Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pocket change

Almost everyone struggles with their accumulated pocket change. Nothing makes this fact more apparent than that people are willing to pay Coinstar 8.5% to turn their coins into usable cash. There are alternatives, though. First, if you live near a Chevy Chase bank, they have Coinstar-like Change Express counters that turn coins into paper money, and they charge no fee - even for non-Chevy-Chase customers! Second, an idea from the pages of Real Simple: Use your coins to buy stamps from the vending machines at the Post Office. Finally, something I just discovered: Coinstar waives their fee if you turn your coins into gift cards at select merchants; right now the options are Starbucks, Hollywood Video, or Pier 1. If you spend money in those places anyway, that's probably the best alternative of all; certainly Coinstar can't be beat in terms of convenience. (The machines that can dispense gift cards don't seem to be widely deployed yet, but that's probably just a matter of time.)


  • Commerce Bank does the same thing with a "Penny Arcade" machine. It feels like playing a Price is Right game.

    By Anonymous Rich, at 8:30 PM  

  • Does anyone know a place in Chicago that does this?


    By Blogger Jaz, at 7:59 AM  

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