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Pennies add up to dollars

Armen Hareyan's picture

Have you ever thrown away a penny? Pennies get thrown away all the time because individuals do not find them to be valuable, at least not valuable enough to deposit them in the bank. Quarters, dimes and nickels are a different story. Could it be because pennies are made of copper and the color of a penny is brown?

Clark Pellington's family would have to disagree with pennies not being valuable after their recent trip to the bank. The Pellington family from Wayne, N.J. recently counted $7,000 from saving what many call chump change. How did they do it? They simply collected every single penny that they received from change in a piggy bank over a period of 5 years. That’s enough to make a person start turning over their cushions and mattresses.

Pellington’s 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter will split the difference. What is so unique about this story is the principal behind saving the coins. The kids are not asking for expensive toys to be purchased instead Clark Pellington is using the change turned into cash scenario as a teaching moment on saving money.

All the money goes into the kids savings account and when each account hits the $1,000 mark they money is transferred into a certificate of deposit that will earn more interest than a regular savings account. Pellington is teaching his kids firsthand how compound interest works while saving up for their college expenses.

So how realistic is $7,000 in change? According to coin-counting machine operator Coinstar Inc., the average U.S. household has $90 in change lying around the house. Parents can really take advantage of this opportunity to show their children how to save money and build wealth one penny at a time.

Families tend to hold coin stashes for years hoping to redeem the coins for cold hard cash when a rainy day arrives. A recession is a rainy day and today is the day to turn over the coins for cash. Note that many banks and coin operating machines will charge a certain convenience fee to turn your change into cash. So before you run to your bank with a piggy bank full of change, be sure to note the convenience fee that you will be charged for every dollar of change you convert to cash. You can find one of Coinstar Inc.’s 18,400 coin operating machines at most local grocery or retail stores across the U.S.

Written by Fabian Ramirez who blogs at

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