How to Organize Loose Change

In a time when most purchases are made with credit cards, it can be easy to overlook the value of coins and bills. But change still exists, and it’s important to keep track of it as you make transactions. You may even have a container somewhere in your home where you’re keeping the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that come from your everyday shopping. You can cash in these coins at local banks and credit unions, or use them to pay small purchases at shops that accept them.

Before you decide how to deal with your loose change, count the money and organize the bills and coins by value. This will help you make the most of your coins and avoid losing any.

To make the counting process easier, start with the largest values and work your way down. For example, if you have three quarters, one dime and two nickels, you should first add the quarters together (value = $1). Then add in the dimes, then the nickels and finally the pennies.

Once you’ve figured out how much your loose change is worth, you can choose where to exchange it for cash. Many big banks have phased out their coin-counting services, but regional banks and credit unions are more likely to offer the service at no cost to you. Alternatively, you can take your coins to a local coin kiosk, such as those found at some grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores. Some of these machines charge a fee to cash in coins, which can add up quickly.

You can also save your change by rolling it into smaller denominations. This will help you avoid paying transaction fees and allows you to store your change in a safe location. You can purchase rollers online or at some dollar and office-supply stores.

Some people are turning to cryptocurrencies to store and transfer money, rather than using traditional methods such as credit cards or international remittance services. To their proponents, cryptocurrencies are a democratizing force that can decouple financial power from central banks and Wall Street. But critics argue that a lack of regulation for these digital assets empowers criminal groups and terrorist organizations, exacerbates inequality and consumes enormous amounts of electricity.

If you’re interested in learning more about coins, check out the Bureau of Engraving and Printing website and the United States Mint website for information on the latest coin releases. You can also find a wide range of historical and educational materials at the National Numismatic Collection. This article was written by Heather Hennerich, a senior editor with the St. Louis Fed External Engagement and Corporate Communications Division. The views expressed are her own.