Monday, April 12, 2010
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.