Like many families, we keep a container on the hall table for stray coins. When I clean the pennies out of my purse, they go in, along with pocket change from my husband's trousers. I've never been fond of rolling coins, so here is my strategy: Coin Star.
BUT WAIT!! you say, COIN STAR machines charge a huge percentage to count your coins. Here comes the hard part: you must search out the special machines that also dispense gift cards or gift receipts. These do not charge a percentage -- it is funded by the companies who are trying to sell you their gift cards. There is a catch -- you take the card or receipt to use only with your specific selected merchant. The one in our town has about 5 card choices.
When I do this, I select Amazon.com after I have identified what I want and have done my comparisons to ensure that Amazon is competitive with the best price after shipping charges have been factored in.
Here is an example: I would like to have a back-up to my BACK TO BASICS hand grain mill. This brand is inexpensive and produces flour rather than just cracked grain. They cost between $49 and $79 for the same model, depending on where you buy and who has a special. Right now, Amazon has them for a good price with low shipping costs.
My next move will be to drag my bag of coins to the grocery store that has the special machine. After ensuring that the deal hasn't changed, I will drop my coins into the mechanism and see how close I am to a grain mill. I anticipate that we've collected enough to be more than halfway there.
With a grain mill, you can buy bulk wheat, store some and use some to bake your own bread. Nothing quite as yummy as fresh-ground whole wheat home-made bread. Until your family gets used to it, it can disappear really fast! Not bad for pennies, nickels and the occasional dime.