The Big Bag of Change

We’re moving again. We’re moving 6 blocks from where we live now. I’m stressed out and haven’t been able to write or do anything, even shower. But here I am now because the baby’s asleep in the one room that hasn’t been completely taken over by boxes and miscellaneous bullshit no one needs.

Also: for the record? I think hoarders are terrifying. I think I fear them more than cockroaches, clowns and Pillsbury dough cans.

So, we’re packing and moving. And we have this big bag of change living with us. We’ve had this big bag of change since we lived in San Francisco, if I remember correctly. And every day for about 7 years, we’ve tossed our extra change into this bag. Never much at one time, a dime, a nickel, a few quarters. But it kept adding up and adding up and we kept ignoring it. One night, before we had kids, we sat down, opened a bottle of wine and wrapped some of it up. We wrapped 360 bucks back then. Instead of cashing it in, we just put it back in the bag. We’ve added more since then.

This bag of change has some loose change, some wrapped change and some half-wrapped change because we discovered one day that Emory was stealing from our bag of change to fill his piggybank. SMART KID!

But we still have a lot of change.

My parents came up last Sunday so Toby and I could have dinner and celebrate my 38th birthday. As they were leaving, I pushed the giant bag of change onto them. I’m not sure why, really. Because it weighs about 60 pounds. (It weighs 45 pounds. My father weighed it!) But my father slung that bag over his shoulder and walked out of our apartment with the big bag of change.

He called yesterday to let me know what he’s discovered thus far. In loose quarters we have $208.00 dollars. Add that to the wrapped change, and we’re over $500.00 bucks. That amount doesn’t include all the dimes, nickels, or pennies.

At the end of the day, we should have about $700.00 worth of change.

Now, a smart person would use that to cover the move. But I’m not a smart person. I’m a person who looks at that 700 bucks and thinks, FREE MONEY! I suggested we either go out and get a really nice meal OR take it to Atlantic City and put the whole lot of it down on one a hand of blackjack. I also suggested we buy a flat screen TV for our new bedroom.

What frivolous thing might you do with 700.00 extra dollars?

And don’t bore me with things like, PAY OFF MY BILLS! or DONATE IT TO CHARITY!


  1. That’d pay for one boob job. And I mean just for one boob. But at least I’d have half a nice rack.


  2. See, now if you take that 700 bucks and gamble it, you might double your money, in which case, you can cover TWO boobs. You could give new meaning to the term “double down”.



  3. If I “had” to spend it frivolously, I would either use it to buy nail polish (I have a bit of an obsession) or go to the liquor store and stock the fuck up on EVERYTHING. We have a four-bottle wine rack on the wall that is perpetually empty.


  4. Or you could take that 700 bucks and put it on a hand of blackjack and stock up on TWO LIQUOR CABINETS!

    In all seriousness, your (second) idea is a really, really good one, Shawnte.


  5. How about getting a cleaning service for your new place. You’ll have more time for family, work and more importantly yourself.


  6. You might be a genius.


  7. Post-move massages for both of you guys!


  8. It’s a genius fight!


  9. I would put it towards the Macbook Pro I want so badly.


  10. I think you could probably spring for both the apartment cleaning AND the post-move massages, plus a babysitter so you two can go catch a movie and burger, and I’ll bet you’d still have some leftover.

    Also I can’t believe you didn’t show us a photo of what THAT MUCH CHANGE looks like, because I’m having a hard time visualizing it.


  11. I know! Hopefully my dad will pop on and give you a better idea. It was crazy. I could barely lift it off the ground. It went from a small shopping bag at one point all the way up to a large tote bag (Radio Lab, to be precise.) I’ll get Bob to swing by and give a better idea of how hard it was to carry to the car!

    My poor dad.


  12. I am commenting here strictly to tell you that you needn’t wait this long next time. There’s a Coinstar machine at the Food Emporium in Union Square. Does the counting for you from loose and if you put it twds an Amazon gift card (or others but that’s the best option, I think), it’s free. So you know, next time, parents aren’t necessary.

    That said, I support the extravagant meal idea.


  13. Well it does weigh about 45 pounds now, but, it felt a lot heavier carrying it. Perhaps some of it might have disappeared paying the parkway, turnpike and Holland Tunnel tolls going to and from Brooklyn. BTW, it takes a very long time for the toll collectors to count dimes and nickels.
    The loose quarters were put through a coin machine at Ocean First Bank and were supposed to be $200 which became $208.11. Either I can’t count or someone before me left some money in the machine. And the rest may be invested, as you suggested, in Atlantic City as the Boat Show is there through the weekend.


  14. Atlantic City!! Just do it!


  15. AWESOME!!

    coming from a bank teller, my only suggestion is DO NOT take the coin in the exchange it around lunch time, within the hour before closing, or on a friday. Tuesday at about 10:30am would be best, thank you… :)
    and if you could make sure it’s wrapped nicely in proper coin wrappers, and bundled into groups of 10.
    and btw, definitely go out for a nice dinner, and maybe bring your dad a dessert:)


    1. Ha! Gotcha!

      And, yes, if we do dinner, my mom and dad are coming along.


  16. Kitchen stuff (oooh Le Creuset) and gourmet foodie food, like grass-finshed bison.

    I know, sad. Food dorks unite!


  17. Hmm. I’d probably use the money to have a fun weekend somewhere. Or on kitchen stuff. Also, wait until the dimes get rolled, those puppies add up like there’s no tomorrow. We hold a coin drive at my office once a year to donate and it always amazes me how many dimes there are in the world.


  18. How has no one mentioned a hammock!

    “But I still get my $300 right? Allright you got my vote then! I’M GONNA BUY ME A HAMMOCK! WING DING DIDDLEY DING DING DOO!” David Cross

    I’d totally buy a kitchen aid if i came across $700. No doubt.


  19. I am going to forward this post to my husband as evidence that collecting loose change is a good idea! My father always did this when I was growing up, but he would cash it in once every few years and use it for vacation spending money. I cash ours in whenever we move country (we are currently on our 5th) but it is never that much, because we only ever live in one country for a few years. Still, $700! Maybe my husband will now contribute…


  20. Girl needs new shoes. (Or at least I will as soon as I can walk on both legs. Dumb broken ankle.)

    Girl needs new laptop.

    Girl needs new cat to keep current cat busy.

    Girl needs trip to B&B.

    Oh, yes. I could spend that money quite frivolously.


  21. I would probably splurge on a piece of art that I really loved.


  22. An iPod Touch. The big one.

    Or maybe a down payment on a sectional sofa. LOL I really want a new couch….


  23. I paid for my son’s 1st year of college with loose change. Every day after lunch, I’d throw the change into a container in my desk drawer. When it got full, I’d roll up the change and deposit it in his college fund account. Sometimes the deposit would only be like $12.00, but over 17 years, it turned into almost $6,000 in that account. So that was pretty fun!!


  24. Pam! That rules! See? Change can go a long, long way if you just wait a long, long time! Right?


  25. There’s an all-in-one computer that I’ve been ogling for the last couple of months. I’d totally buy that and replace my living room tv with it.


  26. Well $700 would buy gas for a road trip to VEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGAS and three nights of hotel rooms !!!


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