While tackling spring cleaning this year, chances are that - among the dust bunnies and gum wrappers - you'll find an assortment of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies under the couch cushions, in unused purses and in the pockets of your winter coats. You may also have a jar, basket or other container where you throw your loose change.
If you're like most Americans, that collection of nickels and dimes add up to between $30 and $50, according to Coinstar, a company that makes self-service coin counting machines found in many supermarkets. They estimate that $7.7 billion worth of loose change is effectively out of circulation because it is accumulating in homes throughout the U.S.
What to do with your windfall? Debra Harrington, a retail store manager in Des Moines, Iowa, says that she used last year's accumulation of $35 to treat herself and a friend to lunch and a movie. Helen Zimmerman, a production coordinator, saves her change to use for gambling money on her annual trip to Lake Tahoe, Nev. Sharon Branson of Orlando shares the wealth: after cashing in her accumulation of change, she donates the proceeds to her favorite charity.