Monday, January 9, 2012

5 Innovative Ways to Use Your Pocket Change

Pocket change is often such an inconvenience that we can easily forget that it is actually still currency. More than that though, there are a number of innovative ways to put your pocket change to use which don’t always involve spending or saving your coins.

1 – Exercise your brain :

There exists a money counting game called Pocket Change which helps you exercise your brain by quickly counting combinations of coins which appear on the screen. The game is designed to help you practice how to quickly count American coins, and so displays combinations of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars.

However, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have access to the game because you can use your own pocket change to exercise your brain and sharpen your mathematics skills. You will be surprised by how quickly you can enhance your speed adding skills when you practice regularly, so whenever you find yourself with a pocket or purse full of spare change, pull it out and challenge yourself to see how quickly you can count it. You can then further challenge yourself by working out how much change you will receive when you pay for your purchases, which is also a good way to make sure you’re not short changed.

2 – Check for valuable coins :

You can also use your pocket change to make you a bit of extra money, all you have to do is look a little closer. How often do you put your coins straight in your wallet or purse without even looking at them? Well you could be passing on a valuable coin, which could be worth much more than its face value. A coin could be valuable for a number of reasons, for example, by simply checking the dates on your coins you could find an exceptionally old coin which may be valuable, or you could find an error coin.

An error coin is when the die minting the coin miss-strikes and a coin is left blank, or with an unusual imprint. Normally a mint will correct an error as soon as they find it and try and recover the error coins, as a result, an error coin which finds itself in circulation and in your wallet can be quite valuable. For example, a double die coin is when the image has been doubled, either slightly or entirely. A coin with an axis rotation error is when the images on the front and back don’t line up – in countries if you hold a coin with the front image right way up, if you flip it 180 degrees the back image should be upside down.

3 – Pocket change arc welder :

An arc welder uses a power supply to create an electric arc between an electrode and a base material to melt two metals at a welding point. You can buy an arc welder, but you can also make one using a car batter, jumper cables and two coins. All you need to do is connect the number cables to the battery and each clamp to one coin. The electric current passing from the battery and into the coins reaches 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough to melt the coins so you can weld them two each other, or weld two different types of metals together.

4 – Value your pocket change :

Those things which are innovative and unique are the things which not many people do, or think about doing, so when it comes to being innovative with your pocket change, why not simply value it. When you can pay for just about anything, anywhere with a swipe or tap of your card, coins seem to have lost their place in our spending habits, and when we do throw a note at something, the change we receive in return is put aside as something which simply takes up space.

However, as soon as you come to value your money more or less depending on the form it takes, the less seriously you are taking your finances. In order to be in control of your financial situation you should know where all of your money is, all of the time and if you are discarding your change in the car, leaving it to fall down the back seat of the sofa, or not stopping to pick it up when you drop it, then you are losing touch with the value of your money and the effort you have put into making it, and only when you value your money can you make the right purchasing decisions.

5 – Pay off your credit card :

An innovative way to use and value your pocket change is to use it to pay off your credit card. That may sound like something which will take years to achieve, but again, you are undervaluing your pocket change. For example, whenever you pay for something with cash and you receive change, put it into a piggy bank and save it up. Then at the end of the month, take your pocket change to the bank and pay that amount as an extra payment towards your credit card bill, on top of the minimum you would usually pay. Even if you save just $1 a wLinkeek in coins to make an additional credit card payment, you can save over $3,000 a year in credit card interest.

Alban has been writing on personal finance for the last 3 years. When he is not blogging, Alban develops term deposit calculators.

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