Every Penny Counts

The other day I went to a Coinstar to exchange the coins I’ve been accumulating since middle school.  You might think that’s a lot of coins, but given my course of life, it’s actually not that much.

In middle school, I didn’t have much change because 99% of my purchases were within the school cafeteria.  Even then, the change given to me was in the form of quarters; so I would just re use them to buy lunch the next day anyway.  Whatever coins I gained from the other 1% of purchases, I put in this waterproof glasses holder:


It’s funny how horribly inefficient this was to hold my coins.  Above using a coin purse, I decided the best way to hold my coins was to stack them into this cylindrical container.  If I wanted the quarter at the bottom of the nickels and pennies, I had to dump the whole thing out and then restack it.  (The best example of the abstract data type, stack).  High school came around and I got a jar filled with cookies for Christmas from Brenda, and that became my new vessel for coins:


I realized there was little reason to walk around with the neon orange change container in my backpack all day.  It made more sense to fill that jar at the end of the day instead.  And thus began the process of collecting my change.  I remember my goal in high school was to fill the jar and then donate it to one of those charity people that ring a bell in front of grocery stores.  When asked why, I would say because it’d be funny to empty it into the collection pot they have.

Well, I graduated from high school and it was still barely 3/4 full.  When I moved from the dorms to an apartment, I actually spent several minutes collecting the quarters in it to use for laundry.  That is, until I discovered it was cheaper and more efficient to load my student ID with laundry money.  Before that though, I made it a habit to separate my coins, all other coins in the jar, and quarters into the neon orange case.  When that ran out of space, I moved the quarters into a tin Princeton gave me later on.


College ended and now I have a credit card to do 99% of my purchases.  Having/needing coins are super rare, so that’s when I finally decided to exchange them.  It was quite the turnout!   I bought a gift card to avoid the 10.9% service fee of course.



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