It’s Christmas at Coinstar!

Coinstarloose change

When I was a kid, my Dad had this giant, plastic, Seagrams Seven Whiskey bottle/bank.  It was probably 2 feet tall and he would put his change in it when he got home from work or one of the many lounges he would frequent and regale the clientele with his stories.  A true American from Irish descent…

Once a year, maybe twice, he and I and my brother Ryan would get the brown, transluscent wonder and dump it all over the living room floor. Mom would then politely excuse herself and go upstairs and read.  Dad gave us each one of the dollar bills, kept the rest and then the rolling began!

You see kids, when I was a boy, we had to spend hours rolling up the coins in little paper tubes.  You would insert your index finger in the bottom and put monies of appropriate denomination into the tube,  hopefully equal what was stated on the outside.  Then take it to the bank where they would look at you either with anger or sympathy.  Sometimes they would whisper and point….I shudder just thinking about it.

Welcome to the 21st. century!  Nowadays, we have this mutant slot machine that you can just dump your whiskey bottle/bank in, get a receipt, go into Stop and Shop, and proudly hand it to the teller or Customer Service person and they will hand you cash!  It’s like a stick-up at a bank when you hand them the note, but no cops come, noone is horrified and hitting the floor, you don’t need to brandish a weapon, and no dye-paks explode on you when you reach the parking lot.  Cool huh?

Unfortunately, there are those in society who out of ignorance (not knowing about this thing) or embarassment of being seen at a machine, desperately dumping your coins in do not utilize Coinstar.  Let’s begin the healing and education process here so everyone has a bit more holiday cash and can experience the victory felt after leaving with cold, hard CASH$$$$$$.

Start slowly:

  • Get some alone time, get centered, and visit   You will notice that your cash can be used in many ways, not just taking the money and running out of the store still thinking this is way too easy and I am doing something illegal.  You can of course take the cash, but you will be issued a 10% fee for use of the machine.  However you can also:

– Get no fee charged by using the cash at the actual location you are in at the moment ie. Stop and Shop.

-Put it towards a gift card partner of Coinstar

-Give it to charity

These and many other options are there on the site and all make mucho senseo.

  • Now that you are familiar with the site and have a plan for the winnings, go on a feverish search of your home and automobile and find the change.  It hides everywhere. Couches, chairs, floormats to name a few.
  • Ladies…..your purse weighs 3lbs more than it needs to because you have soooo much loose change at the bottom.  You can use the cash to pay your chiropractor....It is usually from the Dunkin Donuts Drive-Thru when you are in a hurry to move the line behind you along so you either throw it on the floor of the car, center console or just fling it all into your purse, letting rain down and settle on the bottom.
  • Welcome back…..wasn’t so hard was it?  I cannot advocate taking your kids piggy bank but I will say kids love going to Coinstar so bring them along and start the college fund!

-The other thing about brining a kid along is if you are still afraid of your neighbor seeing you there, smartphone in hand and throwing a picture of you up on Facebook saying, “Poor Fitzy, needing his change just to go shopping.”,  You can say, “Hello Ruth-Anne, we are cashing in Junior’s paper-route money and teaching him fiscal responsiblity, thus avoiding a mortgage crisis down the road! As you know, children are the future….now please put your Smart-phone back in your purse…which is full of loose, neglected change.”

  • O.K…….time to go to Coinstar.  All nearby locations are on the site after a quick search.  Settle on the nearest or most comfortable.  Take whatever container you have, get in the car and GO!  Use a sturdy container,. You do not want all the change to break out of a Zip-Lok bag next to the Salvation Army Santa because then you will feel obligated to say ” I was just going to dump this in your kettle and the bag broke.”  A year’s worth of change going to a good cause but you lost the power to allocate it out correctly.
  • When you get to the machine, use the touch screen to Start the process and to choose which option you want for your dough.  Then just start pouring the change on the tray, tip it up a bit at a time so you dont over-tax the machine and even clog it ( happened to me) .
  • Note: Ignore the people cashing in the cans in the machines ajacent to the Coinstar machine. You have already bypassed them in the cashing in suff world….but they are a nice folk!

  • Caution: You will be overloaded on a sensory basis as you watch the numbers change on the screen and hear the coins crashing viciously into and down the monlolithic monster, so make sure you watch the smaller children, dont want them wandering off while you are hitting a jack-pot.  The older kids will be glued to the activity…give them a turn please…..they will enjoy it.
  • Natural Selection: Some coins don’t make the cut.  Yes sadly there is a culling process and only the strong survive.  There is a cup at the bottom of the machine where Canadien coins, tokens from Chucky Cheese, really dirty coins, damaged coins etc. will end up.  THESE GO TO SANTA.  They are fine and useable and you look good throwing that and whatever more you want to give into the kettle.  (Not the Chucky Cheese Tokens)
  • The big finish!  You are out of coins,  hit the button that says I’m Done and the machine will give you the receipt of joy.  Most locations require you to redeem the receipt right then….that day.  Do not run out in the parking lot screaming about your new found riches.  Go shopping… fee, or take the 10% hit and go to a teller or customer service and cash it in.  Easy peezy.  If you want, take a picture of the receipt with your phone and post THAT on Facebook or Twitter and help start the Coinstar revolution. Take that stupid Ruth-Anne!  The more people doing it, the cooler it is.

If you have any questions, message me back in comments or go to

Happy everything being celebrated!

Your Pal,

Image of loose change from google images (   Machine image from


4 thoughts on “It’s Christmas at Coinstar!

  1. I have used coinstar in the past which usually turned into losing lottery tickets. But I did use it recently and rolled it into luncheon meat for the kids, thus avoiding the 8.9% gouge… thanks, Fitz!

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