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When I was in middle school, my aunt gave me a large woven basket of change (mostly pennies). At the time, I was thrilled–who doesn’t want free money?! In retrospect, this gift was really her way of getting rid of her copious amounts of loose change while not really having to deal with it. Before you consider hauling your coin stash over to your nearest middle schooler, I offer you some ways of getting your loose change out of your junk drawer and into your pocket:

Rolling Rolling Rolling

  • PROS: no fees, just the cost of paper tubes.
  • CONS: sorting takes time. Perhaps make a deal with the neighbor’s kid to roll it for you for a set rate. You can also make it a once-a-year type of thing (blast tunes, eat your favorite snack foods, and sort nickels from dimes like a mad woman).

Personal Automatic Coin Sorter

  • PROS: save yourself time with one of these electronic babies. Then all you have to do is tube your pre-sorted coinage before taking it to the bank.
  • CONS: these bad boys cost $25 to $50, consider if after your coins are deposited you’ll make money off of your automated investment.

Coinstar

  • PROS: no sorting and rolling!
  • CONS: if you don’t choose a gift card option (or donation option) and go for the cash redemption, you’ll be slammed with fees (10.4%!).

Penny Arcade

  • PROS: if you belong to TD Bank (it’s an East Coast thing, Westerners), you can bring your heaps of loose change into select branches and use their Penny Arcade (same type of contraption as a Coinstar) free of charge, and have the money transferred to your account.
  • CONS: must be near a TD Bank and have a TD Bank account in order to avoid surcharges.

Need some motivation to get your sorting and coin tube stuffing game on? Think of all the things your spare change could contribute to:

  • Holiday Shopping. It could mean $10 to $50+ extra to spend on those you love.
  • Donate It. An extra $5 may mean little to you, but many charities would be thrilled to have that extra cash, not to mention the homeless person in your area.
  • Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt. Baby steps, it takes baby steps.
  • Coffee Time. Remember when the recession first hit, and there were all those articles about how much we spend weekly at the coffee shop? Help fund your addiction with your spare coinage.

Got Foreign Currency Lying Around?

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a place to exchange it, donate it to UNICEF’s Change for Good.

Is there something I’ve missed? Share with us your strategies for kicking the coinage clutter in your home.

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