Coinstar Says That You Have $68 In Spare Change; Should Throw It In A Coinstar

Image courtesy of Eric Spiegel

How much spare change is sitting around your house, taking up space between couch cushions or sitting in a drawer? Coinstar, the company that brings you machines where you can cash in spare change or unwanted gift cards, estimates that the average household has $68 in spare change sitting around that could be converted into a more useful form––say, using a Coinstar kiosk.

That number comes from the average transaction at the coin-counting machines, which parent company Outerwall figures must represent the amount of money that the average household has hidden in spare change.

If you elect to receive your money in cash, the machine takes a percentage off the top, but it takes no discount when you take an electronic gift card to a variety of national chain retailers, including Toys ‘R’ Us, or Amazon or iTunes.

When asked, Americans told a pollster that they have about $41 worth of change lurking in hidden sources in their homes. Compare that with the $68 average transaction at a Coinstar machine.

In a recent press release, Coinstar pitched itself as a way for households to meet their gift-giving obligations during the holidays, including by using the newer and rarer Coinstar Exchange machines, which let users exchange unwanted gift cards for a smaller amount of cash.

Most families come up about $155 short of their holiday budget, and cashing in coins can keep families from racking up debt. That’s true, but they can do it just as well by rolling up coins or using a cheaper bank-based coin-counting machine if one is available

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