How to Collect Your Spare Change for Extra Money

Updated on March 23, 2020
davidlivermore profile image

David knows some keen ways on how to help you save money or learn how money works.

Spare Change Jar

It took almost a couple years for me to collect this much change.
It took almost a couple years for me to collect this much change. | Source

What is Spare Change?

Spare change isn't extra money. It's always been your money. What you do with it depends on what it is used for. Spare change is something you can save to do something constructive with or to use on something more frivolous.

Learning how to save this extra change is important to using it in the future. You may have no idea how much spare change you may lose in carrying it around with you to fritter away. Collecting spare change can be a hard task, since it takes a long time to collect enough to be really worth something. This article covers how to do it successfully.

Do you collect your spare change?

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Overflowing Money

Coins almost overflowing from the change jar.
Coins almost overflowing from the change jar. | Source

Lots of Change

Not just pennies are in this jar, but larger currencies such as dimes and quarters.
Not just pennies are in this jar, but larger currencies such as dimes and quarters. | Source

Places to Collect Change

Desk Drawers
Vending Machines
Washer and Dryer
Clothing Hamper
Pockets in Clothing
Trash Cans
These are some of the places you can find spare change.

How to Collect Spare Change

There are a variety of ways to collect your spare change. Once you buy something using cash, the change is returned to you. The bills will be useful in other transactions, but the spare change will just be loose in your pockets or purse. Soon you will just forget about your spare change and it will become lost. Below are some tips on how to collect your spare change:

  • Put your change in a safe place. Always stick your change in the same pocket each time, a coin purse in your purse, etc. If you put it in the same place each and every time, you will know where it is.
  • Look at the ground for spare change. This is a way to find change that isn't your own. Times are tough, and every penny makes a difference. If you see coins on the ground, pick them up. Sometimes you may be lucky and find some bills as well!
  • Don't use cash unless you have to. You should not purposely use cash just to get more change. This may cause you to spend even more money, making the spare change you are collecting worthless.
  • Avoid machines that use change. Snack machines, soda machines, pay phones, etc. should be avoided if you are carrying spare change on you. That will only waste your change on something you probably don't need.
  • Roll over your change on debit card transactions to a savings account. Some banks give the option to roll over the change you would have received from transactions to a savings account. For example, if a transaction is $9.27, $0.73 would roll to your savings. This won't be a physical way to save change, but will still help you save some extra money. In a way, it's a virtual way to save change.
  • Keep change jars in a variety of places. For example, I have a change jar at work and at a home. Once I fill up the change jar at work, I take it home to combine it with the change I have there.

Tucked Away Coin Jar

The coin jar is nicely tucked away inside of a cabinet.  Don't leave it exposed for someone to spend or steal it.
The coin jar is nicely tucked away inside of a cabinet. Don't leave it exposed for someone to spend or steal it. | Source

Larger Coin Jar

A coin jar next to a much larger container.
A coin jar next to a much larger container. | Source

Coins in the Larger Coin Jar

The coins from the jar are moved to the larger container, presenting an opportunity to fill it with more change.
The coins from the jar are moved to the larger container, presenting an opportunity to fill it with more change. | Source

Containers for Spare Change

Choosing a container for your spare change can be the biggest decision when deciding to store your change for some extra cash. The following steps should be followed when deciding what container to choose:

  1. Start off picking a small container. You don't want to start out with a large 5-gallon container that water is normally held in. Start out with a small jar. This will be an easily obtainable goal. You will see your change quickly grow in that container.
  2. Place the container out of the way. You don't want to get the urge to dig into your change jar anytime you need some change. Instead, tuck it out of the way someplace where you won't see it often, but know it's there to put your change away. I have mine in a cabinet in my breakfast nook. I know it's there when I bring change home, but I don't see it otherwise.
  3. Move on to a larger container. Once you fill up your small container, then you can move on to a larger container. As the photos to the above show, I filled up a small jar with my spare change. Quite an accomplishment. I then emptied my change into a larger container. Now I have a new goal in filling up that jar full of change. Continue to do this until you are satisfied with the amount of change you have saved up for the thing you need or want.
  4. Get a piggy bank. Or something else to store the money in. In most cases this hides the money from your view. Make it something that motivates you to save your spare change.

Think you can fill a water jug full of spare change?



Coinstar will easily handle this much spare change.
Coinstar will easily handle this much spare change. | Source

How much spare change have you gathered at one time?

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Spending Your Spare Change

Once you have decided you have enough change to spend on whatever you want, it's time to prepare it. You have a few options for that:

  • Roll it up. Obtain some coin rolls and roll up your change to turn in to your bank. Most banks require that you put an address label on each roll just in case there isn't the correct amount of change inside of the roll. Also, banks can also give you free coin rollers so you won't have to buy any yourself.
  • Coinstar. This is a kiosk which you can count your money in a fast and easy way. No need to roll up your coins or to go to a bank. However, they do take a percentage out if you take it as cash. If the spare change is taken as a gift certificate or gift card, then the fee is usually waived.
  • Take it to Vegas! If you take a trip to Las Vegas, you can cash your change in there free of charge. Casinos that don't use change may not have the machine to do it, but some of the older casinos do.

So what do you do with your spare change? How do you save it up? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 David Livermore


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I collected in a cider jug but since the debit card use I really don't save anymore BUT thanks on the advice regarding the debit card. I use it a few times a day so the roll over savings should grow well.

    • SolarWind9 profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      I use a water-cooler jug. When its about 1/4 full it starts getting super heavy. After 5 years of dumping non-penny change in there I had saved $400. I put the pennies in a separate container, but it ain't worth the effort with the pennies. Get 10 lbs of pennies and you have about $5. Its take 2 hours to wrap them all up and $2 gas to drive to the bank. They should just get rid of the pennies.

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Nice write up. I always like reading articles that deal with saving etc. I used to save quarters, and I had gotten up to $110 at one point while doing it. I focus on saving nickels now though. I have a jar that I've been trying to fill up to the top, but I always end up digging into it, which decrease the amount. I'm trying to stay disciplined and not touch it though. Great hub. Voted up, rated useful.

    • CrisSp profile image


      7 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Good stuff! I do collect change in a jar and it comes in handy whenever my daughter needs some spare change. It's also good way to teach the kids how to count.

      Thanks to Kasman for sharing this useful and cool hub. Voted up.

    • Kasman profile image


      7 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Hey David, this is an awesome look at something I considered to be just a simple practice. I didn't think to use a smaller jar and empty into a larger one. I'm voting this up and I'm definitely sharing! Great job. I'm also thinking of linking this to one of my hubs to generate you more traffic. Thanks.

    • PDXBuys profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      I used to walk in the alleys in Los Angeles. Would get my exercise and find a bit of change at the same time. You'd be amazed at what I used to find discarded in they alleys!

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      7 years ago from UK

      I really enjoyed reading this Hub. We keep a small bowl on my husband's desk for the purpose of collecting change. Unfortunately we mostly use it for car parking but it is good to be able to find some parking change when we need it.

      Maybe I need to start a second container and actually save it up!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      davidlivermore, As I finished reading your tribute to spare change, I thought, "This was fun to read." Then I scrolled down to leave a comment and saw that this same sentiment was expressed by your first commenter. As someone who respects and enjoys spare change, I found this tribute both informative and entertaining. I could also see humor in recognizable scenarios, such as this:

      "Don't use cash unless you have to. You should not purposely use cash just to get more change. This may cause you to spend even more money, making the spare change you are collecting worthless."

      It is nice that you provided this caution, because the temptation does arise to inundate the change jar with ill-gotten gain through unnatural transactions, such as intentionally using cash to generate even more spare change.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with spare change.

      Regards, Stessily

    • Bishop55 profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      This was fun to read. Nice job.


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