Dealing with an Excess of Coins

Coins can be a pain, and I've talked to a few people who really don't know what to do with them.

I used to carry a special change purse around. It was pocket sized, and every time I would buy something I'd open the purse and see if I could lose some coin and make exact change. But it's tedious.

I figured out a better way to get rid of coins, but it only works if you shop at a grocery store with self check-out. What you can do is keep your coins in a jar or something at home, but whenever you go grocery shopping, dump the coins (or a handful, if you're really overflowing) into your pocket before you go. When you check out, insert all of the coins, even if it's 200 pennies. The system will not complain; it will just count it up and give you your correct change. If you've got a huge penny jar or coin collection, this is a good way to make a dent in it.

There are also commercial machines that will give you bills for coins, but they take a cut.

I've also implemented my meat credit system, with made-up numbers.It's basically a dollar per egg or piece of chicken, two dollars for a small burger patty, etc. Coins go into a box in my kitchen, which, once per year, I'll open and count and donate.

Foreign coins pose a different problem. They often can't be changed at money changers. What does one do with them?  My solution for this is to have a special box for foreign cash. Each currency (Euros, pesos, etc.) gets its own clear ziplocking plastic bag. I put the cash in the bag. I also put an index card in there with the country name on it, so I can quickly flip through the bags to see what's from where. Whenever I leave the country, I open the box and take the baggie with the foreign cash I'll need.

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Daniel said…
I solved that except for pennies by use of your recommended change purse (amazing tip) so I always have the change around, and then I use it when I want to buy something from a vending machine. Paying for stuff in dimes wipes out your change really fast.
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