No, I'm not referring to infamous internet movie that alleges an inside job behind September 11th. I'm talking about the pennies and other metal legal tender that you find in couch cushions, in the parking lot, or other random nooks and crannies throughout not only your house, but the world in general. You might, like me, collect it and put it in a change jar that looks a little like this:
It is a small pleasure seeing the jar fill up to the tip top. It is after all, money. But you may wonder what to actually do with these full-to-the-brim change jars. You can always cart that change jar up to your local convenience store and buy a bunch of candy, counting out the individual change for the beleaguered cashier. You know, if you are twelve. But for us grown-ups, unless you want the neighborhood to perceive you as either 1) an extremely frugal cheap-skate, or 2) a pauper, there's gotta be another way to maximize the actual cash value from your collected glass-contained fortune. And, as luck would have it, there is.
Even luckier, that solution is NOT one of these. Those machines take 9.8% off the top of whatever you run through them. So if you have fifty bucks in coin, it'll cost you almost $5.00 to get that converted to paper money. If you are not the investor type, let me clue you in: that is a terrible deal.
Instead, do what I do. If you live by a Kroger like me that has a self-checkout, grab a handful of coins out of your jar whenever you go. When it is time to checkout, if you don't have too many items to make it annoying to other customers (don't get me going about proper grocery store etiquette!), go to the self-checkout and scan through all your items. When it comes time to pay, hit the "pay with cash" option and run your loose change into the machine, pennies and all. It might take a minute or two and it looks like (and sounds a little like) you're feeding a slot machine, but it is really not that big of a deal. Once you've run out of loose change, you can then feed bills into it or you do what I do and change the payment option so I can use my debit card to pay off the balance.
I know what you're thinking...that's your tip? Well, yeah it is. I've found that an average "handful" of coins, however you want to describe it, will come out to about $2.00. And that's $2.00 off the top of your bill, and $2.00 more in your checking account than you normally would have had. And all you had to do was utilize a jar of coins that would have ended up sitting there, unutilized or, worse, lost and rescattered from whence they all originally came. Sure, $2.00 isn't much, but it is something. Would you ignore two one dollar bills sitting unclaimed on the ground? Of course you wouldn't. You'd pick them up and spend them on candy.