Going Penny-Crazy, HELP !
September 14, 2006 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I have a lot of pennies. They accumulated over the past 12 years. I need a permanent solution to this problem other than a big jar (that you have to move eventually and gets heavier by day). What do you do with your pennies?
posted by eebs to Home & Garden (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a small piggy bank. When it is full, I take it to Commerce Bank and put it through their free coin counting machine. If you are not near a Commerce Bank, you could use a Coinstar- there's a fee to get cash, but I think you can get gift certificates for no charge.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

I take them to the nearest Coinstar and turn them into iTunes, Starbucks, or Amazon gift certificates. They take some exorbitant percentage if you turn it into cash, but you get the full value if you use a gift certificate.

(Or, what TPS said.)
posted by fuzzbean at 9:38 AM on September 14, 2006

I spend 'em. Carry around four pennies with you at all times; whenever you make a cash purchase, you can always give the cashier a couple of extra pennies instead of getting a couple of extra pennies back. Once you get into the habit, it's not so hard; I successfully got rid of two years' worth of pennies this way over the course of about nine months.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:46 AM on September 14, 2006 [2 favorites]

By carrying them around in my pockets, and occasionally using them to buy things (or, for that matter, to prop up uneven tables and toss into wishing wells), I've managed to avoid building up much of a surplus. This is an effective permanent solution.

On preview: what Johnny Assay said, except with the addition of the tables and wishing wells.
posted by box at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2006

If memory serves, WAMU has savings accounts you can start with $1. Take your big container of pennies down to the bank, have the teller dump them into the counter machine, and start a savings account. Soon, your pennies will grow into larger denominations instead of sitting there doing nothing.
posted by Carnage Asada at 9:59 AM on September 14, 2006

careful--wamu locations often do not have coin counters.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 10:07 AM on September 14, 2006

True. There are probably other banks that will let you open a savings account for $1 that do. If you have lots of time on your hands, and your bank does not have a counting machine, you COULD roll the pennies, then take them to the bank. Staples sells the paper rolls.
posted by Carnage Asada at 10:16 AM on September 14, 2006

Same as Carnage Asada, except it's to my bank, there's no fee for the counting, and the loose change goes in the IRA every time the jar fills up.
posted by Tuwa at 10:30 AM on September 14, 2006

i like to take my change to a bank and cash it in right before i move -- several months ago i cashed in 3 years' worth and found i'd accumulated $575 of loose change, which was awful handy when dealing with moving expenses. it's mighty rewarding to transform a pile of change you don't want to move into paper currency that helps pay for a move.
posted by sonofslim at 10:39 AM on September 14, 2006

coinstar takes a HEFTY chunk out of your dough.

do it like andy rooney and find a bank that doesn't charge a fee.
posted by krautland at 10:52 AM on September 14, 2006

Commerce Bank has free coin machines. My wife and I dump a year's worth in each October and put the money toward our anniversary dinner (though this year, it might go toward paying the babysitter...). You can also win stuff if you guess your total after pouring all the change in...
posted by AJaffe at 11:25 AM on September 14, 2006

coinstar takes no fees if you cash in for a gift certificate, like amazon.com.
posted by Joh at 11:36 AM on September 14, 2006

I had a jar of change, and I started systematically taking a little bit with me whenever I went out, and used smaller denominations when buying little things like newspapers and coffee. Got rid of the surplus and meant I was getting cash out of the ATM slightly less often.

Though the 'count it up and use it for something special' idea has its attractions.
posted by altolinguistic at 11:39 AM on September 14, 2006

I donate them. Our church makes it easy by having an annual penny drive that goes to some holiday charity.
posted by Doohickie at 11:39 AM on September 14, 2006

I stopped accumulating loose change when I got a debit card through Citibank which earns me 1 airline mile for every dollar I spend. I now rarely use cash at all, and hardly ever have any spare change to pile up... and have earned more than enough miles to trade in for a fabulous trip to just about anywhere. Sure beats giving away a percentage of anything to Coinstar!
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:17 PM on September 14, 2006

Keep a bucket of them in the car. When you see fireman taking donations at intersections, or youth football, or the veterans who give out those red paper flowers at the grocery, give 'em a generous handful and a smile.
posted by orangemiles at 12:18 PM on September 14, 2006

You could make an art project out of them. Lay them out on a railroad track and once the train has gone by you will have a lot of feathers for a copper plated bird.
posted by ptm at 1:30 PM on September 14, 2006

I spend them. Daily, if possible.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:47 PM on September 14, 2006

Send them to people campaigning for its abolition.
posted by holgate at 2:52 PM on September 14, 2006

Build amazing cantilevered structures with them, like this guy does. He explains it nicely with good pictures and similar feats achieved by others using other coins & plastic chips (just chk out this mindboggling structure)

Should be some fun in your leisure and you'd have picked up an art. Not to mention some seriously cool eye-candy to show-off!

If that doesn't appeal to you, seriously consider contacting any art student who'd be interested in the collection - most likely he'll gain much more artistically (and maybe even monetarily) instead of simply converting it into ca$h.

My 2 cents!
posted by forwebsites at 3:30 PM on September 14, 2006

I used to have a swear cup on my desk at work, and different words had a different cost associated with them. A good way to get rid of my change during the week, while working on a more respectable diction.

I worked above the Macy's in Manhattan so I just waited til Christmas time and then I shocked some random Salvation Army worker every year.

Of course now I travel for work and swear a lot more, so the money just goes in a bucket in the closet when I get home and empty the bags.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:38 PM on September 14, 2006

squish em!


Turn them into fun souveniers!

reg :)
posted by legotech at 4:49 PM on September 14, 2006

If your pennies were minted before 1960, you can use them to dye natural fibers blue or verdigris. You can also use them as mordants for other dyes.
posted by Violet Hour at 7:53 PM on September 14, 2006

If your bank charges a fee to turn coins into real money, change banks.
posted by dmd at 6:55 AM on September 15, 2006

I spent a whole bunch of loose change donating to my Church; It's still money they can use, and at the same time it helps get rid of all the accumulated spare change. Win-win!
The coinstar-->gift certificates idea sounds great, though.
posted by macsigler at 7:33 PM on July 10, 2007

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