Sunday, February 7, 2010

Frugal Tip for Saving Coins

An easy frugal way to save money is to have a coin jar for loose change.  Each week empty out your wallet, purse, brief case, car and pockets and put the coins into a jar.  By the end of the year, there will often be $100 or more in the jar!  You won't notice the loss in your wallet and you will be carrying around less weight.

I keep two jars.  One jar is for nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars (sometimes dollar coins if I happen to get one) and one jar is for pennies.  I separate them because I often will donate pennies to an elementary school that is doing a penny drive for charity like Haiti.  I don't feel the donation in my wallet and it gives me a good feeling to be able to help.  The child is always thrilled to take in a pile of pennies to contribute to the collection.  I call it a trifecta of giving.

I put my silver change into a glass cider jar that I have been using for years. This money is a gift to myself to use in any way I want.  I like to use it to go to yard sales.  I always have a pocketful of coins to offer for items and after haggling down the price on something I don't give them a $5 bill and ask for change.  I think that is rude.  

Now a days grocery stores have coin counting machines that for a small fee will sort and count your money for you.  Now that was a great idea!  When you are finished you can get bills back out of the machine and it even gives you all those paper clips, thumb tacks, slugs and other miscellaneous items that have ended up in the jar.  There are also coin sorting gadgets for those that don't want to pay the fee of the larger machines.  You drop the coins in and they fall into a tube that can be counted and then rolled up.  Fun exercise for kids and educational too. The last time I took coins to the bank to turn in I found they were not really thrilled.  Could be the teller or could be the fact that they have been scammed so many times by unscrupulous people who short change the rolls or substitute other items to fill them up.

I always check my coins for real silver.  It is seldom these days to find any but still possible.  If only we had known to save coins in 1964 when the switch was made to insert other metals and devalue the coin's actual worth.  Look for coins from 1964 and older and keep them.  Silver is worth $16.30 an ounce as of this posting.  I remember not too many years ago buying one ounce silver rounds for $5.00!  Silver has tripled in price mostly due to the demand for silver in the field of technology (and for those holding on to large quantities of silver bars as an investment...I wish I was one of those people!).

Pennies stopped being made from solid copper in mid-1982. When the cost of the copper would have exceeded one cent, the US changed the penny to copper-plated zinc. You can identify these modern zinc cents because they do not "ring" when dropped onto a hard surface...mostly a dull thud.  During World War 2, brass was needed for military use and the 1943 cents were made of steel (these can be picked up with a magnet). This same necessity led to the use of silver in the nickels made from 1942 to 1945.

If you keep these dates in mind you might just earn more money from your coin pile.  Another thing to look for are coins from other countries.  We used to just pass by an occasional Canadian coin but now with the devaluation of the American Dollar, Canadian coins are worth more than the American ones.  Separate these out and turn them in at the bank for American coins. As of today a Canadian dollar is worth 7 cents more than an American dollar so you only need 93 Canadian pennies to equal a dollar if you exchange them.

It is amazing how many people I have shared this tip with have not implemented these easy money saving ideas.  I have seen people keep jars, label the years and keep in the closet.  Years pass, often the folks pass away and when the money is counted it is staggering how much is actually there!

My Mother used to be a School Nurse in a Junior High School.  She told me that the janitors would pick up lots of change while they were cleaning  and put it away in a jar.  Seems the kids did not want to keep pennies and would throw them around.  By the end of the school year there was enough money  for the janitors to out to dinner and have a couple of drinks and toast the kids!

My Mother and I like to fill plastic easter eggs and hide them for the neighborhood kids.  We dip into our change jars and put coins in some of the eggs.  The squeals of little children finding coins is wonderful.  We also give the kids a container of some sort or a wallet with coins in it for birthday gifts.  It is a great last minute gift and so much better than some toy that probably came from China and could be unhealthful or broken within a week.  Kids love to get change.  More than once I have hired the now five and eight year old neighbors to help me in the garden for a handful of change.  They have fun working with me, I get cheap labor and they go home and feed their piggy bank.  They have learned the value of doing good work as a life lesson.  Now Tim did teach them to ask for a bonus last year and that really affected my jar! How can you refuse a four year old asking for a bonus? Another win win situation for all in the long run.

 So get out those chipped canning jars and begin to put away your coins.  If you see someone bending over at the gas pump, in the mall parking lot or in front of the grocery store picking something up off the ground, it is me.  I pick up every coin I see on the ground and am not too proud to do it.  I think of those janitors and my jar, smile and go off on my merry way humming, "I'm in the money, I'm in the money, I've got a lot of what it takes to get along:


marge said...

remember those cardboard folders you could get at the bank or school and you put your dimes and quarters in them and then turned them in. That reminds me of the stampt we used to buy in school and stick them in a book, can't remember why - was it for bonds?

The Frugal Fraulein said...

yes they were bonds of some kind. I don't know what happened to the ones I bought. I wish I still had those blue folders. I suppose you can buy them at a coin shop. If only we knew how valuable stuff would be in the years to come! But then if I kept everything I would be on the Hoarder tv show!

オテモヤン said...
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Cozy Little House said...

Great ideas here! Hadn't thought of the Canadian exchange idea! Can make some money there.

Did it MY way said...

I have been doing that for years. Save enough each year to buy all the Christmas presents. Great idea.

See Ya

Anonymous said...

Well it's Sept 2012 and I just read this post. (I've been going through all your old posts and enjoying the reading!)

Inflation has continued to rise and the Federal Reserve is now in the midst of round 3 of quantitative easing (printing money). Last I looked, silver was around $34/oz and still on the rise; some are predicting $100/oz in the not too distant future. Crazy, I know!

But I just wanted to add to your comments about saving coins. In the midst of the worst global economy ever, every nation is struggling--some more than others--and the US is not immune. Our national economy is worse off than most people realize, and I don't think it's a crazy notion that one day the US Dollar might go belly up. We currently save ALL our coins, because in the past when the currencies of other countries were changed, only the paper money actually changed. The coins remained, because it's too difficult to recall all coinage. So, save your coins, because if the dollar actually got recalled and replaced with something worth less, your coins may still be worth their assigned values. And depending on exactly how much the dollar devalued, that could save you a lot of money.

Also, we separate pennies by age. Pennies made before 1982 are 95% copper and 5% zinc. The newer pennies are 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. It's currently illegal to melt pennies for their copper content, but that could change one day in the future (bills to change the law have already previously been introduced, but so far none have been enacted). I'm not saying, go out and buy a bunch of old pennies and store them, because pennies are heavy and bulky, and even at their current real value (something like 2.2 cents each) it's not worth the effort to go out of your way to collect and store them. But saving the ones you come across day-to-day is not such a time or space killer.

All nickels (well, those printed since 1946 and later) are 75% copper and 25% nickel, and again, the value of the metal is greater than the value assigned to the coin--for now. There is currently a federally-funded study in progress to determine what less costly metals should be used to mint nickels, so expect the composition of a nickel to change within the next year or two. Save your nickels now!

Here's a great post about saving nickels (but it actually covers a lot more about coins/inflation in general) that I just found via Google:

Oops! I didn't mean to write a whole post in your comment section! I just get impassioned about ways to prepare for what's coming our way. Hope this helps some of your readers.

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