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I wrote last week about 5 places to find free money, and one of them was Coinstar, which offers free coin counting if you opt for gift certificates instead of cash.

Coinstar just sweetened the deal by offering a free $10 gift card from several retailers, including Lowes, Borders and iTunes, if you cash in at least $40.

Not sure you’ve got enough coins? Get a roll of quarters from your local bank (or two) to make sure you can get the freebie.

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Hi Liz,

I’m not used to this . . . you put $40 in coins in a tray . . . and you get an e-certificate for $50? Thanks, patijo


When you use the machine, you’ll be given some options. The standard option is that you get a receipt you can “cash in” for dollars and cents at checkout counter of the store where the machine is located. That option will cost you about 9% of the value of your coins. Or you can avoid that fee, and get the bonus, by choosing to get an e-certificate good at one of the retailers mentioned. Last year when I did this the e-certificate was essentially a promotion code that you could enter during the checkout process.