I've had a modest amount of changing piling up on my baker's rack for the past 15 years, but never had the energy to do anything with it. But after reading Ben Anasatas' down-on-his-luck memoir, "Too Good to Be True," which detailed his frequent visits to one of those Coinstar machines, I finally got inspired to cash mine in too, after noticing a Penny Arcade at a TD Bank not too far from my home. I poured it all into a small sack from Joe Fresh (pictured) -- which to give you a sense of proportion, it's like the size of a bag Banana Republic would give you if you bought a scarf -- and then headed out the door to the bank, only to realize it's REALLY HARD to walk 10 blocks with a 35-pound weight in your hand (that doesn't have suitable handle). By the time I got to my own street corner, I decided I needed to rethink my plan -- I debated just leaving the bag on the street, it was that bad! -- eventually jumping on the subway, something I would normally never do for a two-stop ride. Once at the branch, Penny asked me if I wanted to place a wager as to how much change I had. (She pays you $1.99 if you come close.) Seeing as there were quite a few pennies, I guessed $45, and then began to pour away. If you want to guess yourself, now's the time. The (shocking-to-me) answer is below!
$141.43! Minus the 8 percent fee, I ended up with $130 ... and (more) change!