What To Do With All That Annoying Spare Change

Ever wondered what on earth you should do with all that spare change that’s fallen down the back of the couch?

We all do it. We throw coins into the cup holder in the car to definitely remember to take them out again later, we stash them at the bottom of a bag, put them in a pocket and forget about them forever. Maybe, like me, you have put all your extra coinage in a bowl on the kitchen bench, to be added to until it’s overflowing, but never taken advantage of. Because really, how do you deal with a bunch of coins? It’s not going to add up to much, surely?

I recently tipped all my spare coins onto a table and counted them, cursing the tiny five cent pieces. There was close to $100 in that bowl (plus a bunch of foreign money, a key that I can’t quite place and a few bottle caps). It’s not exactly going to send me on a trip around the world, but it definitely isn’t an amount to laugh at. So, what can you do with these little cold hard pieces of cash?

Make bank with those dollars

Take time out from whatever you’re watching on Netflix and spend a few minutes (or, maybe, half an hour) counting those coins – or at least, separating them into categories. I know, mental maths is difficult, particularly if you’re in the habit of fishing your card out and tapping it on machines when you want something. But, I believe in you. Count them up and throw them into sandwich bags in multiples of ten.

After you’ve counted your treasure (hooray! Free money!) do the most obvious thing and take it to the bank to deposit into your savings account. Do a quick google and find out if your bank has any coin-counting ATMs; you can just throw your coins in there and it will count them up and deposit them. If not, head to your local branch and be very nice to the teller – they should deposit it for you.

Get that caffeine hit

If you’re a one, or two, or three coffees a day kind of person, bring down the coffee bill that you’re racking up on your credit or debit card using those handfuls of spare change. If you buy a latte every day for a year, that’s $1,228 (we know, we did the math).

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I’m going to have a guess and suggest that you probably don’t have a sweet $1k in coins, but even if you have one or two hundred – that’s a big dent in your caffeine habit. Plus, the cafe staff will love you for handing over the correct change.

Donate them to charity

If those coins have been sitting around various corners of the house for months, chances are you don’t really need them. If you’re in a fairly stable financial situation, why not donate them to a local charity? Or, throw a few in your bag or wallet each time you head to the supermarket; there are often tins for local charities on the counters or at the checkout. Keep some to pick up a copy of the Big Issue, or to donate to your mate’s newest charity challenge.

Get a coin purse in case of (minor) emergencies

Okay, perhaps emergencies is a little over the top. But stash some in a purse for those days when you finally get a park in a busy spot – and realise that the parking meter only takes coins. Or when you’re desperate for a drink at the train station and the only option is a vending machine; but, of course, the EFTPOS option isn’t working. Throw a handful in the glovebox of your car, in your desk drawer at work for coffee runs, and in your pocket for emergency snack purchases.

Gather them for a lil trip away

Saving for a vacay can be an absolute nightmare, particularly if you don’t have a significant income or are a little wobbly when it comes to saving. Budgeting for a holiday often includes the important stuff: flights, accommodation, food, tickets to shows – but, we often forget about the spending money.

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Trinkets from each city, clothes, presents for family members. No matter what you spend your cash on when away, it’s great to have some backup spending money; so wait until the week before you head off and deposit your spare change jar at the bank.

Chloe Papas is a journalist and writer based in Victoria. You can find her on Twitter @chloepapas

Lead Image: OTA Photos/Flickr

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