Monday, April 2, 2012

Coins, More Coins and Thanks to Coinstar... a Gap Gift Card

I signed-up last week to participate in a shopportunity with Collective Bias to try one of the Coinstar coin-counting machines that are located in various Stop & Shop stores.

My kids are fanatic about saving and counting coins, so I knew this was a perfect family activity. In our old neighborhood we used to bring our coins to a TD Bank, which also has a feature for the kids to guess the amount before it gets counted, but where we live now the closest bank is a 10 to 15 minute drive away, so it's less convenient, and we haven't gone in awhile.

Not only was the Stop & Shop Coinstar closer than the bank, but being able to combine a coin counting trip with a grocery store shop would be much more convenient. So I had my kids scurry and find the various coin piles around the house and we put everything they found in a Ziploc bag.
Coins ready and waiting to be counted at Coinstar!
I looked through them and took out all the "old pennies" as has been my habit since I was a kid, but to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why I keep the old pennies. I have no idea if they are even worth anything (besides a penny) but some habits are just gonna stick, logical or not. (I am guessing my brother L.E.S.ter also still does the same. He may also still be stockpiling bicentennial quarters.)
I keep these old-style pennies. I have no idea why.
I also had the kids swipe out any quarters they wanted for their state quarter maps, which they love popping quarters into when they find a state they don't have yet.
State quarter map.
Once the coin inspection was completed, I was ready to go with the remaining coins. I drove (surprisingly, by myself, as the kids were home with Daddy and the promise of some quality time with the iPad) to the local Stop & Shop to see how much change we had managed to hoard.

One in the car I remembered there was a pile of change in the console as well, but decided to leave it there as my son enjoys choosing a few coins each morning of preschool to contribute to the tzedakah box and I didn't want to do anything that would discourage the joy he has in his charitable ways.

As I entered the Stop & Shop, which is a huge store, my first thought was "I will never find the Coinstar kiosk", so I was very happy to find it immediately, right inside the main entrance.
The non-elusive Coinstar kiosk.
There was a lot of signage explaining the Coinstar features, including the ability to convert coins to cash, and to do so without a fee if you chose to cash out funds from Coinstar with a Stop & Shop gift card.
Coinstar kiosk.
However, the day that I used the Coinstar machine while there were lots of other options (like Gap/Old Navy and Amazon) getting a Stop & Shop gift card was not one of the options.

While it would have been convenient to convert my coin windfall into a Stop & Shop card I would have used immediately inside the store, I was perfectly happy to have almost $20 to spend next time I'm at the Gap or Old Navy. Which is pretty much as often as I'm at the grocery.

Overall, the Coinstar experience was a positive one. It was a convenient location, there was no fee as long as I chose the gift card option instead of cash, and when I was there, there was no line.

I spoke to someone in Customer Service at Stop & Shop, who said Cointar would be offering Stop & Shop gift cards soon, and when they do, I'm sure I'll be exchanging some of my coins for those as well.

Until then, I'll be enjoying spending our loose change on new clothes.

To learn more about Coinstar, visit the Coinstar website, Coinstar Facebook page, or follow Coinstar Twitter.

To learn more about Stop & Shop, visit the Stop & Shop website and the Stop & Shop Facebook page.

To see more photos from my Coinstar experience, check out my story on Google+.

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.
To follow the conversation on Twitter look for the hashtags #NoFeeCoinstar and #CBias.

Are there any coins you always keep? Please share!


Jennifer said...

I did the Coinstar shoppertunity too! Almost $160 in coins converted into a gift card. Coins that would have continued to sit in a bowl in my closet for years had I not been inspired by #CBias :)

l.e.s.ter said...

Yep, still saving the old pennies and Bicentennials. Still no rationale for it, either (except that they're getting rarer and rarer.)

GlamKitten88 said...

I only save change because it usually ends up floating around the bottom of my handbag. I think I have close to $20 in my room right now. I should really cash that in!
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Kristy @PampersandPinot said...

I love saving up coins! It feels like "free" money.

Kelley said...

This was so great to read! I have been meaning for SO LONG to go to Coinstar. I always forget. Thanks for the reminder!

RandomHandprints said...

Would love to know how much $$ you end up having! Seems like my twenty bucks was kinda puny compared to the serious coin hoarders hauls.

RandomHandprints said...

Me too! Even more so because they come from the husband's coin bowl!

RandomHandprints said...

but are you still saving the birth year change?

RandomHandprints said...

that is some serious change my friend. impressed.

SavvyMomNYC - Ker said...

I also did this shoppertunity. We had the Stop & Shopcard as an option and my girls loved picking out some extra treats!

Terri said...

My kids had a state quarter map, too! What a convenient way to cash in coins - right at the grocery! And No Fee? Love it!

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