Loose change…it ends up in dryers, sofa cushions, cracks in your car, and random places around your house, and you never actually have it when you need it. Coins, especially pennies, are so invaluable to most people that if they drop one on the ground, they don’t even bother to pick it up. So why do we have so much of it all over the place??
A local owner of a car wash in my town told me they find nearly $50 in change a week in their trash cans. Seriously?! I bet those guys NEVER have to buy lunch! 🙂
So what should you do with your loose change to turn it from trash to treasure? Here’s my best tips on how to store it, where to spend it, and how to build better habits around your leftover coins.
Four Ways To Store Loose Change
1. The Classic Mason Jar
You can buy a change lid like this cute rustic one (it’s the one I have in my laundry room) or just leave the jar open. Or you can give your husband a reason to use his tools that have been collecting dust in the garage by having him cut a slit in a jar lid of an old candle.
Keep it in laundry room, closet, or entryway shelf.
2. A Pretty Little Bowl
This is a great option for you if you have a kitchen island or entryway table that you’re already using as a drop-zone. Add a cute tray to hold handy quick grab items like a box cutter for packages, a pen, your keys, and your man’s wallet, then add your small bowl for change.
You can also save space by just plopping your keys on top of the change in the bowl. It’ll be a constant reminder to take it to the bank.
3. A Modern “Piggy Bank”
You can buy cute ceramic jars with fun sayings on them like Shopping Fund or Starbucks Money online and in big stores like Target and Walmart. I love these from Amazon (above) and bonus points because I don’t have to put on pants to buy them!
4. Freezer Zip-Top Bags
If you’re a lady who loves function over form, skip the cutesy stuff and store your change in a zip-top bag in a drawer in your kitchen or dresser/nightstand. This makes it super easy to take to the bank when it’s full.
Where To Cash In Loose Change
Most banks have change counting machines and charge nothing to use as long as you’re a member. You can deposit that change directly to any of your accounts. I recommend having it put into a savings account exclusively for Christmas, birthdays, or vacation.
Grocery Store Credit
Most grocery stores have these machines in the front of the store. I’ve seen people get enough credit to cover their entire grocery bill, and still get cash back! You do pay a small fee to use these machines but it’s worth the convenience of skipping the trip to the bank.
Make sure you check with your specific store to find out the terms and rules for their change machines, because some don’t give cash back, only store gift cards. And others have limits on how much you can cash in per visit.
Local Charities And Non-Profit Organizations
Charities rely on change for steady income flow. And they don’t mind one bit if someone comes in with a 2 liter bottle full of loose pennies. If you don’t want to deal with cashing out the change at all, consider donating it to a local charity that’s close to your heart. My personal fave is our local animal shelter, where we met and fell in love with our sweet Winston. I owe them a lifetime of donations for bringing us together.
Time For A Challenge!
If you have kids, spend a rainy afternoon going on a “treasure hunt” (or do this as a fun date night with your beau). Check the furniture, closets, coats, laundry room, old handbags and backpacks, car, garage, and junk drawer. Try to find every loose piece of change that’s around your house.
Then let the kids count it up (or help you if they’re not old enough yet) and go buy ice cream from your favorite shop. Then split the rest between the bank and a local charity. This teaches kids all about a healthy balance of spending, giving, and saving.
Check out this post that covers how to store and organize other tiny things, aside from just coins.
And speaking of small stuff, here are my best tips for organizing and storing board games and all their miniature pieces.