Let me ask you a question: how much spare change do you have lying around your house? What are you planning to do with it? Have you ever stopped to consider how that spare change might help to take the edge off holiday shopping?
Ever since our family became suddenly frugal, we have gathered up our spare change whenever we needed some extra dough. This usually occurred before going on a vacation or to an event. We figured if we could use “found money” to supplement our spending, we wouldn’t end up in the red. In most instances our spare change gave us $50 or $60 to add to our wallet.
Just yesterday I decided to do another spare-change hunt around my house. I gathered up all the loose change that I’d found in the bottom of the washer or dryer, on my nightstand, or in rolls that I’d intended to take to the bank but never did.
I went on this spare-change hunt now for two reasons: one, I had a few more things I wanted to get for the holidays and didn’t want to go to the ATM if I didn’t have to. And two, I’d heard how Coinstar was having a special with free coin counting. If you brought in at least $40 in spare change to a Coinstar machine and selected that your money be put towards a gift card, Coinstar would add $10 to your total. (I was kind of hoping that if I did this, I would get $10 at every $40 increment, but alas you could get $10 only once. Sadly, the promotion ended yesterday.)
We ended up finding so much spare change that I needed my teenager to come with me. We filled two bags, and they were too heavy for one person to carry. In fact, we had to get a shopping cart in the parking lot and wheel our cash in.
It took me about 30 minutes to get all of our coins in the Coinstar machine. I have to admit that it got kind of embarrassing that I was standing there for so long–and making so much noise; coin-counting is loud. The worst part was ripping open those rolls of coins. I had about 100 that needed opening–no kidding.
Eventually, I got all the coins in the machine, with only a few rejected. (We discovered the machine wouldn’t take the Sacagawea gold dollars, and it spit out a wheat penny and a Euro–can’t blame it on the latter monetary unit!)
The best part was seeing how much money we’d actually dumped into the machine–and would be getting in a Lowe’s e-certificate. (This machine did not dispense traditional plastic gift cards.)
All told we’d cashed in $281.75. Unbelievable. That’s going to buy a lot of home-improvement items at Lowe’s–or at least some nifty Christmas gifts for my husband!
Bottom line: if you’re looking to supplement your frugal holiday shopping, consider gathering up your spare change and seeing if you can eek out a few extra dollars to help get your shopping done.