I collected coins for six months: A memoir

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I collected coins for six months: A memoir

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About six months ago, my sister, a wannabe minimalist, gave me a big mason jar to put all of my spare change in. Resilient to change, no pun intended, I was very pessimistic of this new decoration in my room. There was no way that I was going to have that much change to warrant using the jar. I seemed to underestimate my laziness at the cash register, always using bills, and never using coins to pay. Then my wallet began to crumble under the pressure of pounds of coins weighing it down. I caved. I started using the jar.


The jar was tantalizing; I loved hearing the sound of the metal against the glass. Each coin had a different frequency: dimes were a very high noise, while quarters were lower on the pitch scale. I mentally counted for a period, and saw pennies become dollars, growing bit by bit.


After a while, I decided to wait to count them all at the beginning of the new year. I didn’t expect to get a ridiculous amount of money out of it, about $20 or so, but as I continued my daily ritual of stopping at the jar, I saw the change piling up higher and higher. Eventually, I had to ask for another mason jar.


A new jar brought back the feelings from the beginning of the first. I really wanted to fill the second jar as well, but as I reached December, I had to step up my game. I actually started calculating prices for things to get as many coins as possible. I was going into lines at the store, buying one or two items, then got back in line to purchase the rest of my items. At one store, the manager caught on and told me to either make all of my purchases at once or not buy anything at all. Regardless, I kept trying to accumulate change.


The day was Dec. 25th, Christmas, everything was closed and it was impossible to get anymore change. This was a roadblock that I did not account for. I had to ask my dad for his spare change that I know he had lying around. My second jar was nearing maximum capacity, and I was on the home stretch. Unfortunately, I slept way too much in the final days, and my coin collecting mission was a failure.


On Jan. 1st, I started counting my money. I poured it all on the floor and it was magnificent. After two hours of counting and sorting, I had a magnificent array of stacks of coins, with each stack totalling a dollar. I had more quarters than anything else. There were about 520 quarters, 13 dollar coins, 200 dimes, 67 nickels, and 392 pennies. The grand total was…




This was an incredible amount of money, and a lot more than I was expecting from just six months. I was proud to have saved this much money, and it was surprisingly easy. The next step of the journey was amazing.


I packed up my jars and headed to Giant Eagle. The promised land, and the only place I could find a CoinStar machine. The only other option would have been to wrap all of the coins but there was no possible way that I was going to do that.


The disappointing part of it all is that the machine takes a cut of the money that you put in, taking a full $20 away from me. The machine spit out a ticket, and I took it to the service counter. The lady didn’t react to it at all, like this was a normal thing to happen, but to me, it felt completely extraordinary. She handed me the cash, $150 in all.


I left that Giant Eagle with my head held high. This was incredibly satisfying, and is definitely a part of my annual routine now. I will absolutely need to gather more mason jars, to streamline the sorting process. I recommend this to anyone, as it will help you save money, while also giving you an incredible conclusion to the year.