pennies from heaven
with permission from Mark Ewbie

Have you ever seen a nice, shiny perfect quarter just laying on the ground? It’s like it was practically begging you to pick it up? I know I have. There is no greater feeling. We are doing all kinds of insane things to side hustle away our student loans. I have been a firm believer of picking up pennies off the ground since the womb, likely. Imagine my horror, when, after we were married, I saw Danny literally THROW a sundry of loose change away.  I’d dare say there was even a quarter in this handful of change he threw away. QUARTER.

Over the years, I’ve at least been able to convince him to not throw money away, though he still would not be caught dead picking up change from the ground. Anyway, the last seven years of penny picking has left us with a giant jar of loose change. (aka, Danny’s worst nightmare).  Aside from normal U.S coins, our collection included, but was not limited to, Ugandan shillings, Chinese yuan, something that has Spanish on it likely from Domican Republic or Chile, and really an alarming amount of game tokens given the fact that we are both near age 30.  Honestly I can’t believe we have allowed that jar to move with us the million times we have moved over the course of our marriage. Moreover, despite the fact that the jar sits high up on one of our shelves, baby M has been successful at figuring out how to eat pennies for the last couple of months (none swallowed, thank goodness.)

Today was the day where enough was enough. I loaded up all the mason jar coins combo, and all the dang other coins I could possibly find in our house, and we headed to the closest Coinstar we could find. (Ours was located in a Neighborhood Walmart close to our house. I literally had never noticed it before. You can track down where these suckers are located HERE.)

First, pouring the change in the machine was the most fun M has apparently had in his life. He could not stop giggling. And I couldn’t stop giggling when I saw our total– almost $80! Honestly I was really surprised. I realize $80 isn’t a ton of money, but considering we actually do use our coins in daily transactions (since we try to pay for things in cash) and considering that its money Danny would have otherwise thrown away if he hadn’t married me, I was pleased. Another bonus– Coinstar allows you to cash in your coins with NO FEE if you choose a gift card instead of cash. They have gift cards to all kinds of useful places, like Amazon and iTunes. Ama-za-za-zing.

I credited that $80 straight towards my student loans. Obviously that is a drop in the bucket compared to our whopping $600k of student loans, but these things add up.

how to cash in coins to pay student loans

How to cash in coins to pay your student loans: 

  1. Locate your nearest Coinstar or other coins to cash machine. They are frequently located in grocery stores, but easy to overlook so keep your eyes out. (or use the Coinstar locator link above)
  2. Take all of your loose change to said machine. You don’t need to organize it or anything, just bring it with you.
  3. Select your preferred payment method. (gift cards or cash usually)
  4. Dump all of your coins into the machine. The machine will sort the coins for you. TBH this made me feel a little nervous at first. What if it didn’t count my change correctly and gypped me out of some of my pennies?? So I did a test run by only dumping in a few coins at a time and making sure it counted them right.
  5. Take your receipt to the customer service desk (if you’ve done this at a grocery store) where they will give you your cash or gift card.
  6. Go home richer! Actually the same amount of rich, cause you already had the coins, but now they’re more useful to you.

So the next time you see a penny on the ground and you think to your self, “hey, I’m too good to pick that up” think again. Pennies from heaven.

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creative ways to pay off debt


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  2. Great use of “found” money! I also pick up every penny (and nickle if I am lucky!) and keep it in a coin jar. We save our coins for travel, but since we hardly ever have cash it doesn’t add up so fast.

    1. I know what you mean! Well, may lots of shiney quarters on the ground find you today! Travel is definitely worth saving coins for.

  3. Oh my gosh, this story made me laugh. My dad told me I once decluttered my room when I was ~10 and he found CDs and pennies in the garbage! WHAT WAS I THINKING! Grown up Cait would never do that, haha. I always have a change jar around the house now, too. You actually just reminded me that it’s probably time to see how much is in there… $80 is a lot, when you think about the fact that it’s just change! 🙂

    1. Haha. CD’s! I’m nothing but impressed. Definitely the opposite of hoarding 🙂 Hope your change jar is full of quarters. Cheers!

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