Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buddy, can you spare some change

One of the things I like about teaching is that I learn as much from the students as they learn from me.

They come from all walks of life - professionals working in various fields, college or high school students, retired - or even newly fired - workers. They all bring something interesting to the table (or workbench, in this case) and the networking that occurs is terrific.

So the other evening, somehow the topic of loose change came up while we were working. And I mentioned that I have a ton of it laying around - in bowls

more bowls

funky vases - you name it, it probably has a coin in it.

At the end of the day, when I empty my pockets, it always seems like I find a pocketful of spare change.

It adds up, and counting it is a pain.

A while back, I remember seeing the CEO of Coinstar being interviewed on CNBC, and he was discussing the Coinstar kiosks that you've probably seen in your local grocery store, right by the front door.

I was shocked to hear that if you dump your change in one of those machines, they count it, and take nearly 10% of your change as a processing fee. OUCH. I remember thinking - what moron is going to do that? You have to be pretty lazy to give up 10% of your spare change just because you're too lazy to count and wrap it.

So imagine my delight when one of my students told me that in some instances, Coinstar doesn't charge you anything for processing your change. They've partnered with some well known companies - like Amazon, Lowes, Old Navy, Starbucks, CVS, Gap and more. (C'mon, Fresh and Easy, I hope you join up with them! REI, too!) Your spare coins can be exchanged for gift certificates to these retailers - how sweet is that?!

Wow... what a great concept. Since I'm a regular shopper at many of these places, it makes a lot of sense to simply dump my coins and get a gift certificate to say... Lowes, where I shop (probably) twice a week.

I went to Coinstar's website just to double-check this, and it's true. And no - I don't own stock in Coinstar, so that's not why I'm blogging about it. I need a new oscillating spindle sander, and I suspect I have enough spare change laying around my house to buy a new one.

It'll be pretty easy to dump my coins, get a Amazon gift certificate, and buy the new sander.

What's on your tool wish list?


lori said...

I am a tool whore; I want them ALL.

Rob said...

FYI, many banks now have coin counting machines of their own for FREE.. that in my opinion is the BEST route.