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What Do You Do with Small Denomination Coins?

Started by Bimat, March 30, 2012, 10:17:25 AM

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Friday, March 30, 2012 by Charles Caruana Carabez, St Julians

Small change

Are readers as afflicted as I am with the small change left when effecting a minor purchase? The commonest paper denomination is €20. That invariably leaves you with a lot of rather meaningless coins after any small purchase. Carrying around a lot of quite valueless coins in your pockets (just in case) merely anchors you against the wind and takes valuable minutes at the counter (to the irritation of other customers) in order to make up the required amount for another small purchase. Quite infuriating.

I use my card as much as possible but not all shops are equipped to handle them (if only!), so my house is full of of 1c, 2c and 5c coins. (Are burglars getting interested?)

Perhaps, only perhaps, there is the need for more €5 and €10 notes in circulation, especially if they are available on withdrawal from ATMs and, again, perhaps, there is the need for a €2 note. I don't know, but these fidgety metal tokens make no sense any more. Give them to charity? They're welcome, but is it worth the bother? Again, few shops have charity pots.

Probably collecting them would cost more in petrol and other expenses. Sorry for all the brackets.

Source: Times of Malta
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.


What a weird article.

I can understand the issue with 1, 2 and 5c coins, but he seems to be putting €2 coins in the same category just because they're coins. How would a €2 note help? Most Swedish 20 kr notes are falling apart and unpleasant to look at, and the same would rapidly become the case with €2 notes. I can't believe that inflation is so rampant in Malta as to make any denomination under €20 useless!  :o

Personally I find it much easier to find the right coins for a purchase in a handful of small change than I do the right notes in a big wad of small-denomination notes. You can spot €2/£2 coins instantly in such a handful, but you have to peel through each note to find the $5 bill in among all the $1s. (And, although the US custom of having all the notes the same colour doesn't help, that's not the main issue: I used to have the same problem in Italy, where the lire notes were all clearly differentiated in size and colour, but the sheer number of 1000-lire notes you tended to accumulate would obscure anything more useful in your wallet.)

As to what I do with small change... well, revolutionary as it might seem, I spend it.


Quote from: FosseWay on March 30, 2012, 12:13:00 PM
What a weird article.

As to what I do with small change... well, revolutionary as it might seem, I spend it.

I spend mine too and rarely have much loose change this way, for instance: look for somewhere to tie dog, then sort out $1.70 for newspaper, then enter shop, get paper, hand over correct money, if they are extra busy just leave money on counter with a grin and a wave and depart.  8)
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Md. Shariful Islam

Smaller denomination in my country which is still in circulation is 25 poisha. No one but the beggers accept them. Even a begger may deny if offered only one 25 poisha. Other smaller  denominations are not withdrawn but not seen. I think they don't exist. If I find a 25 poisha or 50 poisha, I have a box to keep them. I don't let them go. Someday I shall have plenty of them to gift new collectors.



I don't get much change I use a debit card but what little I do get I put in a large coffee can and take it to the bank about once a year.


Here in India, change is a scarce commodity. One can easily oblige the local grocer by giving him the change once in a while and get priority services always. He saves an average 15% that he would have spent to get the change. IMHO, most change in India goes into temple vaults as offerings........

"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"


Polish people are using each coin in circulation. The smallest is 1 grosz and it exists in circulation. Today I payed for my dinner 10.71 . The same in second side , the seller always give me all the rest in 1 grosz precision. ( 1 grosz = 0.01 zloty = 0.0025 euro )
I can not ignore the smallest coins because I will always receive some during shopping.
Each seller is using VAT machine and final balance can not be nothing else than 0.


If I can't use a card I use notes and then all the change received each day goes into a 3 litre jar at home.  When the jar is full I sort out denominations into bags (doesn't take long) and then take them into the bank.  Since the bank weighs the coins you don't need to count them.  Full jar gives back $800 or so which is quite worthwhile.  To buy more coins maybe?!!!!


Umm, I use both coins and notes - that is, just as I do not put "leftover" paper money into some kind of jar, I do not do that with coins either. What I get in change, I will usually spend. The only exception are those 1 ct and 2 ct coins; as long as we have them (tu felix Hollandia ;D ), I put them aside and donate them from time to time.



Here in Sweden I get so few coins in change that it's easy to spend them.

In the UK where far more coins are in use, including fairly useless ones, I do as Christian says. I'm not tempted to accumulate jarfuls of them because British banks are spectacularly unhelpful about letting account holders pay legal tender into their own accounts, and turning up at the bank with several kilos of small change, even when bagged in whole bags so it can be weighed rather than counted, is more trouble than it's worth.


Spending small change is easy. All it requires is a slight change of habit. Most people pull out a banknote and hold up their hand for change. Modern cash registers even calculate the change due, so no one actually needs to think (phew!), but you always receive and never spend coins. Instead, look if you can pay the cents before the ringgits. Example: if you need to pay 10.71, as in the example above, first look if you have 71. If you do, you just spent 71 in small change at no cost and with a bare minimum of counting.

If you are just a little bit more numerate, look if you have 1. If you do, look if you have 70. If you do, pay the 71 first. If you don't have 1 but do have 70, pay 70 and your smallest value coin. If you do have 1 but not 70, pay 1 and grab a note. If you have neither, grab a note.

Do this a couple of times and your change mountain will melt for free, at no cost as well but entirely gratis ;). It is not complicated. My wife and daughter, both as innumerate (my daughter failed an exam question because she couldn't work out 1/-1) as they are literate, can do this.

You can work in denominations like 20 and 50 if you wish and get even less coins back, but that takes more (but not much) numeric agility.

It helps to keep your coins in such a way that you can see them all at a glance when you take them out.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


In China there are banknotes of all denominations, down to 10 Jiao which is the same as GB1p and 1.5 US cents.

If the 1 and 5 jiao banknotes are new (but still say 1980 on them) I keep them and may sell them on later on and try and make a profit outside of China.

But when I recently moved I found loads of not too good jiao banknotes and went and spent them at the same time, kind of funny.


I do what figleaf said, spend the change if you have it. I collect some in a salt box, but that is to spend later or for parking meeters. I always have change with me, because sometimes in Australia retailers run out of change, and sometimes I spend $10 in coins. We have 5 cents to $2 and all circulate.



I see a sense in using card for more expensive purchases. 10E and smaller I always prefer the cash.
Your idea is funny and maybe fine if you will collect the cash for put in to your child's piggybank.
I do not see a sense to receive coins and  pay next purchase with using next note instead of these coins.
Maybe I am lazy but visiting bank for exchange coins to notes is bad idea.
Next problem is for seller. He will has to have tons of coins for each customer.
I love to use coins/notes and my card I am using in cash machine and for big payments where keeping big money in own pocket is not safe.

nice example but ...
If I have to pay 10.71 it is much better for me to pay 10.71 , not 11.
If I will pay 11 it is a chance I will receive many coins .01, .02, .05 and my pocket will be full.
There is much better to pay 11 and .01 because this way I will receive only .20 and .10 coins,
or 10.72 because only one small coin I will receive back.

I have visited Australia/NZ and I remember how hard is using small change there. Euro people can not say anything wrong about using small change if Australians do not have a problem with it. :) The British has the some problem I afraid.

I have been in China many years ago (10-16) but I do not remember the lack of coins. Is this change from last 10 years ? What have been happened with coins ?

it can be interesting with 1c and 2c if you are not using it but you receiving . Maybe you will start throw around for possibility find it by children and have fun ;)


Small change: There is a solution

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Johan Hellekant, Sliema

I refer to Charles Caruana Carabez's letter regarding small change (March 30) and would like to suggest a solution for Malta; a solution that is in place in some other countries, among them Sweden.

The solution is simple; you just have coins in the denomination of, say, 10 cents and higher. Prices however are as they are now, with prices ending with smaller sums than 10 cents.

When it is time to pay you simply equalise the amount of cents either to 0 cents or 10 cents depending on whether the total final sum amounts to 5 or below (0 cent) or 6 or over (10 cents).

Doing this you do not have to change the price. Prices would probably go up if you just delete the smaller coins.

This system has worked very well in Sweden.

Source: Times of Malta
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.