Six Things To Do With Your Coppers

Posted by Allison on 4 April 2009, 10:26

Coppers, as they are referred to in Britain, are those small one pence and two pence coins that none of us like carrying around in our pockets.  Every country has small denominations of coins like this that tend to clutter up purses and pockets without providing much use at all.

Luckily if you use a bit of creative thinking there are some things you can do with them.  Pretty much all of these can be done wherever you live and whatever kind of low denomination coins are released for usage in your currency.

So here is a run down of the six best things to do with those annoying low value coins.

1.  Keep them in a piggy bank – or something similar.
Everyone has got somewhere they put all their loose change, regardless of whether it's a piggy bank or not.  Some people have a jar or a pot of some kind hidden away in the kitchen.  Other people simply sling them in a bucket or other unusual receptacle.

The point is to get them out of your way – although you should recognise that one day you will have to do something about them, otherwise they have a tendency to become so heavy you won't be able to lift them.

2.  Give them to charity.
Lots of people get rid of their lowest denominations of currency in this way, and the charities for one are extremely grateful that they do.  It might be hard to believe but lots of charities worldwide would lose out on a lot of revenue if we didn't occasionally empty the contents of those jars and buckets into their own collecting tins and buckets.

So do your bit for the planet and the people in it by donating the change that gets on your nerves, so it can do some good elsewhere.

3.  Build things with them.
Sounds strange?  While you may not ever have thought of playing with your spare change, it is perfectly possible to build all kinds of things with mere pennies.  One person has demonstrated online that you can actually build bridges with them, simply by stacking them in a certain way to make sure the structure holds rather than falling apart.  And it's done with no extra support either.

You can also buy a set of clips which allows you to connect coins together and make different types of structures – literally building them as big as the number of clips you have allows.  You certainly won't look at your spare coppers in the same way again.

4.  Put them into coin machines.
These are a slightly newer sight which is often seen in supermarkets.  They are quite popular with people who continually save up lots of coppers but still want to use them to buy things.

All you do is feed in your spare change and the machine will give you back your money – less a small commission for providing the service – in higher denominations of coins.  It provides a quick and easy way to change up larger amounts of coppers without having to visit the bank to do so.

5.  Give them to the kids.
A lot of people do this as a way of getting younger children more used to the idea of money and coins, and how much they are worth.  It's important to make sure they are only given to children of an age that will understand that they shouldn't be swallowed.

They can also be great to save up for holidays at the beach, where the penny arcades can provide a lot of fun.  The Penny Falls (which often take two pence pieces now instead of actual pennies) are made from huge shelves of coppers and occasionally small toys as prizes as well, and the idea is that you drop in a coin and hopefully make some of the coins fall off the shelf and into the collection tray at the bottom.

Most adults find this good fun as well, so the next time you go away you might want to take a few coin bags with you!

6.  Pay them into the bank.
This is the best way to get the money you have saved in coppers into an actual bank account.  Make sure you check how much your bank will accept in any one day though, since most of the branches will have a limit on how many bags you can pay in on a single day.  This is mainly because they all have to be weighed before the transaction can be processed.

A lot of people tend to prefer the coin machines if they have one nearby, because although you will be charged a small amount for using them they put the cash in your hand and it's much quicker and easier than visiting the bank – especially as you can get your change during a regular shopping trip.

So you see those small coins you hate so much can actually come in handy in a number of ways.  If you are bagging them up for any reason – regardless of whether it's for the bank or simply to make them easier to handle – you can ask for some cash bags at your local bank.  They will normally give you a handful quite happily, even if your intention is to take them to the local coin machine.

It's interesting to note that millions of these coins are suspected to be stored away in jars, homes and piggy banks around the world, so between us we have actually taken a remarkable amount of money out of the system.  The ironic thing is that although we tend to hate these coins the government has to keep on making more because we have taken such a large number out of circulation!

So think about it the next time you drop another copper into your penny jar.  Maybe it's about time you swapped that jar for some real money?



  1. What a great article! I must admit I always empty out my spare coppers into the till at our family shop! We’re always short of coppers so they come in handy there. But if I didn’t do that I would probably go for the piggy bank suggestion and then bank it gradually whenever I needed to.

    Paying it into the bank always seems like a real chore but provided you just do a bit at a time I think it is one of the best ways to get rid of them. It gets those pennies back into the banking system doesn’t it? They must be short of lots of them if we all keep them knocking around at home all the time!

    — Allison · Aug 27, 05:59 pm · #