Forget Saving...25 Places to Look for Spare Change

by Tisha Tolar on 21 May 2009 26 comments
Photo: Coinstar



While there have been times you may have had to scrounge around the house for spare change to buy milk until payday or to fill up a coin roll, you may be surprised to learn that if you really took a good look around at the spare change hiding in the crevices of your home, you might add it all up to a small fortune. It is estimated that average American has somewhere around $90 of loose change within their grasp. Some of the places to locate that change may be glaringly obvious, but others just may not be on your radar.

Depending on each person's home and habits, there can be money literally anyway. But just for fun, we came up with 25 different places you may be able to spot some spare change that you can turn in to some usable cash.

1. Couch cushions

2. Washing machine

3. Dryer

4. Under your car seats

5. Coat pockets (including the ones hanging in your closet)

6. Pockets of your clothes

7. Purses (active and inactive)

8. Wallets (active and inactive)

9. Old greeting cards (may find a green bill or two in a card from Grandma)

10. Desk drawers

11. Buried in the yard

12. Attic or closet storage boxes

13. Suitcases

14. Under the radiators

15. Under the carpet

16. On top of or under the refrigerator

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

gy banks

18. Junk drawers

19. Old grocery bags

20. Kids toy box

21. Kitchen cabinets

22. Under the porch/deck

23. In the bed

24. In the clothing hamper

25. Old jars/cups

The company, Coinstar, that consolidates your change into dollar bills has been running a promotion to waive their usual 8% redemption fee if consumers consent to exchange their change for merchant gift cards or certificates from participating retailers, such as iTunes, Amazon, Starbucks, Cabelas, and Overstock.com.

Just when you think you may be broke, take a good look around your living space and see what you can find. Make a sport of it for the kids to see who can find the most change. Get into the practice of leaving collection jars in centralized locations like the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and bedroom to make future change collections much easier.

 

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Guest's picture
Guest

Whose going to go dig up their yard to find spare change? LOL Not so much.

Guest's picture
Andi

My family found over $70 in spare change in the couch, in the kitchen catch-all drawer, and in the closets (apparently change had fallen out of clothes?) Who knew there was that much money in the house??

Guest's picture
Guest

Why not take your change to a bank and never pay a percentage? Even if there isn't a branch of your bank nearby, Credit Unions generally do it for free.

Guest's picture
Linda

We convert our change into gc at Coinstar. Usually about $100 a trip twice a year. $200 worth of stuff either we want or need without disrupting our budget!

Guest's picture
Guest

If you have a TD/Commerce Bank near you, they have a "Penny Arcade" that will count your change for free. It gives you a receipt that you bring to a teller to redeem for cash... No fee at all.

Guest's picture
Guest

The title of this article "...25 Places to Look for Spare Change" must have been written before the article itself, and then the author could not come up with 25 so she included things like "buried in the back yard" and "in the bed". These are not practical or useful tips.

Guest's picture
Eliza

This post has to be a joke... this would totally be a waste of time.

Guest's picture

Nope. This isn't a joke. This is the kind of S*** that this guy somehow posts all over the internet.

Most of the time he steals other people incorrect work and posts it as his own.

Tisha Tolar's picture

just a reminder that if you took some time to gather up your change you carelessly toss around the house, into drawers, or have fall out of your pocket, you could end up with a nice gift card you weren't expecting without hurting your budget. 

in your yard, in your bed - sure you can find change there - doesn't mean you have to look if you don't want to.

Thanks for all the comments!

Guest's picture
GT0163C

Unfortunately this won't work at my house. I don't carry change on a daily basis and, in the odd event that I get change from a cash transaction (which are fewer and fewer as time goes by), all my change gets emptied out of my pockets and into jars on my dresser drawer each evening. Once a year it becomes a donation to a charity that I support.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from looking for change that others have dropped. Desk drawers after people have moved to a different location and the floor around vending machines seem to be the best locations.

Guest's picture
Aryan

Love the comment ... Very funny!
1. NO CASH transactions
2. Annual CHARITY
3. Not ashamed of looking for pennies dropped by OTHERS

Hha ha ah aha ha

Guest's picture
Rosa

A local bank that has branches in Cub grocery stores in Minnesota & Wisconsin waives the counting fee if you deposit your Coinstar count into your account there.

We actually did this a couple weeks ago - took my tin of change in and it was $57, enough to cover our weekly groceries.

Guest's picture
Violet

whoa that is half as much i use for 1 trip costco.

Guest's picture
Guest be my

i like the article, but the author forgot to mention that some banks actually have their own coin machines that cost less than Coinstar. Coinstar charges 8.9 cents for every dollar, some other companies charge as little as 4 cents per dollar. this just makes me think that the author gets paid by Coinstar ... don't deny it.

Tisha Tolar's picture

Alas, I am just a freelance writer who happened to see an article about what Coinstar is offering in the way of merchant gift cards...thought people who are not offended by loose change would be interested in reading about it.

I personally don't have experience with banks that will convert change via a machine. All the ones around my way require rolled coin with your account number on it. I suppose you can also go to a casino that still uses money and not tickets to get some cash.

Great point on looking for change around vending machines, but I was only focused on the home. Nothing wrong with finding some on the street too!

Guest's picture
Rachel

I use coinstar, and get an Amazon gift card. I use it to treat myself. You get to keep all the money if you get a giftcard - no percentage taken.

It's kind of embarrassing, though, how loud it is in the grocery store. Does anyone else get nervous to go?

Guest's picture
Olivia

I usually find coins in the dryer. As the owner is unknown by that time it goes into "THE JAR", where it's combined with all other change (grocery shopping leftovers mostly). It's divided amongst the householders for vacation spending.

We use Commerce Bank as well, and their counting machine is free. Being very tightwaddish, I'd rather roll coins than spend 8 cents a dollar for a machine to do it.

Guest's picture
Sandor

My wife and I recently found $400 in bonds while digging through our file drawer looking for something else. There's a lot to be said for labeling your envelopes better. =)

Guest's picture

When my nephew and I had a hauling business sometimes we would clean out and haul away entire living spaces. Before taking the loads to the dump we would go through the many totes and boxes and there would ALWAYS be a handful of change at the bottom, almost as if it was a ritual to throw some in there before closing the lids! Two good places to look away from home are parking lots and the beach.

Debbie Dragon's picture

I agree with you Tisha, I regularly gather up change from all over the house because it does have a tendency to accumulate in weird places.  For fun after reading your article, I put the kids on the task - like a game - and we gathered up close to $60 in change.  Surprisingly, there was change in the bottom of the toy box (I didn't think the kids ever even looked in the toy box let alone PUT THINGS IN IT!), and there was even money found under the bathroom sink.

I like that I can get the gift cards through coinstar right now without paying fees, but because my 6 year old is currently learning to count money I figured it would be good to have him help me roll it up and then we'll deposit it into his bank. 

Thanks for the reminder to look for the hidden money :)

Debbie Dragon's picture

Our last house had central air, and so each room had those metal grate things on the floor.  My toddler used to ALWAYS manage to find some change and it always ended up being put thru the grates of the kitchen floor.  It was like his bank. When I took the grate out to clean it one day, I discovered about $8 in change inside!

Guest's picture

Great article! It is always great when you find spare change lying around your home. And when you take it to your local grocery store which has a Coinstar machine, you can buy groceries with your change! Instead of giving out bills, the Coinstar machine will print out a receipt with the dollar amount value you have accumulated to use for groceries at that store! That's one free grocery trip.

Guest's picture
Guest

Try your bank first! Some won't charge that annoying percentage fee.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for the tips, I looked this page up after searching my house today. In only an hour I found $80.

Guest's picture

You forgot to include vending machines!

Guest's picture
Guest

dont bother with piggy banks or jars to store coins; its 100% easier to count the coins in coin wrappers