Loose Change

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 adds up. According to Coinstar, a company that makes self-service coin counting machines found in many supermarkets, an estimated $10 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? Sara Harrington, a retail store manager in Des Moines, Iowa, says that she used last year’s accumulation of $45 to treat herself and a friend to lunch and a movie. Helen Brooks, a production coordinator, saves her change to use for gambling money on her annual trip to Las Vegas, Nev. Sharon Dearborn of Orlando shares the wealth: after cashing in her accumulation of change, she donates the proceeds to her favorite charity.

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