take your change and fill up one of those donation boxes you see in supermarkets or at a fast food drive-thru. Or you can drop off a jar at a local charity, Salvation Army, community center or religious institution if you so choose.
Additional reporting by Chris Jager.
This article has been updated since its original publication.