Sunday, October 01, 2006

CHANGE COUNTS

There was a good article in Newsday's Money & Careers section about people who save change. According to Coinstar, Inc., Americans have an estimated $10 billion in coins accumulating in ashtrays and jars. The average household has about $99 in change sitting around.
I'm an advocate of collecting change. I remember my father doing it. He had a chocolate syrup jar for pennies, a mini safe for dimes, and a coin stacker for nickels and quarters. Back then, coins had to be manually counted and inserted into appropriate sleeves for their denomination, and your account number written on each roll. This changed when Coinstar started putting their coin counting machines in supermarkets across the country. Unfortunately there is an 8.9% fee for using their device. However, some of their counters will give you gift cards to Amazon.com, Borders and other stores at no charge.
Many banks are now utilizing coin counters as a marketing tool, because it brings prospective clients into the bank. It's also a great service for its customers. At my local Commerce Bank branch they have two "Penny Arcades" that are also kid friendly. They talk to the kids and play a guessing game with them. I find that they are easy to use and my kids use them too.
I no longer have to separate my change, and I have a two gallon bottle that I toss my change into every day. It's a great way to build wealth on a small scale. If I am able to lift that bottle when it's full, there will be a good amount of cash coming my way.

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