When I pay cash for something and get change, I put the change in the center console of my car. So there is a small amount of change flowing in every month. But I almost never take change out and spend it. It just slowly accumulates and fills up the space in my car.
I rounded up the change and put it in a big jar to take to the bank. Here's a challenge for you: look at the photo and try to guess how much change is in the jar...
|How Much Change Did I End Up With In My Car?|
Thankfully, my credit union has an automatic change counting machine. You just dump the change in and the machine counts it. The entire jar of change took only about a minute to count, and it was fun to watch.
|Automatic Change Counting Machine|
|Turn Your Change into Bills the Easy Way|
At the end of the process, you get a ticket printed out that you take to the teller window. You can have the money deposited into your account, or you can get cash.
So how much change did I have? $112.09!
If you are not a member at the credit union, it costs you a 10% fee for using the machine. Fortunately, I did not have to pay the fee. There are other automatic coin counting machines such as Coinstar at places like Walmart, but these machines also charge a fee to use if you want to get cash. The current Coinstar fee is 10.9%.
My advice is to take your change to your bank and have it counted for free using an automatic change couting machine. Hauling around about 10 pounds of change in my car wasn't doing me any good. Now I have the change in the form of bills that I will actually use, and I didn't have to pay a 10% fee or spend a lot of time counting change.
Seeing the change build up over time and become a sizable amount of money is an interesting phenomena. The flow rate of the change coming in exceeds the flow rate going out, so the total is going to grow. This happens even without the benefit of compounding that you get from investments.
This is a nice reminder of the power of saving small amounts of money over time.