Look after the pennies…

How to cash in your jar full of changeI recently declared that my dust gathering jar of small change needed addressing. I won’t go into the reasoning here, as this post is more about the how, than the why – if you are interested in why I’m cashing in my copper collection, you can read about it here.

I was all ready to settle down for a long afternoon of coin counting, filling those little plastic bags and trotting my way down to the bank to no doubt infuriate the poor cashier who was unfortunate enough to serve me. Mercifully, I was saved the whole painful rigmarole by someone who read my intentions to cash it in, and pointed out a far better solution. This saved me at least a couple of hours I reckon, and is something I had no idea about, so I wanted to share the good news with you savvy readers.

As far as I am aware, there are 3 sensible ways to turn your shrapnel into a more usable form:

  1. The hard way: Get your abacus out, it’s counting time. Set yourself aside an hour or two and do it the old fashioned way. You’ll need plenty of coin bags at hand and an unapologetic confidence as you approach the bank to cash your counted bounty. You will however, keep every penny.
  2. The costly way: My frugal nature meant this was never an option for me, but most big supermarkets these days have coin counting machines. Simply pour in your coinage and the machine will count it all up in a matter of minutes, and issue you a voucher that can be redeemed for cold hard cash at the checkout. The snag? These machines will take an 8.9% cut of anything you pour in. It’s not something I could happily endure, but if you’re less stingy than me, it’s a quick and easy option. For more information and locations of machines, see the coinstar website (there may be other similar providers, but I am not aware of them – share in the comments if you know of any).
  3. HSBC coin machine

    An example of  a bank coin machine – This guy must have carried his coins in a wheelbarrow!

    The Shoestring Way: If you’re lucky enough to have access to the right bank, you can combine the best of both worlds. A few banks now have coin counting machines available for their customers. Exactly the same principle as above, just pour in the coins and the machine totals it up for you, but with the huge benefit of not taking any fee. The cash is paid straight into your bank account – hence why it’s necessary to have an account with them. Save the monotonous hours at no cost!

After a bit of research, it appears HSBC is by far leading the field on the coin machines. Many of their branches in larger towns and cities have the facility. Natwest and Barclays also have a select few available. If you don’t happen to bank with one of these, it looks like you’re out of luck at the moment. This site has kindly gone to the trouble of compiling a list of branches with coin counting facilities, – I cannot vouch for the accuracy of any of the information, but it seems fairly thorough. There are quite feasibly more out there, the best bet is probably contacting your bank and checking with them. If you’re comfortable with it, you could also find a (TRUSTED) friend or family member who does bank with one of these, and use their account, getting them to then transfer the amount to you – this is in fact what I did. A small tip; the machine will likely reject a few coins, try putting them through again,  it will often accept some the second time.

So, the question on everybody’s lips… how much was in my jar? £50.52 is the answer. It was a pleasant surprise, as I was expecting something more like £30. For the anoraks out there, you can see below the receipt from my deposit, showing the breakdown of the coins I had.

HSBC Coin counting machine free

Those 10p’s and 20p’s really add up

I considered showing some calculations about the difference between depositing my coins as accumulated every year and investing them, rather than waiting until now and doing it in a lump sum, but I fear it would just bore you. Suffice it to say, my coinage would be more like £60 by now had I invested it yearly at an average return of 3% per annum.

Another happy lesson I have learnt along the process – a small, but helpful thing to know nonetheless!

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  1. Catherine says:

    excellent discovery. I think Tesco have this machine in their stores as well.

  2. Hmm… Good idea. I tend to have changes left over but never really saved them. I think I might get one of these jars instead and just throw some pennies in.

    • It really is surprising how quickly it builds up! Helps keep the wallet light too if you have somewhere to discard the undesirable pennies. The satisfaction you get when depositing is probably greater than the actual monetary reward.

  3. I wonder if there are any penny counting machine, that will really help lot!

  4. You can buy coin counting machines from Amazon etc, costing from upwards of £10. This would be a good compromise between counting yourself or paying the cut at supermarkets.

    I recently counted up a large Crespo Olive jar full of coins, and there was over £90 in it!

    • That option hadn’t occurred to me, but you’re right. If you’re going to be doing some serious coin cashing then these machines start to become an economically viable option if a coin machine at a bank isn’t possible. This one from Amazon looks like a decent bet, though you’d have to cash about £200 worth before it became cheaper than using a coinstar machine. Zeon Coin Sorter

      Nice work on the £90 coin jar haul! You now hold the Shoestring coin jar record, unfortunately it is worth nothing but my respect.

  5. Nice Post! Really helpful for me. Very informative.

  6. Andrew Marshall says:

    I have been filling a large glass jar given to me by my dad for the past 10 years with 1ps, 2ps and 5ps (the jar that used to hold sherbet back in the old days.

    So after 10 years, the jar was finally full and I decided to count it and bag it all up. It took approx. 4 hours of boring work (thankfully the World Cup was on) and I managed to save £170.43.

    The reason I chose to count and bag it, is because I wanted to know whether the HSBC machine will count it correctly (bar any of my own counting mistakes and coins it won’t accept).

    So come Friday I will be carrying in almost 40kgs of change – HSBC watch out

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