How to Make Change Without Using a Calculator
Playing With Money
In our family we learned how to count cash early in life by playing Monopoly. I loved being the banker, although that job usually fell to one of my parents. Having a stack of money on my side of the board was fun, even if it was only play money.
In fact, as kids, we liked to have play money to carry in our wallets since the real thing seemed so scarce. If you didn't grow up playing with pretend or real cash, it might seem a bit of a challenge if your job includes running a register. The following tips and examples may help you overcome your fear of handling cash.
What I've found with cashiers, even bank tellers, is the failure to organize the cash drawer properly. Working at banks back in the dark ages, we were taught to put all the bills facing in the same direction. We were also taught to take the time to unfold the dog-eared edges of each bill. This simple practice can help to eliminate counting errors when giving back change.
Yesterday at the bank, I wasn't surprised to receive a wad of bills back from the teller with the bills every which way but organized. The first thing I did before counting my money was to turn all the bills to face in the same direction, face up and right side up.
We were trained to count the money onto the counter in plain sight of the customer. We were forbidden to count it from one hand into our other hand. Then we were told to pick up the bills and count it out again into the customer's hand, small change first.
This double counting eliminated many potential errors and out-of-balance cash register drawers from the days of my first job as a dime store clerk to the years of handling hundreds of thousands of dollars of real cash at a commercial bank.
Counting the bills is easy if you grew up chanting, "Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty. . ." like I did. If you didn't share that experience, try practicing with your kids. They'll love the sing song version of learning to count by fives.
Counting by tens was fun, too: ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty. Counting by twenties would naturally be next: twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, one hundred. Doing this, or teaching your kids this, will aid in learning math skills. My five-year old often put coins together and asked me to exchange them for "green."
How many twenties make one hundred? Count it out. There's five twenties in one hundred dollars; so five times twenty equals one hundred. It's about multiplication as well as addition. Experience adds to the ease and comfort of correctly counting back money.
Can I Give You the Seven Cents? Example 1
What happens when the customer wants to give you some odd change after the sale has been rung? Here's an example.
The total sale is for $13.57 cents. The customer gives you a twenty dollar bill. After you ring the cash in, they say, "Can I give you the seven cents?" Your cash register has already told you to give the customer back six dollars and forty-three cents. ($6.43).
The easy way to recalculate the change due is to take away (subtract) the seven cents ($.07) from the original amount due. $13.57 minus .07 equals $13.50 due from the customer.
Place the seven cents on the ledge of the register drawer and count out the change from $13.50. Pulling one quarter from the drawer, count it into your hand and say to yourself, "Thirteen-fifty (and 25 cents makes) $13.75, and another quarter makes $14.00. Pull a one dollar bill out and count to yourself, "And one makes $15."
Pull a five dollar bill out and mentally say, "And five makes twenty." (Five, ten, fifteen, twenty). See how handy that little chant can be?
Then, count the change back to the customer repeating the revised amount of the sale after the pennies. "That's thirteen-fifty, (hand them the first quarter), thirteen seventy-five. Now the second quarter and say, "And fourteen."
Place the one dollar bill on top of the change and say, "And one makes fifteen." Then add the five to the stack and say, "And five makes twenty."
Smile, thank them for the purchase and wish them a pleasant day.
It's All Green. Super green.
Can I Give You the Odd Change? Example 2
Let's suppose the total sale is twenty-three dollars and eighty-nine cents ($23.89). You've already rung up the hundred dollar bill they gave you, when the customer asks if they ask if they can give you the odd change.
"I have too many ones," the customer explains, digging around in her change purse. "I don't want more ones."
The customer hands you four one-dollar bills and four pennies. There's no need to freak out. First, place the pennies on the ledge above the cash drawer and subtract four cents from the total amount that they owe.
$23.89 less four cents is $23.85. They don't want pennies back so you pull out a nickel from your cash drawer and tell yourself. . .
$23.85 and five cents is $23.90. Add a dime and that makes $24.00. But they've given you the four, one dollar bills in addition to the hundred dollar bill ($104.04) which you've also placed in sight on the ledge of your register.
Subtract the four dollars from the new amount due ($24.00 minus $4.00 = $20.00)
The rest is easy. Pull out twenties as you count to yourself. . .twenty, forty, sixty, eighty and one-hundred. You've counted it out into your hand, now count it back to the customer.
"Ma'am, that's $23.89 less four oh four. That would be $23.85, plus five cents is $23.90, plus a dime is $24.00, less the four is $20.00." Place the fifteen cents in their hand and count out the twenties one at a time like so, "twenty dollars, (as you put each twenty down) forty, sixty, eighty and one-hundred."
Count your blessings. It could be worse. You could have a job shoveling fish guts.
Why Did They Give Me So Much Money?
How It Works
Sales amount = $23.89. The customer gave you $104.04.
Deduct the pennies they paid from the original sale.
Leaves $23.85 due from the customer.
Use the four one-dollar bills for the $3.85 giving $.15 change.
The customer now owes only $20.00. ($100 - $20 = $80.00 change)
The customer gets back $80.15
There was a day when cash was king. Although many people choose to use credit and debit cards today, some people will always carry cash. And remember, like it says on the money, "This note is legal tender for all debts both private and public." So until they outlaw cash, keep your chin up and count out the change.
Money. . . It's a Gas - Pink Floyd
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.
© 2018 Peg Cole