by Joan Rattner Heilman, AARP Bulletin, August 10, 2010
Like many of us, you may throw your spare change into a jar, hoping it will take you out to dinner one day. When the jar is full, you lug your loot to a coin-counting machine for conversion into paper money.
If you use the Coinstar machines commonly found in supermarkets, banks and other commercial establishments, you’ll pay a 9.8 percent fee for the convenience of not counting and rolling the coins yourself.
But here’s a way to get full value for your money: Select an option to load the coins onto a gift card that’s good at amazon.com, CVS, Borders, Old Navy, Lowe’s, JCPenney, Starbucks and other big retailers. The same holds if you donate it to a major charity, such as the American Red Cross, the World Wildlife Fund, UNICEF or the March of Dimes. Go to coinstar.com to locate a machine with these free options in your neighborhood.
Also, if you scout around, you may find other places to swap your coins without paying a fee. These include some credit unions, casinos and banks—for example, TD banks on the East Coast and BankAtlantic in Florida—but sometimes only if you’re a customer.
Joan Rattner Heilman writes often on good deals and where to find them.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 20% on purchases or $20 when they spend $79.99 or more.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from identity theft.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at