Counting spare change

Slow: do it by hand.

Stupid: use a Coinstar machine. These machines charge around 8 cents per dollar. That’s a whopping 8% tax just for the privilege of letting a machine do it for you.

Better: some bank branches have change counting machines that will count your money for free. Call around.

Best: just take your spare change with you next time you go to the store. Use the self-checkout isle, and cram coins into the machine until you paid your bill.

When I do self-checkout, I first empty out all my coins, then I use $1 bills, then $5 bills, etc. This way I am guaranteed that whatever change is returned is the lightest possible combination of currency.

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