Since I was a little kid I knew the value of a dollar. My brother still jokes to this day that if I was given a $5 bill, that I would still have that exact bill months later sitting in my wallet.
So it is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I realized the potential of pocket change and started collecting it when I was 14 years old. It really wasn't much at first, but the little I got was tossed into a small bowl hidden in a drawer.
After a couple of years my bowl slowly filled as I grabbed pennies off the ground and collected any change I could find. By the time I turned 18 and got a job, I could really start putting some serious coinage away! My little bowl was getting pretty full and that meant upgrading my coin storage device.
Enter my new 5 gallon water jug. It was massive next to my tiny bowl. To add insult to my measly collection, after the coins were dumped in, the bottom was still visible. But I had a job now, so things would surely improve.
Every time someone saw my collection, I would joke that it was my retirement fund. I always knew it was there as a small safety net and when I went on my 6 month journey around the country, my brother held onto it for me in case I broke down and couldn't afford to get my truck fixed.
But the time has come to cash it in. I don't need the money to support the trip, but rather, I have no place to store it. It has become extremely heavy and very difficult to move. So what do you do with 16 years of fractionated dollars?
Coinstar was my answer. But with a 9.8% counting fee it meant giving a large amount of my savings away, not gonna happen! My brother suggested getting an Amazon gift card, Coinstar excludes the fee as Amazon gives them a kickback. This seemed unlikely at first because I knew there was a large sum there and I rarely shop online, but I really didnt have much choice unless I wanted to hand count it all and take it to a bank.
So I shuffled my coin jug out to the garage and cut the top off. The coins were then placed into 8 one gallon Ziplock bags and taken to my local Coinstar location. It took 4 trips to cash in all my change as each gallon sized bag weighed around 12 pounds.
The machine was pretty straightforward. Dump in your coins and slide them through a small slot while the contraption does all the counting and sorting. When all the counting is through you have the options of being robbed of nearly 10% of your counted collection or receive a credit receipt to one of a few different retailers. I chose an Amazon.com credit as they carried a large portion of the items I needed to pack for my travels.
When the dust settled and the coins were counted, the total was printed on a series of receipts.
1 half dollar
7 dollar coins
For a grand total of.....
wait for it......
Wow, thats a lot of scratch! I am now using that credit to buy much of my needed travel gear on Amazon. As I buy, return, use and abuse the gear I plan to travel with, I will start working on a gear review with reasons I chose particular items, likes/dislikes and how they are holding up.