Yesterday I emptied all the pennies out of my odds and ends drawer in an effort to clean up my apartment. It turns out that I had exactly $2.00 in pennies. I know this because when I used the Coinstar machine at Walmart it counted up exactly 200 pennies and then I received a printed voucher for $1.78. 22 cents is no big deal but in the huge scheme of thing it could get very expensive very fast. For folks turning in hundreds of dollars they're paying $10.90 per $100. Basically what you'd have to pay your credit card company in interest FOR A YEAR!!!

Now they are offering a valuable service because who really wants to count hundreds of dollars of pennies manually? Over time however their "coin counting fees" have gone up. 10 years ago the charge was 9%. Why the fee hike you ask? You'd have to ask the Washington based money counters yourself but it can't be because of inflation. If that's the logic then when will the fee increase to 15, 20 or even 50 percent?

That said many banks have coin counting machines and it's a service they offer for free. Even so, I sure wish I'd thought of it first.