junk drawer coin counting

There's this drawer in our house that everybody refers to as the “junk drawer.” It's filled with random stuff that doesn't have a place: Post-It Notes, lighters, eyeglass repair kits.

But look closer, people. What's that there? That's not junk. That's money! There is a plethora of coins that have wound up landing here over time (they're usually discovered en masse when we clean under the couch cushions or one at a time when Some Boy is found sneakily attempting to ingest them in a corner). We stick them haphazardly in baggies promising to cash them in for something fun one day.

Coinstar coin counting

Today is that day.

Coin Counting Made Easy

I've been engaging in a massive home junk cleanse lately (prepping for the new season and holidays and whatnot), so it was time for some coin counting as I tackled that drawer. I'm way too busy to hassle with the bank and those little coin counting rolls, but I don't like paying a fee to have someone else do it so I can access my money. The solution? Coinstar‘s no fee gift cards and eGift cards. They've partnered up with big name retailers like JC Penney, Amazon, Old Navy, Toys R Us and Gap to let you turn your coins into merchandise credit, without losing a dime. Coinstar even has a handy coin calculator to give you a rough estimate of how much money you may have laying around, based on volume. The average American has over $90 in change just sitting there, waiting to be spent. We had $120! That's a significant chunk of change that I decided to use for something important, like childhood expenses.


So I got a Starbucks gift card.

There are a LOT of unexpected childhood expenses, not the least of which is coffee.

Coffee?” you say. Yes, coffee. The second I had my kids, my coffee expenditure went through the roof. It makes sense, if you think about it. Us parents get the least sleep at the time in our lives when we need to work the hardest to make money to support our growing family. Slowing down is not an option, but fueling up thankfully is. Caffeine to the rescue! Especially during these brutal back-to-school days, coin counting can equal a whole lot of trips through the Starbucks drive through.

Fund your coffee habit with loose change

That's gotta be the best argument you've ever heard for coffee as a childhood essential, right?

reject coins

One of the coolest things we discovered was that Coinstar even spits out the “reject coins” that aren't from the United States. That's good because I SO don't have the patience to pick through and sort it all out beforehand. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the Coinstar machine. We got back a bunch of Canadian mint, Mexican pesos and even a few Hong Kong dollars. Looks like it's time for some more international travel. We'll have to save up our coins for a loooong time to afford that.

Junk drawer turned travel fund, anyone?

Challenge accepted.