Dollars and cents: All those loose coins are worth something

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned

Published on January 18, 2012 with No Comments

You all have one, somewhere. Maybe it’s that little ceramic pig you keep on your shelf.  Perhaps it’s a drawer in your bathroom. Some people use empty mason jars while others fill an unused cup holder in the car.  But wherever you throw your loose change, you need to remember that all those coins are worth something.

 And if you need a tank of gas, to pay your phone bill or some help with your groceries this month, then it might be time to pop the cork and start counting your coins.

In the old days, we’d get some paper coin rolls, count out the coins, roll them up and then take them to the bank to deposit them or turn them into cash.

These days banks, realizing that many customers have serious trouble counting their own coins, process all those nickels and dimes through a machine to get an accurate count of what’s turned in. Of course, you should ask your bank for the fine print on this exchange.  Some banks charge a coin counting fee, or a processing fee, to turn your coins into cash–even if you already know exactly how much you handed over.

What’s your alternative to this? Well, that depends on what you want to do with your coins.

 If you go to your local supermarket, such as the Town and Country Market on Calumet Avenue or Al’s Supermarket on Route 6, you can find a Coinstar machine. These large, difficult -to-miss green machines will count your coins and give you several options for what you want to do with them.

On one hand, you can get a voucher for cash, but there will be a processing fee of a little over one percent. On the other hand, you can choose to use your money for a prepaid gift card for businesses such as Starbucks.  There will be a smaller fee or no fee at all.  

In addition to your standard choices, Coinstar runs deals and bargains on a regular basis. These offers may allow you to skip fees, or give you access to new business prepaid cards for a limited time. Also, Coinstar machines allow you to donate your change to certain charities. If you’re looking for a way to put your coins to work, you can always pour out your jar and give the amount to a worthy cause.

So, if you want to make sure that you don’t have to pay some of your own money in order to spend the rest of it, you should check out all of your options to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

 After all, as credit becomes more ubiquitous and people use their smart phones to pay restaurant bills, those of us who prefer cold, hard cash have to stay on our toes if we’re going to save as many of our pennies as we can.

For more information on Coinstar and to find machines near you as well as current deals and offers from the company, visit For questions, comments or concerns visit us at

Share This Article

About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal:

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on Dollars and cents: All those loose coins are worth something. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.