Use your coin jar to buy gift cards with Coinstar (with no fee)

Amazon: Emerson Digital Coin BankLeAnn's practical demonstration of "a penny saved is a penny earned":

One of my favorite holiday hacks is to use my coin jar to buy Christmas gifts.  Our coin jar amasses quite a few coins by the end of each year, but I'm too lazy/busy to roll them up and take them to the bank. Instead, I take the jar to a Coinstar machine (there's one at a grocery store in town) and cash it in for gift certificates. Coinstar charges a fee to turn your coins in for cash, but turning them in for gift certificates is free!

Coinstar has a bunch of retailers to choose from — Amazon, Gap, ITunes, and more! (The Coinstar website contains a full listing of participating retailers.) I usually end up with at least $100 for Amazon, which covers a nice chunk of my Christmas shopping.

Brilliant. This hack is also great for kids and their piggy banks.

RelatedStick to your budget by paying with gift cards


  1. says

    Brilliant. My go-to grocery has CoinStar, which I’ve never used because of the fee. My Credit Union has a free coin counter, but not at my local branch.

    Also, if I turn the coins into a card for something I use, it sequesters the $ from the general budget. At the CrUn, I always put the $ into my savings account, where it just looks like any other money.

    Thanks for the tip1

  2. Michelle says

    The CoinStars around us… NEVER WORK (<— not an exaggeration). Or, the GC option is broke and you can only turn your coins in for a voucher (with the service charge). I found out about this a few years ago and think that it is a brilliant idea, but I decided that CoinStar was up to no good when the machines in my area never work for the 'no service charge' part.

  3. Krys says

    My local bank branch still allows people to bring in their coin jars, and doesn’t charge a fee, so I haven’t run into this issue yet. Good to know it’s an option, though – since banks seem to take away more services every day!

  4. Andy says

    Also, look through your old coins before swapping them out. Dimes, Quaters and Half Dollars from 1964 or older are 90% silver and have material value greater than their monetary face value.