When you need cash quickly, Coinstar is quick and convenient. You walk up to one of their many kiosks, toss all your coins in, and almost instantly have the change converted to dollars. However, Coinstar’s user fees are frustrating and steep. Typically, you lose around 9% of your overall total to the machine. How is this fair? 9% seems pretty high for an automatic machine that does nothing but count your change.
In Coinstar’s defense, they do offer a no-fee option if you get an e-gift card. However, a large number of the machines do not actually offer that option. Unless you want to donate the money to charity, you have no choice but to accept the fees.
Many people who use Coinstar once go back time and time again. If you frequently save up change and exchange it for dollars, you may be losing significant sums of money in the long haul. Next time you need your quarters converted to bucks, check out one of these free alternatives. 9% can add up! Sometimes every dollar counts.
Go to your bank.
Most banks will count your coins and exchange them for dollars at zero cost. As long as you have time to run by the bank, this is a much smarter financial choice. Check out your bank’s hours of operation and consider making this a regular scheduled event.
Use local credit union coin counters.
Many local credit unions install coin counters that have no user fees. Some credit unions even allow non-members to use the counters for free. Check into where these may be located near you, and save your 9% that Coinstar is withholding.
Use your change when you make purchases.
People often are too busy or seem embarrassed to begin digging through their wallets for change. Do you fit one of these two categories? Let’s address them both. If you feel too busy, take a deep breath. Think to yourself… Will the extra fifteen seconds be worth the additional dollar you save from using your change? The reason that we often stack up so much change is because we are not using it to break-even when we pay at restaurants and stores. Take the extra second to dig out the 20 cents, and then you won’t get more change back. If it embarrasses you to pay with coins, think again. It is just money! Four quarters is worth exactly the same as a dollar. Don’t be afraid to carry around a change purse and pay for your purchases in coins. They have the same value, and it is not something to be embarrassed of. If the lady behind you seems aggravated as you pick through your change, suggest that she read this as well. Maybe she needs this more than you do.
Try out all three of these methods and see which one you find to be most convenient. Coinstar is not your only option, and there are ways to avoid those unwanted fees! Your money matters.