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3 gallons of $change$
January 5, 2006 7:44 PM   Subscribe

For years I have been tossing all my loose change into a 3-gallon water cooler jug. Its almost full. It is not filtered for quarters to do laundry or car washes. How much $$ is in it? What's 3 gallons of change worth? A trip to Best Buy or to Europe?
posted by freeflytim to Grab Bag (40 answers total)
 
Coinstar says 1 gallon is worth around $228, so $675-700 would be a starting point.
posted by milkrate at 7:52 PM on January 5, 2006


I got $250 out of a piggy bank a little bit smaller than a gallon. It had lots of quarters.
posted by Brian James at 7:52 PM on January 5, 2006


I had $170 in three jars, so I'd say you're looking at a small fortune. Coinstar lets you get gift cards without deducting a percentage of the money.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:52 PM on January 5, 2006


Well, you're not gonna know until you bring it and have it changed, but my old boss made me count his change once a few years ago. It was a 5-gallon water cooler jug, filled about 1/3 of the way, and there was over $800 in it. I couldn't believe it.

Oh, and you didn't ask, but if there's a Commerce Bank in your area, bring it there to have it counted - I've never used them, but from what I understand, there's no fee for using their coin machines, and non-customers can use it (I once asked a friend at random who is a teller there). Dont use anywhere that charges you a fee to do this - last I noticed, the Coinstar in my supermarket charged 8%. Its silly to use that when you can find a free place with a little searching.
posted by AlisonM at 7:53 PM on January 5, 2006


Oh, and before you all think that my old boss is a total jerk, I worked in the accounting department of a small arena, and dealt with change all the time, and we had those coin counting machines, so it really wasn't a big deal. Maybe you have a friend with a similar job? Offer to take him/her out to dinner in exchange for running your coins maybe? I'd do it if someone asked me (if I still worked there).
posted by AlisonM at 7:55 PM on January 5, 2006


I get about $30 each time I fill my change container (1 pint)

that would be roughly $720
posted by zerokey at 7:55 PM on January 5, 2006


This says a 5-gallon bottle had $1,352. So each gallon would be $270.40. Times three: $811.20. Of course, consider all the different amounts and blah blah blah.
posted by daninnj at 7:56 PM on January 5, 2006


When you do figure out how much you, report back!

Was at the local art gallery the other day, an "exhibition" consisted of a $10,000 pile of pennies. Seemed like a very unwiedly way to carry money around. Should have taken a picture of it the next time I want to convey to RPG people how large/small a pile of a million coppers is.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:00 PM on January 5, 2006


I can confirm the Commerce Bank comment from above. I go there about twice a year to cash in my change with no fees.

Here's a good article about the bank from Fast Company.
posted by szg8 at 8:08 PM on January 5, 2006


I'm in a similar boat. I have a 5-gallon water cooler jug that is about 30% full of change. I figure that I've been saving for about two years. I would estimate that I put about $1 in every day. In actuality, it's probably closer to $1.25, but let's assume the worst case and say it's $1.

So, that would mean that I have about $730.

A bit of algebra would reveal that, based on my calculations, a 5-gallon jug holds about $2430, and your 3-gallon jug holds about $1458.

A couple assumptions -
1) I'm assuming my jug is a 5-gallon jug. It's a standard-sized Deer Park jug, which I 've always assumed is 5 gallons.
2) I don't know what you mean by "not filtered for quarters." Here, I'm assuming that you mean "it has all of my change, including the quarters."

As far as Best Buy or Europe - it's really your call. It could certainly pay your airfare and buy you some good times, but you would probably have to supplement it with some of your other income to make for a truly complete European vacation. On the other hand, if you took it to Best Buy, you could no doubt get some sort of awesome technogadgetry that would make you the envy of all your friends, at least for a little while.

As for myself? I call my jug the "Desperation Stash," as in, "Do not spend unless you reach a state of desperation." Since I don't plan on ever being desperate, the idea is that once I fill this one up, I'll start on another.

Who knows, maybe if I have kids I'll use it to start their college fund or something.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:09 PM on January 5, 2006


There must be a catch on the coinstar gift cards for no fee. What am I missing?
posted by rdr at 8:10 PM on January 5, 2006


(I should also mention that I live in NYC, and most of my change winds up being in quarters. Don't quite know why that is.)
posted by Afroblanco at 8:12 PM on January 5, 2006


I third the free-to-all Commerce Bank idea. Plus, they let you play a little game. If you guess within a certain amount (I think it's 1.00) how much money you have before it's counted, you win a fabulous prize!!

(it's a Commerce Bank pen ;)
posted by iconomy at 8:12 PM on January 5, 2006


Haha, kind of off topic once more, then I'll stop, really. (I don't know why I'm suddenly obsessed with this thread)...

(I should also mention that I live in NYC, and most of my change winds up being in quarters. Don't quite know why that is.)

I am also in NYC, and I ALWAYS make it so I get quarters back. Some people use change so they get no change back, I get quarters (if something comes to $4.53, I'll give $5.03 so I get back 2.) Why? Because I have a cup for the laundromat on my dresser. I have no idea why I'm obsessed with doing this, expecially since I can just get change at the laundromat just as easily. Maybe its because loose change isn't "real" money (in my mind), but if I have to change a $10 bill at the laundromat, I'm all, "damn, I spent $10 doing laundry today!"

Ok, really. I'm done. And yes, come back and let us know how much was in there!
posted by AlisonM at 8:16 PM on January 5, 2006


I believe that you can use a Coinstar machine and not incur that crazy fee if you apply the money toward an Amazon gift certificate. In case that option would be easier, since they sell just about everything on Amazon anyway.
posted by apple scruff at 8:17 PM on January 5, 2006


rdr: I assume the "catch" is that Coinstar gets a kickback/discount from the company whose gift card it is. So instead of Coinstar paying $50 for a $50 gift card, Coinstar only has to pay, say, $46 for it. If they say it's no fee to you, it probably is. Also, the gift cards might expire in only X number of years, unless you're in a state where that's illegal.

Also, it's not just Commerce bank that has free change counting machines. I know that Chevy Chase Bank does it as well. But since they're just in the Washington, DC/Baltimore area it may not help you. Just look around at the banks that are in your area.
posted by skynxnex at 8:20 PM on January 5, 2006


My husband has a habit of dumping all the change from his pockets onto his dresser and then he promptly forgets about it. Once a week I sweep the dresser while cleaning out bedroom and dump all of the change into a 1 gal metal container.

Once or twice a year I take the money to Commerce bank, (usually when the container gets full) cash it in for free and use it for extra cash when we go on vacation.

(and it's really come in handy during those times in the past when the week has been long and the money's been short.)

The most I've ever received back from cashing in the change was $ 400 something and change.
posted by obeetaybee at 8:22 PM on January 5, 2006


Dang it, It don't *need* to cash the change in... The jug sits at the door and has been a point of debate for awhile with friends. I was hopeing to prove them wrong, but I guess it is not as much $$ as I thought it was. Dang it!
posted by freeflytim at 8:22 PM on January 5, 2006


I am also in NYC, and I ALWAYS make it so I get quarters back. Some people use change so they get no change back, I get quarters (if something comes to $4.53, I'll give $5.03 so I get back 2.)

Heh, I do the same thing. That would explain the surplus of quarters.

I also follow by the logic that loose change isn't "real money," which is probably what makes it so easy to save. It's like I don't even notice that it's gone.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:22 PM on January 5, 2006


Best Buy or to Europe? well....

How about Las Vegas!!!
posted by rabbitsnake at 8:23 PM on January 5, 2006


I just don't get it - if you want quarters so bad, why not just go and "buy" rolls of quarters from your bank? Especially if you're gonna go into Commerce anyway? I get $50 in quarters once a year - it takes all of two minutes at the teller. That said, I'm pissed I'm in Cambridge and there aren't any Commerce Banks here. One of the very few things I miss about New York. (Small text 'cause it's just totally off topic but I wanted to rant anyway.)
posted by sachinag at 8:39 PM on January 5, 2006


I tossed all my pocket change into a 5 gallon water bottle for years and when it was full, it had over $1400! I had also been separating most of the quarters and rolling them about every 6 months, so not many were inside the bottle.

I'm sure you have a nice little "booty" there. The problem was getting that heavy sucker out of the closet, where it "lived for a few years, and how to get the coins out. That's where a teenage son came in very handy. :-) The next problem was where to take them and how to get the coins cashed in for maximum value. The Coin Star - type "spinners" at the markets take at least 10%, so it will cost you in the end unless you can find some kids to roll LOTS of coins while watching TV. :-) Enjoy!
posted by thebarron at 8:45 PM on January 5, 2006


I had the exact same size container, full to about where the jug starts curving in towards the opening, and it netted me a cool $220
posted by Hildago at 8:52 PM on January 5, 2006


Yeah, the jug is WAY heavy. My bank sorts change for free for customers, 8% for non. But it would take a hand truck to get it down the street. My jug is a conversation piece that I kinda wanna keep now since its not as much $$ as a I thought it was. :-(
posted by freeflytim at 9:14 PM on January 5, 2006


Just out of curiosity, how much did you think was in it?
posted by mr.dan at 9:54 PM on January 5, 2006


Errr...rolling coins? Going to a special bank? Do I have the wrong year here?

I live in small town, USA, and bank at a small time Credit Union. If you roll coins, and give them to them, they unroll them and stick them into a sorting machine that seperates them into individual bags. They get a little print out of how many of what coins and the total. There is of course, no charge because they are my bank. No idea if they'd charge a non-member.

Any bank can do this, you don't need a special bank for it. Just go into your bank, and they'll take care of it. Bring the whole Jug. Bet the tellers would get a kick out of guessing how much was in it.
posted by Phynix at 10:44 PM on January 5, 2006


I was guessing $2500 but it looks like from posts here that its more like around a grand. Yeah, still good *free* money, but kinda not worth the effort of saving it for all these years!
posted by freeflytim at 10:54 PM on January 5, 2006


Yeah, still good *free* money, but kinda not worth the effort of saving it for all these years!

What effort, though? Say you spent that money instead of saving it. Probably wouldn't have made an appreciable difference in your quality of life, and you'd be less about 1-1.5K right now.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:01 PM on January 5, 2006


I just don't get it - if you want quarters so bad, why not just go and "buy" rolls of quarters from your bank?

See, not only do you get quarters when you do this, you get rid of the loose change you don't need. When I was commuting by public transportation, the last thing I wanted was a metric buttload of change jangling in my pocket. I'd exchange for dollar bills or just quarters every chance I got.

I never saved my change in a bottle, though. That's one of those amazing savings techniques people like Suze Orman keep hammering. As Afroblanco points out, it doesn't feel like taking a special step, and yet what you're doing is saving money. If you earmark it for a special fund -- say, buying a CD, instead of spending money -- you'll benefit even more in the long run.
posted by dhartung at 11:17 PM on January 5, 2006


Another slight derail: Bank of America has a savings program now where they will automatically round up your purchases to the next dollar and deposit the difference in your savings account. For the first X days I think they even match it and there might be some kind of free gas offer too.
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:40 AM on January 6, 2006


Slightly off topic but I have a huge change jar with all manner of coins in it: quarters, dollar coins, peruvian coins, subway tokens, etc. etc. Would commerce bank accept this mess of coins or would I have to separate the coins myself?
posted by malp at 6:15 AM on January 6, 2006


I have a 1 quart jar that I put all my change into. I seldom use cash so it takes about 12 months to fill on average. Without fail, the past 4 times that it has been counted once full has yielded at least $100 and at most $130. That runs well ahead of the average that Coinstar reports. My daughter does the counting, I verify it and then give her a cut. I've never really taken notice, but I assume it means that I have an unusual number of quarters and dollar coins in that jar.
posted by horseblind at 6:17 AM on January 6, 2006


malp, the machines I've used sort out all the bad coins and return them. There are alwasy some "flase negatives," too, pennies that the machine doesn't like, for some reason.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:05 AM on January 6, 2006



(I should also mention that I live in NYC, and most of my change winds up being in quarters. Don't quite know why that is.)


I'm in NYC too and here are my thoughts on why change winds up being quarters:

1) Daily News, 50 cents, NY Post, 25 cents. I buy the News everyday on the way to the subway. That's the first two quarters received.

2) Street cart or bodega coffee: 50 cents or $1.25. More quarters in the pocket, and didn't use the change from the daily news because the two quarters are now all mixed up with my keys in the pocket and it's a pain in the ass to get them out. So now I probably have a dollar in quarters in my pocket and I haven't gotten to work yet.

3) Slice of pizza: 1.75 or 2.75 with a topping. More quarters.

4) Afternoon coke from the vending machine at work or the bodega: 1.25. More quarters.

So, by the end of the day, you're looking at like 2 or 3 dollars in quarters in your pocket. Not to mention all the other loose change from all the other bullshit you buy every day. After a couple years of this building up on my coffee table at home I too started throwing it all in a bin, but what I also started doing was using the previous day's quarters to buy my Daily News for the next day. My problem with build up is that I have a free washer/dryer in my apartment (don't hate the playa, hate the game, bitches!!!) so I have no need for all this change. I do whatever I can do reduce it during the day, but the excess goes in the bin, which once a year I cash in for like 80 bucks.
posted by spicynuts at 7:15 AM on January 6, 2006


I am on vacation with the money me and my SO got from about three years of painless pocket change collecting. The last batch was 25 pounds and netted us about $300. The machine at our bank is one that you just pour change into (after unrolling your rolls) and it spits out anything that isn't US currency or anything that is too beat-up to identify, for us this was like elevn cents.


posted by jessamyn at 7:25 AM on January 6, 2006


I generally pick out the dimes and take the rest of it to a casino. They are only too happy to count it for me and trade in in for "real" money.

And you can enjoy a complimentary cocktail on your way out.

Tip with your dimes.
posted by Sheppagus at 9:24 AM on January 6, 2006


Maybe the coinstar machine ripped me off, or maybe it's just that there were only about 5 quarters in my 3/4 full gallon jug, but we only got about $60.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:47 AM on January 6, 2006


I just took a brimming 33 ounce can to the coinstar and came back with 90 dollars. I had picked it over a few times for laundry quarters. I say you get about $760. We should all guess and you should give the winner like ten bucks.
posted by miniape at 10:49 AM on January 6, 2006


There's no catch to the gift certificates at coinstar. I used all our change to buy one at christmastime, because I was going to be buying stuff from Amazon anyway.
posted by sugarfish at 2:50 PM on January 6, 2006


We just fnished counting that quart jar. Here's the breakdown:
pennies $6.42
nickels $4.50
dimes $17.30
quarters $72.25
half dollars $0.50
dollars $11.00
TOTAL $111.97
posted by horseblind at 8:15 PM on January 7, 2006


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