Coinstar is My Guiding Light.

by J. Money on Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Every now and then I get to fulfill a deepest desire, and last Sunday was one of them! The moment only lasted 4-5 minutes, but the joy I received was immense :)

This brings us to Saving Tip # 3001: Make nice with Coinstar. (UPDATE: Many banks now are offering this service for FREE!  So check there first :)) You know, that big green shiny hunk of a machine found in the front of hundreds of grocery stores (usually next to the sexy lottery machines!)? It’s a little place where saving goes a looooong way. This blingin’ piece of technology eats up all your coinage, then spits out a voucher for cold hard cash! Awesome, right?!

Of course, none of this really matters unless you have plenty of coins to share with it. This shouldn’t be a problem at all though. If you take a few minutes to search around your house, cars, jackets, purses, and even your couch cushions, you’d easily conjure up a nice collection. Or, even better, you can start throwing all your lose change in a central place. I use large funky vases (great for decorating too), or those antique candy bowls to gather them all. Either way, if you save up for a few months, you can come out with a good $30+ easily!

And sometimes, just sometimes, you get mad lucky and come out a huge winner! This is what I ended up with after 6 or so months of collecting. Check it:

Quarters 259 $64.75
Dimes 258 $25.80
Nickels 154 $7.70
Pennies 337 $3.37
Total: $101.62
– 8.9% commission
Grand Total: $92.58!


Now that is what I call some exciting news. Of course if you were truly frugal you could wrap all 1,000+ coins in those bank rolls and come out w/ 100% profit (by taking them to your bank), but you gotta be pretty hardcore for that. It would just kill my motivation in my case.

But there you have it – Take some time out and be pals with Coinstar (or your local bank/credit union). I mean, it’s already your money to begin with, but it FEELS like it’s free! And that’s all that really matters these days :)

PS: Some of my favorite tools:
personal capital Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review
acorns Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelsey December 2, 2010 at 9:43 am

Use the Penny Arcade at a TD Bank if there’s one in your area. They don’t charge a fee, and they allow non TD Bank customers to use it!


2 J. Money December 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm

oh really? that’s awesome! I love when non-customers can use services like this… I remember people mentioning a few other places that did that, but unfort. Blogger wiped out my comments from back in the day before I switched over to WordPress here :( but now I know about TD Bank, so thanks!


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