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The Power Of The Coin

March 29, 2013

“A Penny Saved, Is A Penny Earned.” -Ben Franklin

How often have you been walking into a grocery store and seen a penny on the ground…and left it there? But if that penny would have had the luck to have been a quarter, you would have stopped right then and there and picked it up and screw anyone who saw you. Don’t be ashamed, we’ve all done it.

Is It A Psychological Thing?

Is it the color of the penny that makes us continue walking? Or perhaps the actual value we place on the penny?  In everyday society, most people feel as if the penny is a worthless piece of metal. Did you know that for every quarter you actually find and pick up, you already passed 25 pennies and left them on the ground? (Not an actual stat but I would be a pretty penny that I’m right…and yes, pun intended) And with the way finding random quarters goes, you are more likely to find a $1 bill floating on the wind before you find 4 random quarters on the ground.

Pay Yourself First

One of the most common money saving techniques are the “Pay Yourself First” methods. These can consist of plans such as letting your bank round up your transaction to the next dollar and putting the extra cents into a savings account OR you showing extreme financial discipline and “paying double” for items. An example of the first is Bank of America’s ‘Keep the Change’ program (which I see as a scam to get you to open their terrible savings accounts.) An example of the second method is something along the lines of you paying $5 for lunch, and then putting $5 into your savings. Obviously this does not work with ALL of your expenses but it can be a very good way to make a nice addition to your savings if the proper items are chosen. Try it for a month with anything under $25.  This has the ability to kill impulse buy purchases since you won’t actually be paying $4 for that non-special something and you’ll be paying $8.

Back to the subject though.  Most likely, you are just another standard human when it comes to coins and you either let them accumulate in a jar, a purse, or your couch and then forget about them. Obviously you forgot that coins are still legal tender of the federal reserve. In layman’s terms, it’s still money! Putting back or finding $.25 per day is $7.50 after a month. Yeah that’s not too much, but it’s almost $100 after a year. I pay with cash for goods and services on a daily basis so I always have a decent amount of coins. I average $18 a month actually. That’s not counting the spare change after I partake in a hobby of mine, what might that hobby be you ask? Well, that hobby just so happens to be coin rolling. So, how does an extra $180-240 a year sound?  Sounds like a few free trips to the beach for me!

The Thiefstar machine!

The Thiefstar machine!

What Not To Do With Your Coins

Whenever I see a person dumping possibly hundreds of dollars into a Coinstar machine or something similar, I start to twitch and make weird little noises. Yes, it’s easy. Yes, it’s convenient. NO, IT’S NOT FREE! Coinstar charges you 9.8 cents(USD) and 11.9 cents(CA$) for every dollar you put down its metal mouth. You’re losing almost $10 for every $100 you put in just to let a machine count your money, that’s absolutely ridiculous! $10 for something you are fully capable of doing once a month on a Tuesday night watching TV.

What You Should Do With Your Coins

If you decide to listen to me and follow all of the above information, pick a date and set aside some time on that day every month and count your coins. If you count it all and you want to roll it over to next month because it doesn’t complete a roll then fine, dump it back into your container and recount next month. But even if it isn’t ‘enough’ for you, it would be better to go ahead and roll the coins that can fill a roll. I mean, you already counted it so you might as well roll it. You might think rolling coins is boring or a waste of time, but try taking a jar of coins that’s over $100 to your bank and watch them laugh you out the door. Go spend $4 on a pack of coin wrappers and do them that small favor and save yourself from the humiliation. If you don’t know where you should put this new form of income, you can either put it in your checking account and use it to pay some bills, or better yet, pay some credit card debt off! If you happen to be lucky enough to not have any credit card debt (or just don’t have a credit card) then read this article about High Yield Savings Accounts (coming soon!) and make it work for you as passive income.

How I Got Started 

My dad is an HVAC guy and has been all his life.  Through this profession, he became extremely adept at shaping sheet metal and made me piggy banks that were impossible to open without his metal snips.  When I was but a wee lad, I was obsessed with saving money simply because we never had any and went without multiple every day items.  He also knew I would do anything to count my coins that he gave me multiple times a day if he didn’t lock them all up away from me.  When the time had finally come, we would cut open the box and spill all the contents out onto the dining room table.  We would take all the $1 bills and set them off to the side and then we would each grab a magnifying glass and our old and new coin books and begin to siphon through the ENTIRE pile look at dates and mint marks ready to fill all those coin books.  Anything that wasn’t coin book worthy would be set off to the side to be rolled after we had gone through everything.  I remember the biggest haul we had took us an entire month of nights and weekends to finish up and although I can’t tell you how many coins went into books, I can remember the final number we had in rolled coins and cash: $160.  I thought I was the richest kid in the world.  This would literally span weeks to go through and I rank this time spent with my dad right up at the top along with him being my soccer coach and our hunting trips.  If you want to start your kids out with money the right way and get them interested, I suggest you do something along these lines or even this.

Hopefully this has opened your eyes to the power of the coin and takes your laziness away. Coins are still money and have every bit of power to be the dark horse of your income and the catalyst to your financial dreams.  It won’t make you a millionaire, but it will surely help you along your road.

  1. People should definitely respect coins. They are real money.

    Unfortunately, pennies aren’t money enough for people to care about. Can you buy anything for a penny? They’re a drain on the economy and a waste of time, and I’m all for going the way of Canada and getting rid of them. I don’t even pick them up when I see them on the street.

    I agree about Coinstar, though. It’s a horrible thing. Luckily for me, I’m a member at a credit union that offers a free coin-sorting service. More people should try finding credit unions and banks that have that feature.

    • jberretta permalink

      I suppose I’m sentimental about the penny due to the times with my dad, but I don’t think I would actually care if they did away with it either considering it costs like 6 cents to make them or something like that. I rather drive to your house and roll your coins for you than to use Coinstar though!

      • Jen permalink

        This article is a few years old but I have BOFA & they have a machine their lobby’s that you put your change into & you can deposit it directly into an account or get the cash even with no account. When it started I was in NYC & it was to get children to want to open a savings account. Making it seem “fun” I guess to bring their change into the bank & put it in the machine themselves. When I was in Vegas I don’t recall if they had the machines b/c obviously, Las Vegas has casinos everywhere & some have change machines you can put your coins in yourself or you bring your change to the cage & usually they only require you to have a players card which isn’t a big deal to me. For me the choice of gift cards at coinstar don’t do me any good bcuz if I’m actually bringing my change to a machine to convert to bills then I probably have an emergency situation that I need cash for right away. So yeah Amazon is cool but I don’t have days to wait. But that’s just how I do it. I’d definitely call around to Banks to see if they have DIY machines that dont require accounts or if there are casinos by you.

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