I got a newsletter in my email today from FamilyCorner.com that had an article about Frugal Living | The Money Jar Trap It was about how much money you actually LOSE by saving your coins in a piggy bank instead of depositing them in the bank. The point being that if you use those Coinstar things in the grocery store, they are charging you almost 10% to give you the money in bills. And even many banks these days are charging you to cash in your coins.
This got me thinking. I bought Andrew a clear piggy bank several months ago. I told him we’d start putting all the coins we find in it, and I’d even empty my pockets every night and put the coins in there. When the bank gets full, we’ll take it to the grocery store to cash it in, and then we’ll do something special like date night at the movies or something. I knew Coinstar would charge a fee, but I never stopped to think how much it would be. I mean say there ends up being $80 in that bank. The fee would be approximately $8. Now at first that doesn’t seem like much, but you know, me and Andrew can eat at McDonald’s for that much. So in essence, it’s a whole meal.
If there is a way to make a buck, you can be sure that banks and others will try to take it. — FamilyCorner.com
So now I’m rethinking what we are going to do with that money. I don’t have a regular bank to deposit it into. I use a pre-paid debit card. Andrew used to have a savings account, but they recently closed it due to inactivity. I suppose I could open it back up and deposit them there, but then the article points out that even banks are starting to charge for mass amounts of loose change.
What do you think? Should I suck it up and do the Coinstar thing and rethink what to do next time? Andrew enjoys watching the pig get fuller and fuller. So maybe the fee is worth it. Or should I open him another savings account and deposit the money there. Perhaps weekly? The last time he got his own debit card and most of the banks have special programs for children so they earn prizes and stuff for depositing their money.
I’m going to have to give this some more thought. In the meantime, piggy is almost full enough to party!
Check out the article and vote in their poll.
Actually, if you use Coinstar to get a gift certificate, they don’t charge you anything. So I let my daughter cash hers in and get an Amazon.com gift certificate. So far she’s bought a Webkinz and two PlayStation 2 games. Not bad for a 5 year old.
If he’s saving up for something in particular, it might be a wise choice.
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Tammy Munson says
We have a savings account for each of the girls and they have a clear bucket they put all the coins in. Each Friday we take the bucket over to the local credit union and deposit it. It’s not that much coin since its a weekly trip. : )
Tip for the military personnel – if you live near a AAFES PX you can take it over there and they will cash in the change for free. Most of the time they will put the money on a gift card to be used at any AAFES location.
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Some Coinstars have gift cards you can get for no coin counting fee. Check their site and see if there are any you would use up completely.
Otherwise, I’ve long been amazed that people haven’t really thought about the money they can lose that way.
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Robert Merrill says
My kids have accounts at the local credit union. It’s FREE, and their interest rates are better than banks, and no fees.
Bonnie Sayers (autismfamily) says
I just used coinstar the other day. In between paychecks and that ten bucks got us a few things. They took about 60 cents I think.
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Robert Merrill says
Does a credit union really not allow you to cash in change?
I think that whatever bank you have your account at doesn’t charge to turn in your change. I’d look into alternatives – I like to let my kids save their change because they can *see* it – then trade it in later. :)
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Shannon Smith says
Thanks for the tips! I’ll have to see if Coinstar offers any gift certificates for anything we’d use. Otherwise, I guess we’ll be opening him another savings account. This will give me a new question to ask, one I never thought of.
I did think about the money we’d lose, but I was thinking it would be more like a couple bucks because I figured we’d be cashing in $20 or $30, but I got to thinking that I had a friend one time who saved his coins in a jam type jar. When he cashed it in it was almost $80. His jar was about the size of our piggy bank, and maybe smaller. Which means we might have at least that much if not more, because I put a lot of quarters in there. I’ll have a lot harder time seeing an $8 fee over a $2 fee. Know what I mean?
Tishia Lee says
I’ve let Caleb use the Coinstar thing in the past but once when he had about $50 in change I cringed that he lost $5.00 of in fees. But to him he didn’t care, to me it did.
I don’t have a savings account for him but I know his grandparents opened one and his dad has access to it so maybe we’ll just start giving the change to his dad to put in his savings. I don’t know.
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Amanda Formaro says
Our bank in town doesn’t charge it’s customers a fee, but a non-customer would pay. The same bank in a different state (Nevada) did charge a fee to everyone (assuming that was because of the high use of coin due to all the casinos and video poker machines everywhere).
I would say open a savings account, make sure it’s a free minor account without any fees. That way he can still save his change, be sure the bank will count it for free, then deposit it. Be sure to keep a quarter out for the bubble gum machine :)
Amanda – FamilyCorner.com ;-)