By Cathy Spaulding
RISMEDIA, August 21, 2008-(MCT)-You might have a lot of money invested in your sofa or washing machine -and even more in your old cookie jar. And we mean IN your sofa, washing machine or cookie jar.
That spare change you take out of your pocket and pitch away, or that falls out of your pocket when you wash clothes, could add up to some big bucks, area bankers say.
Vickie Spradling, executive vice president at American Bank of Oklahoma, said she heard of people going on vacation with spare change they accumulated.
“It’s almost like a bonus for them” she said. “They can have $400 to $600 saved.”
Arvest Bank teller Trudy Whiteside said, “I had one customer a week before last who had $1,800.”
A customer who came in Monday had $215.24, and another had more than $90, according to Arvest Muskogee Branch Manager Derek Hanson.
“They bring them in a lot of different containers: Milk cartons and boxes,” Whiteside said.
Five-gallon water jugs also are popular, Hanson said.
The customer that got $90 brought an old cookie container.
Whiteside said the bank pours the coins into a machine that adds up the coins and sorts them into bags for pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters and larger coins.
“This machine also catches foreign coins,” she said.
Tana Smith, head teller at American Bank, calls herself an “unintentional” coin collector.
“I find myself chunking change in this jar or that jar and not really paying attention,” she said. “I get surprised at how much money I have sitting in these jars.”
She said she also finds plenty of spare change in washing machines, “or when I clean my purse.”
Smith said her purse feels so much lighter without all the coins floating around the bottom sometimes.
“As things get more expensive, coins are becoming one of those insignificant things,” she said. “Things don’t cost a nickel anymore.”
Spradling said that by saving your spare change, you also could teach your children about the value of money.
“This is a thing with children,” she said. “Parents give kids coins and they can put it in a piggy bank or put it in a jar.”
Copyright © 2008, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.