How to Turn Loose Change Into Gift Cards

Coinstar logo

Like many people, we have tons of loose change at home.  We keep our loose change in jars and usually keep dumping change into it until it’s full.  We then bring it in to the bank and deposit the change.

coins in bottle

This used to be a fun task for us.  One of our local banks used to have a coin machine that converted our coins to cash with no fee.  We used the machine on numerous occasions and loved how easy it was to use.  That is until the machine disappeared.  See, our bank merged with another bank, and the newly formed bank didn’t keep the coin machine.  Bummer!

Now we were forced to put our coins into those paper rolls.  Have  you ever used those?  They are a pain to use, but our bank would not accept the coins unless they were in the rolls so of course we did it.  Putting $20 – $30 worth of coins into those coin rolls was truly a pain in the you know what.

Rolls of American Pennies

Recently, I heard about a new coin machine called Coinstar.  It sounded similar to the one that used to sit in my bank so I did a little research on it.  I found out that there was one located in my local Stop & Shop supermarket.  This sounded promising.  I was ready to grab my coin jar until I read that they charged fees.  Fees?  I don’t do fees!

Once I found out the they charged fees, I had no intention of ever using the Coinstar machine.  That is, until I found out that you could avoid the fee by cashing out for a gift card.  They were also offering Stop & Shop gift cards which would work out perfectly because I do most of my grocery shopping there.

So hubby and I brought our jar of coins to our local Stop and Shop so we could cash out.

stop and shop sign

We found the Coinstar machine as soon as we entered the store because it was right near the door. We went to work on figuring out how to use the machine.  It was pretty easy.  There were instruction on the machine itself, plus we were prompted as to the next steps.

coinstar machine

My intention was to cash out for a Stop & Shop gift Card and then go shopping, but that did not work out as planned. Stop & shop gift Cards were not listed as an option.  I became puzzled because there was a sign right there on the machine stating that Stop & Shop gift Cards were now an option.

You may also like:  Four Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget

no fees coinstar

Since we couldn’t figure it out, I walked over to the customer service desk to ask for help.  We were informed that the reason they no longer had Stop & Shop gift Cards as an option was because they had a few problems with it.  The customer service rep did advise me that I could cash out for another gift card and that there would be no service fee imposed.

I was happy to hear that because I remember seeing as an option.  So again, hubby and I got to work, well mostly hubby.  For some odd reason, he wanted to be the one to pour the coins into the machine.  We made our selection and hubby dumped in the coins.  The machine started counting our coins.

The one thing that was a little odd though is the fact that the machine decided it was finished before we really were.  We still has some coins left in our jar.   Nevertheless, a few minutes later our coins were all counted and the machine spit out an gift card.  Sweeet!

amazon gift card

Afterwards, we did a little shopping and as soon as I got home I added my gift card to my account.

I must say, the Coinstar machine is very easy to use.  I would definitely use it again.

For more details on my shopping trip, you can check out additional pictures in my Google+ album.

You can also get more information on Coinstar and Stop & Shop below:

Coinstar’s  Facebook page

Coinstar’s Twitter page – #NOFEECoinstar and #CBias

Stop & Shop’s Faceebook page

Have you ever tried using a Coinstar machine to convert your coins? Have you tried Coinstar’s NO FEE gift card service option?

Disclosure:  I have been paid (at Coinstar’s request) to try and blog about  Coinstar’s products/services as part of a Collective Bias  shopper insights study. All opinions are my own.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author


Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 13-year old boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Contact her at


  • If our CoinStar machine has that option, then it’s fairly recent. I won’t use it because of the fee. However, I rarely roll coins because I spend my change. When we do roll, the kids like to help. Which, by the way, makes it more work…but also more fun.

  • I’ve always been torn on the coin machines. As a former teller, I hated getting my fingers cut loading one (because of what people put in their bags of change) but it always seemed mean to make them roll it. I love the idea of doing grocery cards off of the coinstar machine though!

  • Our bank thankfully still has the coin machine. It’s great because we then just transfer the balance to our daughter’s bank account, although, an Amazon gift card would be amazing! lol

  • I have never used one of these. I should. I don’t even know where one is near me.

  • We have one at our local Tops & now Walmart-I didn’t realize the gift card option so we have been losing on the fee-but it has still beat rolling our coins especially when we don’t have enough coins to make a roll. Thank you for the informative post!

  • This is great. I saw that option last time and am definitely going to start taking my coins there.

  • I love Coinstar, but didn’t realize they had a gift card option! How awesome is that! I will have to check into that some more and round up our change! 🙂

  • The availability of gift cards through Coinstar is a new concept for me, but what a fantastic idea! I love the thought of combining two errands into one trip! Winning 🙂

How to Turn Loose Change Into Gift Cards

by Diane time to read: 3 min