The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 September 2005

Pennies from wherever

Like rather a lot of people, I have a canister in which I accumulate pennies; it holds about $6, and when it's full I schlep it to the supermarket, dump it into the Coinstar box, and receive a slip which I can then hand to the cashier in exchange for $5.34.

I'd heard that Coinstar was going to issue Amazon.com gift certificates — $6 worth for my 600 pennies instead of $5.34 — and this seems extremely cool, but I have to admit I hadn't thought it out quite as far as Steph Mineart has:

[I]f you wanted to go completely off the grid, you could use your Amazon gift card to set up an Amazon account and pay, without ever entering personally identifying information, AND Coinstar will accept paper money and convert it to the Amazon card. So if you were on the run from the law, and you wanted to send someone a gift from Amazon and have it shipped to them, you could put your cash into a Coinstar machine, get a gift certificate, set up an anonymous Amazon account, and make purchases.

I don't expect to be on the lam, so to speak, any time soon, but this strikes me as downright ingenious, and, best of all, convenient.

Posted at 10:38 PM to Common Cents


I've always hated that the machines take a profit of my hard-saved pennies, so I usually sit in front of the TV watching a baseball game and roll them myself. I not only guarantee an even exchange of roll for paper but also get to watch a full game that lasts about as long as it takes to roll the pennies.

Posted by: Vickie at 8:04 AM on 25 September 2005

(Yes, I have that many pennies. I only roll them once every five years.)

Posted by: Vickie at 8:05 AM on 25 September 2005

I just use a coffee can. :)

Earlier this year, I stubbed my toe on it (it works great as a doorstop), got mad and cashed it in...not quite full, there was (ahem) pennies short of $60 in it.

I took the whole thing to my bank, they ran it through their counter at no charge....

FWIW, I priced penny rolls and the rolls would have cost more than the amount charged by the Coinstar machine...

Posted by: unimpressed at 12:18 PM on 25 September 2005

Unimpressed,

My bank just hands them over to me. I ask for a few dozen of each denomination like once a year, and they give them to me. You shouldn't have to pay for them.

Posted by: Vickie at 12:38 PM on 25 September 2005

I rarely even go to the bank as I use Direct Deposit. It never even occurred to me to try there.

Posted by: unimpressed at 4:43 PM on 25 September 2005

Rarely ever, rather.

Posted by: unimpressed at 4:47 PM on 25 September 2005