That jar brimming with coins in your house may be able to buy more than you realize. Consider cashing in your coins to help fund holiday gifts or donate to charity.
If you’ve been to a grocery store, you’ve probably noticed the Coinstar machine patiently waiting to gobble up your coins and give you cash back. You may have been tempted to dump the contents of your coin jar into Coinstar’s receptacle, until you noticed the nearly 10% fee. You may have rationalized that you would take your coins to the bank and even have bought a coin sorting machine to make the task easier. But even if you accomplished this task, the temptation of tilting your coin jar at the Coinstar machine remains alluring.
Coinstar waives its 9.8¢ fee for people who cash in their coins in exchange for gift cards at major retailers including Amazon, Apple iTunes Store, Athleta, Starbucks, Regal Cinemas, Gap, Lowe’s, Chili’s, Lands’ End, Old Navy, CVS Pharmacy, Overstock.com and many other stores. You plunk your coins into the machine and get penny-for-penny value for your money at these retailers in the form of a gift card or eCertificate.
Here’s a video of a Coinstar customer who redeemed $2510 in coins for a gift certificate. (He would have paid a $246 fee if he converted those coins to cash.) He was inspired by a friend whose father saved every coin from when he was born until he turned 16, when he had enough to buy a car:
You may have more coins than you think. The average US household has about $90 in coins around the house, according to Coinstar, enough to buy a Kindle!
Coinstar machines are available in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland.
In addition to collecting coins for cash or gift cards, you can also donate your coins to charity. Coinstar provides free coin counting for eight different charity partners. You could donate the coins in your wallet each time you head to the grocery store to contribute to your favorite charity. Even small amounts of coins can add up to make a big difference to someone in need. Charity partners include change making change, The March of Dimes and these six other charities:
Before you head to your local Coinstar machine, check online. Not all Coinstar machines provide every redemption alternative, especially in countries outside the US. Machines may give cash, eCertificates, gift cards, charitable contributions or only some of these choices. Make sure you head to the machine that gives you the redemption choice you want.
If you’re redeeming for an eCertificate or a gift card, make sure to read the fine print. For example, Amazon Coinstar gift cards have restrictions and cannot be used to buy other gift cards or a Prime membership.
Next time you take a walk in the woods and find your lucky penny, save it to redeem with Coinstar. Those pennies can add up to something special for you, a loved one or a charity.
Do you have a coin jar? Have you ever redeemed your coins? Did you use a bank or Coinstar? Let us know in the Comments section below!