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Spare some change?

Last night we did a radical thing, we did a remarkable purge of something I didn\’t realize was weighing me down as heavily as it was. We got rid of our spare change. All of it.

We have had three large containers of coins kicking around the house for as long as I can remember. The first was an old glass bear-shaped peanut butter jar. The second was a war-torn cardboard cylinder from a bottle of booze, and the third was an old Tootsie Roll piggy bank which contained only pennies.

We had amassed so many coins that to roll them all was incredibly daunting. Did you know that you can\’t just dump a bag of coins on a bank teller? Let me rephrase that…  you can\’t go into the bank with loose change and expect them to pour it into a magic machine that will sort and count it. Weird huh?

We\’d actually tried to get rid of our change on three other occasions. We hauled it all the way to the coin counting machine at our local grocery store only to have to turn around and go home again after discovering that the machine was out of order. THREE TIMES.

Do you realize how heavy three jars of coins can be?

We thought we\’d try our luck again last week. We picked a grocery store that had a coin counting machine and crossed our fingers that it was fully operational. On the way to the store we all took turns guessing how much money we\’d collected. The jars had heft, and made good door stops, and could possibly kill someone if they were dropped from a second storey window. Hmm. I guessed $70.00. My husband guessed $150 (but then rescinded because it seemed crazily high) and the girls guessed somewhere in between.

It felt like the Price is Right, only a lot more exciting because it was our own money.

I was happy to see that the coin counting machine we chose was in good working condition.  Here’s a tip for you: read the fine print (this particular unit takes a mafia-like 11% cut!) before you pour your money into the slot. We went ahead, mostly because I couldn’t bear bringing all that change home again.  

Oh my, what a satisfying jingle it all made. I hung around for a few minutes while the girls shovelled more coins into the machine. I left them in the care of their father in order to get a jumpstart on the grocery shopping.

I was just about to leave the produce department when the three of them approached me with wide grins on their faces.

“Guess how much money we have!” they shouted.

I couldn\’t fathom.

They handed me the printout. We had a credit of $137.00 to use at the grocery store, and that’s after the 11% cut. Of that total, $30.07 was in pennies alone.

It was worth hauling our coins in to the store. The groceries pretty much paid for themselves that night. Pretty good for some spare change, isn\’t it?

Mother of two imps and wife of one. Writer, photographer, pro blogger, adventure-seeker, Ottawaholic, social media evangelist and lover of STUFF. Also known as @missfish on Twitter.

8 Responses to “Spare some change?”

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We have been collecting pennies, nickels and dimes in a glass carboy for about a year. This Christmas we emptied it, rolled and counted it. It was an afternoon activity designed to keep the kids occupied and, boy, did it! The three of them worked out a system; each picked a coin and started digging. Once they rolled it, they flexed their math skills and were thrilled to discover that they had $271.05!!
What did we do with all that dough? After exchanging it our local Royal Bank, we headed over to our neighborhood GT Express and SHOPPED – not for ourselves (although they really really wanted to), but for single men and women who were gathering at the Carleton Tavern on Christmas Day.
They bought socks, underwear, gloves and toques. They added chocolates, cat and dog food too.
They were incredibly proud to haul it all to the tavern on Christmas Eve where elves had filled hundreds of gift bags for the guests.
The jar has not remained empty…it’s placed near the front door and anyone who enters is encouraged to drop their pennies in.
The kids are already planning to beat this Year’s total…



    That is a GREAT idea Kelly. You had all that money you didn’t know you had and made someone’s Christmas Day a little brighter. AND you’re teaching your kids a great lesson too! Kudos to you!


i have trouble with coins since i don’t like to bring coins when i shop.
that is why i have so many coins at home. do you think i need to have coin counter machine?
what kind of coin counter machine you recommend?



    I didn’t know you can buy one! That would be neat, if you had a lot of coins … but I can’t make a recommendation. Sorry. They seem to be popping up more and more at malls and grocery stores. Keep your eyes peeled and maybe you’ll find one that you can put to good use. 🙂


My husband used to collect the change from his daily Tim’s fix (including loonies and toonies) before he met me. We eventually rolled it and had enough (almost 500$!) to buy ourselves an awesome patio set. These days, we brew our own coffee, but we still collect pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters (I use the big stuff for skate sharpenings, library fees/used books, and parking meters). We’re up to almost 100$ again.



If you take your change to the St Laurent mall you get a gift card for any store in the mall and they don’t take a cut! I had about $90 in change and had a fun shopping spree one day.



If you don’t want to give up the 11% (who does?!) you should bring them to St.Laurent Mall and exchange it at customer service for a gift card to use at any of their stores! I paid for a lot of holiday shopping by doing that. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up! Oh, I just saw someone suggested that. I do too!


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