Credit Karma

Mar 28: What to do with your change?

March 28, 2024

In this age of paying by tap, using credit cards, bank cards, or even your phone, we just aren’t using as much cash as we used to.

While cash – bills and coins – is still accepted everywhere, it’s more common to pay other ways. So, wondered Save With SPP, what do people do with the change that used to go back into their pockets?

According to the Wealth Awesome blog, many people have old jars of change, including pennies, sitting around the house – money that still holds value.

“If you’re like many Canadians, then you’ve likely got a jar or piggy bank packed with loose change that you’re saving for a rainy day,” the blog begins.

The “old school” way to go would be to get some coin wrappers, wrap up your old pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies and toonies, and then take them to the bank, the article advises.

Alternatively, you can “put them in a coin-to-cash machine” without having to sort them. Such machines, the article advises, can be found “in grocery stores nationwide,” and “allow you to dump your coins in exchange for a receipt, which you can bring to customer service to receive the value in cash or store credit.”

Save with SPP will add that there is fee charged when you use these machines, typically a percentage of the value of the coins you put in. So be sure you are aware of this, and OK with it, before you dump your coins in.

Even though pennies became extinct in Canada more than 10 years ago, the article notes that you can still turn them in at the Royal Canadian Mint.

You can also donate them to charities. The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign accepts coins, and you’ll see coin jars on the counter at your favourite coffee shop, pet store, and mall.

The Credit Karma blog says that a way to avoid the high fees at coin-to-cash machines is to buy a “coin separator,” which sorts coins by size and makes it simpler to roll them.

The blog also says a good option for coins is to simply spend them.

Coins are also necessary in some situations — like using coin-operated laundry machines or car vacuum cleaners,” the blog advises.

The Penny Hoarder blog expands on the idea of just spending your coins.

When you pay for items at a store, you can dip into your wallet or change purse to pay the full price using exact change, the blog notes.

“Having change on you can also come in handy if you need to pay a parking meter or get an emergency snack out of a vending machine,” the article adds.

Why, the article asks, should you have to break bills into change “when you have a jar full of change just sitting in your house?”

The folks at Penny Hoarder have another interesting suggestion – designating a specific use for your change.

“Instead of just depositing your change into your savings or checking account, deposit all of your change into your retirement fund or your child’s (university) savings account,” the blog suggests.

“It may not seem like much, but these little contributions can add up over time. Plus, your college or retirement fund may have higher interest rates than your savings or checking account, and this helps you maximize your return on your coins,” the blog adds.

We used change as part of our drive to get as much money into the wife’s Saskatchewan Pension Plan account as possible before she retired. She’s now getting a lifetime annuity payment from SPP each month. It’s nice to think that a chunk of that pension paycheque originated from pocket change.

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.