Other options than Coinstar?

So, I have a pretty significant amount of change. It's a mini bathroom trashcan full of coins ( "donated" to me by my mother ... thanks mom! 馃槈) and an old coffee tin almost filled. I called my bank, Chase, today and was told that no branches have coin counters anymore... boo!

So, as far as I know my only options are rolling the coins myself or Coinstar. Option 1 seems way too unwieldy, there's probably ~$500 worth of coins, maybe more. Options 2 carries a 12% fee if I want cash, which seems really high. 

Right now my plan is to go to a Coinstar, choose an Amazon gift card (no fees) and treat that like a cash account/gift card. 

Is there another option I'm missing? If I do Coinstar any other thoughts on the best way to use it?

TIA

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    • WordTenor
    • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
    • WordTenor
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Yeah, I鈥檇 just do the Amazon card. Bring it into the budget as its own account and budget the $500 wherever you want it. 

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  • If you choose a gift card that doesn't charge interest, then the machine makes an error in producing the gift card code, then Coinstar will let you cash out your money at zero interest. But other than that, Amazon seems to be the best option. I did that 2 days ago and I'm now using it to buy toilet paper and stuff

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      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
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      Tomaloha Ha, I just got an Amazon gift card and wanted to do the responsible thing and add it to my budget and spend it on things I would have bought anyway. Presto! TP it is.

      Reply Like 1
  • Hi ChicagoFlyer !

    My mom is big on change collecting, too! Her credit union keeps a coin counter and it's free to use if she deposits the amount to her account with them. Outside of that, I think the gift card is the best option - 12% seems a steep price to pay!

    Reply Like 1
  • That's what we did (Coinstar - Amazon)

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    • Bruce
    • Software Engineer
    • Bruce
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Yeah, my CU has free use of coinstar also. I would really have a strong debate with myself if they charged 12%!  But then again, it might be worth it, just to think of all the time you'd be saving yourself.

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  • I ended up using Coinstar a couple of weeks back. Had a little under $40 in change. Was going to get an Amazon gift card, but the Domino's Pizza gift card tempted me instead. :)

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    • DnA
    • IT manager, husband, father, YNAB podcast listener
    • Navy_Blue_Cup.2
    • 5 mths ago
    • 1
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    I thought I'd post an article I just read about Coinstar alternatives.  There appear to be at least two banks that do have coin counters and will do so free for non-customers. 

    https://clark.com/personal-finance-credit/coinstar-alternatives/

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    • Technicolor Cheetah
    • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
    • technicolor_cheetah
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    My credit union has a change machine and doesn't charge a percentage.  You just bring the slip up to the window, then you can cash it or deposit it.  Maybe you have access to one of the banks   DnA  refers to?

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      • ChicagoFlyer
      • Making the best of what's around
      • chicgoflyr
      • 5 mths ago
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      Technicolor Cheetah and Bruce I've considered switching to a credit union before. I probably won't do it just now for this, but thanks for one more reason to do my research and look at CUs again.

      Reply Like 1
  • I don't know about you, but I want to keep as much money in my pocket as possible.

    They make these little dodads that hold the coin sleeve in them, and they're calibrated so that you know how many coins you've put in, so you don't have to actually count them all.

    Here are similar ones from amazon, though you can probably find them cheaper at walmart or something: https://www.amazon.com/Counters-Sorters-Color-Coded-Assorted-Wrappers/dp/B079NPKDHW/ref=sr_1_3?crid=24P38BCZ769I0&keywords=coin+counter&qid=1561050132&s=gateway&sprefix=coin+%2Caps%2C126&sr=8-3

    They work really fast for us, and we've rolled a LOT of coins.

    The other coin counting trick I figured out when I had to count my drawer down way back in high school when I worked at a Michael's craft store and it NEVER failed that someone would try to come talk to me while I was counting my change... I would line up the coins on the counter in rows. Quarters were put in rows of 8, dimes, nickles, and pennies were put in rows of 10. Then it was EASY to see how many I had, and I didn't actually have to count past 10 :)  It made it so much faster, because I could thoughtlessly line them up, and then just count the rows really quickly and I knew how much I had. It works when rolling coins, too, you just know how many rows you need to make for one wrapper, and then grab them and stack them up. It's the best thing to do while binge watching your latest obsession. Make money while you watch TV, it doesn't get better than that.

    So for less than the 12% you'd be giving to the machine, you can do it yourself and keep the little dodads for the next time you need to roll a bunch of coins and then you don't have the fee ever again.

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      • ChicagoFlyer
      • Making the best of what's around
      • chicgoflyr
      • 5 mths ago
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      farfromtheusual I vividly remember rolling coins when I was younger. It seemed like so much fun then.. not so much right now! But thanks for the link. I think the lesson is to not hoard the coins so much!

      Reply Like 1
  • I looked for credit unions near me - free to use and can set up an account with only $5.00- id rather pay myself than coinstar

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    • WordTenor
    • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
    • WordTenor
    • 5 mths ago
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    ...just get an Amazon gift card or one to another place you frequent and bring it into YNAB on budget. 

    I don鈥檛 know why this thread is driving me bonkers, but it is. You don鈥檛 have to do anything to get $500 you can use anywhere out of Coinstar, which means you don鈥檛 need to hustle to find some way to avoid Coinstar, so all this advice doesn鈥檛 apply. If you have a gift card and it is an on-budget account, it is just another account. Just like any other account, you can budget the money in any category you want, even if you won鈥檛 use the card for that thing. Get a $500 card to your grocery store, budget like normal for groceries, and the money in checking you would normally use for groceries has been freed up to spend on a plane ticket to Mexico. Done. 

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
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      I鈥檒l add that the reason I think this bugs me is that this one of the coolest parts of the account/category separation. That so many folks are trying to figure out a way around getting a gift card leads me to think this is not well understood. It is worth understanding! Suddenly every re-gifted $10 gas card can turn into money for whatever you most want. 

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      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 5 mths ago
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      WordTenor I don't understand how this is not immediately obvious. As long as there is money budgeted for the category you're going to spend the gift card on, the cash in your account can be repurposed. I think the problem comes if I were to get, say, a $350 gift card to Home Depot and I don't have $350 budgeted in my home improvement category (or some other category I will defer spending on until such time as I can budget funds into a category that I could spend at HD).

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
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      bevocat  right, that鈥檚 the only problem. But it occurred to me that a way around that would be if you get a very large gift card, you could add the income in pieces as you are able to budget for the relevant category.  So if each month you鈥檙e budgeting $100 in home improvement,  but you otherwise don鈥檛 have any savings, then each month you could bring $100 of the gift card on budget. 

       But, really, as soon as you have any kind of substantial savings to where you鈥檙e not spending your budget completely to zero every month, you can usually swing a gift card of almost any denomination . 

      Reply Like 3
      • ChicagoFlyer
      • Making the best of what's around
      • chicgoflyr
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
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      WordTenor I totally agree and plan to just get the Amazon gift card. 

      I do admit that I have other gift cards on budget that I keep forgetting about so I can see how that would make some people worried if they had too much money in gift cards. I just need to use mine and I don't have real possibility of somehow spending more than whats available to me in cash in month either way.

      But we know that account =/ category is still a really hard concept to understand in YNAB. Like bevocat mentioned, if I got a Home Depot gift card I would feel like I HAVE to put that amount into my home improvement category. I'll spend the money at Amazon in multiple categories faster than I'd like to admit and it ill work just fine in my budget.

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
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      ChicagoFlyer Letting go of the impulse to put the Home Depot card in your Home Improvement category is pretty dang amazing. 

      I do try to spend my gift cards as quickly as humanly possible so that I don't forget about them, but some spend slowly and that's okay. I don't often go to Panera, so the $25 I got from my SIL for Christmas is down by only one chai. But the $20 to my grocery store disappeared the next time I went shopping. And I bought $45 worth of home decor with the actual funds, which were not bought using either gift card. 

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    • WordTenor I have over $1000 in gift cards. This is more than 1/3 of my monthly budget. Many of these are to places that sell things that fall in categories we are not actively funding right now (treats, fast food, decor, fun money = $30, which is nowhere near 1000). These cards are thus largely not fungible.  I've put them in a separate category to a) remind me to use them right away and b) make sure they're not accidently going to be paying my electric bill.

      I completely understand what you're saying, and I rejoiced when I bought something that was otherwise budgeted for with Amazon's GC. I then freed up that exact amount from the GC to TBB.  I don't want to jump the gun on the others, though.

      It's like if I carried cash for a specific purpose, say to shop at a farmers' market. If I wanted to stop for ice cream on the way, I'd check the budget. If there were miraculously money in Treats, I could get some.  But that money is sitting in my bank. If I used cash, I may not have enough cash for the market afterwards.  

      Situations like that rely only on my memory to know which place to pull the money from. I try to use systems that prevent mistakes. 

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
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      Move Light Sound Life It does require some flexibility. You鈥檙e right that there is nuance. However, most people err on the side of 鈥淚 can only budget the gift card exactly where I鈥檒l spend it鈥 so I always want to be clear that is not necessary.  And you don鈥檛 need to have $1000 worth of treat spending to use them elsewhere. You just need about $1000 that usually sits doing nothing from month to month. 

      1/3 of the month is a lot to have in gift cards; I鈥檇 suggest you鈥檙e probably in the minority. My GC account balance right now is about 2% of my monthly spend, so I can sit on them basically forever. And I do have two restaurant specific ones that aren鈥檛 part of the budget; I don鈥檛 usually go to those places so it will be a special dedicated trip when I do. 

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  • One thing to consider is how quickly you want the $500 available to you vs. how long it would take to spend it on Amazon, therefore "freeing up" money that would have been spent on Amazon. If you don't have an immediate need, or regularly spend on Amazon, the gift card would be the easier way. If you want the extra cash immediately, rolling is really not so bad once you pre-make the piles. 

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
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      Purple Admiral assuming  ChicagoFlyer has the liquidity to handle the rate of spend,  the $500 is available immediately no matter whether the result is a gift card or cash. See the above discussion.  it鈥檚 really a pretty cool feature and a good reason to have a healthy amount of liquidity in your budget.

      Reply Like 3
  • Thank you so much for posting this!  We too have a LOT of coin that we need to cash in and just realized our bank, Chase, doesn't have a coin machine any more.  Amazon gift card for the win!!  Woot Woot!!

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      • ChicagoFlyer
      • Making the best of what's around
      • chicgoflyr
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Whiskey Mama It's really annoying that Chase got rid of their coin counters! I had gone maybe 3 years ago and it was so easy. I just handed the teller my jar of change and that was it.

      It's disappointing, but I'm using even less cash on a daily basis than I was even 5 years ago... so I guess the need is less and less. 

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