Like many of you, my loyal readers, I have loose change lying around. A few years ago, I accumulated a lot of coins from a business I ran from my cubicle when Electronic Arts moved our team to Burnaby. The EA cafeteria charged people $1.25 for a single can of soda pop which was and continues to be larceny. I bought cans of pop in bulk and sold them out of a bar fridge next to my desk. I charged people $0.75 and they didn’t have to go all the way downstairs for it either. The end result, however, was an accumulation of many, many coins. Before I got laid off, I brought home bags and bags of coins, which just sat in my apartment as I was too lazy to figure out what to do with them.

As time passed, I also started accumulating coins just from everyday cash transactions. I finally decided to do something about that last week. I discovered that the Bank of Montreal has coin counting machines in select branches. You don’t even have to be a BMO customer to use them. The machine will count all your coins for you and then spit out a receipt. You can then take the receipt to the teller who will give you cash. The only catch is that if you bring more than $250 worth of coins, BMO will charge you a 8% processing fee on the final total.

My plan consisted of separating the loonies and toonies from the rest of the coins because I wasn’t sure if I could just use those in everyday spending. The rest of the coins went into a huge pile. I wasn’t sure if this massive amount of coins was going to go over $250, so I split it into more than one trip over different days. All told, the machines counted over 2000 individual coins for a total of about $250 in just pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I hand counted the loonies and toonies, which came out to $212.

It’s amazing to think I had $462 in just coins sitting in my apartment. If you’ve gotten some change lying around, you might be surprised at how much money you’re missing out on.

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