Who carries change anymore? In this digital age where everyone carries plastic, change seems like a thing of the past.
But then my husband wanted to host a poker party in which the players would be using real money (quarters) to play.
Huh…to track down a stack of quarters…where do I start?
If you’re someone that uses an envelope system for budgeting and you pay with most things with cash, then you likely have a jar full of change somewhere.
But what if you just went to the bank yesterday and cashed all your change in?
Or maybe you’re a debit and credit card user and so you rarely carry cash, you haven’t touched a quarter in weeks!
Accessibility to quarters is becoming less and less. Who needs them when you can change nearly everything on plastic?
Even arcades, vending machines, and tolls now accept plastic! As elusive as they may seem, quarters are definitely out there! And I can help you find them!
1. A bank
Visit your local bank and you can exchange your cash for quarters. Banks will cash in as few or as many dollars as you need into quarters. Whether it be one dollar or may dollars.
If you are only in need of a few quarters, a bank will be happy to give you 4 quarters for your one-dollar bill.
If you need many quarters, you can purchase in rolls.
For example, there are 40 quarters in one roll, with one roll equal $10. So hand over $10, and you can get 1 roll of quarters.
Need more than $10 in quarters?
If you need many quarters, most banks receive quarters in boxes of 20 rolls so you can get 800 quarters for $200 boxes.
Pay for them from the money in your pocket, Or you can withdraw money from your account and ask for it to be paid in quarters instead of cash.
Related: Ways to save money on a low income
2. Go to the customer service desk at the grocery store
Many times the customer service desk or even a regular check out register will exchange money in the drawer for you. Or, if the cashier has rolls of quarters in the drawer, they may sell them to you. If there is some change in the drawer, they are likely to give it to you.
Simply go to the service desk and ask if they will exchange cash for quarters. Depending on how many you need, there is a high likelihood they can give you some.
3. Make a small purchase
If you require a small amount of change, and the customer service desk can’t help you, make one small purchase.
Buy one piece of fruit or find the cheapest thing you can buy.
Or at least one that is a few cents over the next dollar.
Try a pack of gum, a box of tic tacs, a candy bar, etc. You’ll likely get a few quarters back. This goes against my recommendation to not impulse shop, but if you need change you need change.
This may seem odd, but if you need change, you may have to buy something for it!
For example, my husband, daughter and I were at a carnival over the summer. It was hot and he was desperate for a pop from the vending machine but was a quarter light. It was an old machine and credit cards were not an option.
I let my daughter ride the carousel one more time to generate a small amount of change to give to him. Yes, had we walked around a bit longer we probably could have found somewhere to exchange a dollar for free, but it was HOT and he needed it NOW!
4. Soda or Vending Machine
These cash-eating relics are getting harder to find. But if you find a vending machine that takes cash, you are going to get coins back in return for anything less than the next dollar. So buy that $.75 pop and get one quarter in return.
Plus, sometimes old machines will spit out 4 quarters if you put your dollar in, and immediately cancel the transaction. I’d be careful though because not all machines do this and you may be forced to spend the money!
5. Laundromat or the Car Wash
Many laundromats have change machines. You slide quarters into the slots of the washer or dryer to get it started. If you can find a machine that is there to convert dollars to quarters, you’re in luck!
Simply insert your $1, $5 or $10 bill and the machine spits out the equivalent in quarters. These machines are designed to do this, so they are likely stocked and ready for your bills! You simply have to find them!
Similar to laundromats, many car washes with manual options have change machines. It costs a few dollars in quarters to vacuum out your car or use the manual wash. As a convenience, there are usually machines nearby to assist you in exchanging cash for quarters.
6. Gas Station
People are notorious for going into a gas station to buy a refreshment when they fill up. And a buck or two for a beverage or snack means gas stations usually have a lot of change in their drawers. Simply stop in and ask if you can exchange a dollar or two for quarters. They usually will! Tip: They may be more willing to exchange your money if making a purchase, so be prepared.
7. Restaurants with arcades
Many arcades are moving from coin-operated to credit cards or a playing card that you put credit on to play. But if you can find one that uses quarters or you have to use quarters to buy tokens, this is an excellent place to find quarters for your personal use.
Related: How to save money when eating out
8. Fast Food Restaurants
Naturally, fast food restaurants handle a lot of cash. They are usually stocked up on change in the drawers. When you pay for your food, ask if you can get the change back in quarters. When you pay is also a good time to ask if you could exchange an extra dollar or two. Usually, businesses are interested in keeping customers happy. So if you have made a purchase already, they are usually more obliged to help with exchanging more change.
If you are visiting gone or have one nearby, a casino would be a good place to try and find quarters. Simply head to the money exchange area and ask if they will exchange your dollars for quarters. Or try buying a roll of quarters. Some casinos still use actual change to play slot machines although they are becoming harder to find.
While quarters may becoming less and less used they are still a staple in your finances and life. Many things still require quarters to pay for them! Unless you have a jar full of change at home, when you need some, use this list to find them!
When were you last in need of quarters? Where did you get them?