7 Things to do With Your Spare Change

by Matt B

CoinsWe all have spare change lying around.  The car, the couch, the washing machine and the couch are usually the best places to find unused coin.  Some people horde their change until it is too heavy to move.  Others may just pick it up here and there and use it for everyday expenses.  Whatever the case, this unused money is often a very small windfall and you should use it as so.

How Much Change do you Have?

According to Coinstar, INC. (the operator of all of those coin counting machines you see in the grocery store) the average U.S. household has over $90 lying around the house.  That is a pretty big number if you ask me.  So, if you have all of your expenses covered and decide to collect some of this cash, what should you do with it?  I say, enjoy it.  After all, it is money you have earned, but have not yet allocated to anything in particular.  Here are some ideas for your collected change:

  • Fun Money:
  • Use it as “Date Money”

    $90 sounds like a mighty fine dinner or a night out with friends.  I said you should enjoy the money, why not enjoy it with someone close to you?  If you can dig up a nice chunk of change every month or two, it could strengthen your relationship (if used for a hot date).

    Take the Kids Out

    This choice may not apply.  If it does, let the kids rummage for coins and help them roll or organize them.  It is a great opportunity for you to teach them about money in a fun way.  Once everything is done, use the money to take them out for ice cream or the local go-kart track.  There is no better way to interest them in money than to show them how a little can go a long way.

    Pamper Yourself

    When saving money or under a strict budget, it is often hard to allow yourself to get some money all to yourself.  Get a massage, get your nails or hair done, or take a road trip to that store you love that just happens to be a two hour drive.

  • Charity/Goals/Hobbies:
  • Take it to the Fountain

    Charity is never a bad idea, especially for “found” money like your change.  Your local wishing well or fountain may be giving to a cause you can get behind.  If you do not know where this money goes, pick a cause that means something to you and take your spare change to them.  Whether it is $5 or $500, they will be grateful.  And you will have done a good deed.

    Dump it into Savings

    While maybe not my idea of fun, maybe you are packing away every cent possible.  If this is the case, do not let your change sit around the house, put it into your savings account and earn at least a small return on it.

    Pay on Debt

    If you are using the Snowball method to relieve your debt obligations, you know that every extra dollar you can spare gets put toward your debt repayment.  If you are die-hard with this method, do not let your spare change become an exception.  The faster you are out of debt, the better.  This may be priority #1 to your goals.  If this is the case, pay it down!

    Find “Rare” and Misprinted Coins

    It is fairly simple to take a few minutes out of your busy day to sort through your coin stash and try to find coins that may be worth more than face value.  Misprints, old coins or rare coins could end up in your change, leaving you with nothing but opportunity.  Maybe before you spend it, you take a closer look at it.

    Whether you are using your “found” money on savings, debt, yourself or others, remember that this money is likely not part of your budget.  That means, you can do as you please with it.  Make sure you are doing it for something you enjoy.  Make yourself smile.  And maybe wear some gloves when your ransacking your nasty couch crevices.

    Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik through Flickr

    { 1 trackback }

    What’s Sizzling? – July 17th Edition
    July 17, 2009 at 11:36 am


    Miranda July 15, 2009 at 7:01 am

    We use our change to pay our son’s allowance. It’s perfect, since it can be paid in such a way as to help him set money aside for tithing and for savings, in addition to spending money.

    Matt Jabs July 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I save change then me & my wife use it for vacation spending (just gets deposited into our IND Direct “Vacation Fund”.

    Just make sure whatever you do… do NOT use Coinstar. They charge you like 10% and your local bank will do it for free! 🙂

    Enjoy your change!

    mattb July 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks Matt. I do not know how I failed to mention that.

    9%!!! Are you kidding me…I’ll give you this hundred dollar bill for $110…haha!

    Stephanie PTY July 15, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Some charities actually do coin drives or coin “wars” to raise money – find out if your favorite charities do anything like that, and then you can take the change directly to them without having to count it or turn it into cash first!

    oneadvice July 16, 2009 at 5:37 am

    ^^ Yes CoinStar do charge – I would rather go to the bank and get some plastic wallets and count it up myself – and imagine on how I can spend the extra cash….
    I like the idea of pampering myself for ‘free’ – think I would go with that one!

    Megan July 24, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I have been putting of a visit to the local spa for ages. I am sure a coin hunt at home will turn up enough money for a nice pedicure! Thanks for the wonderful tips.

    bob November 28, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    “Use your change to start or add to your savings account. You can make a deposit each month with all of your spare change (giving it the chance to earn interest once deposited into an interest-bearing account), or you can wait and make your deposits once or twice a year to get a larger amount to deposit at a time.”

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