Friday, January 27, 2012

Hope and Change

I don't know what I can give you in the hope category, but I can talk to you about change. In general it's a better idea to be using cash for most of your purchases, for a variety of reasons, and this will invariably lead to you having some loose change lying around. When you include the random coins that you find or pick up (and you should pick them up) you will start to accumulate a decent amount of coinage. 

So what do you do with it all? Most of you may have found out by now that it can be quite a chore to handle. You can't carry much, it is a pain to sort, and a lot of cashiers will act like you handed them a dead baby if you try to pay in change.

The problem of the cashier reactions can be solved by not caring what people think, but dealing with change can still be a logistical pain in the ass. So what is the aspiring early retiree to do with their change?

A couple tips:

1. Have containers for your change by type, and empty pockets every day. Have a different container for pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. And sort each time you have a handful of change until waiting until you have a giant pile. If you get home and throw your loose change in the right jar right away, most of your work is already done.

2. Buy coin rolls. You can get a large bag of around 30-40 paper coin rolls for  less than 2 dollars.

3. DO NOT use coinstar! It takes a ludicrous 10% of your money for the simple task of counting it and converting it to cash! that is outsourcing at its worst!

4. Save work by pre-measuring the size of a roll. Find a tube of some kind that fits each type of coin. Then count out a rolls worth of that coin and put it in the tube. Now cut or trim the tube down until it is flush with the stack of coins. Now you have a way to instantly measure a full roll of coins without having to actually count them. Then you can simply stick in in the paper wrapper and you are good to go. Will probably actually take LESS time than coinstar!Note: you will have to do this for each type of coin, but only once.

If you can't find a suitable tube you can use one of the paper rollers that are crimped shut at one end and cut it to size. They do also make commercial products that are designed for this purpose, but I feel it is easy enough to improvise that you don't need to buy anything.

5. Save the change for vendors that don't give you shit about it: Even if you have the right mindset about not caring, it still may slow you down if some stores balk at taking change or insist on counting the whole roll. There are however several stores that will easily take your rolled change. Publix has a scale built into their register and they weigh the rolls to tell if they are whole. It is just as fast as paying with paper cash and I have never had a problem or a complaint from them. Gas stations also seem perfectly willing to take rolled change. I simply take a couple rolls in when I go to buy my groceries and I have never had any problems.

- The Money Monk

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