Quarters are an essential part of daily life. You need them for parking meters, vending machines, laundromats, toll booths, and all kinds of other everyday transactions. But it can be frustrating when you suddenly realize you don’t have enough quarters on hand.
Luckily, there are many quick and easy ways to get quarters when you need them. Here are 16 strategies for getting quarters fast:
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1. Banks and Credit Unions
One of the most obvious places to get quarters is your local bank or credit union. Most will hand out rolls of quarters to account holders with no hassle. Some banks may require you to have an account, while others will exchange cash for quarters even for non-customers.
The amount of quarters you can get will depend on their current stock and policies. But it’s typically easy to pick up $10-$20 worth of quarters at a time from a bank.
Tips for Getting Quarters from Banks:
- Ask your regular bank teller. They are more likely to give you quarters if you have an existing relationship.
- Go at slow times like opening or closing to avoid lines.
- Call ahead to check their quarter stock and policies.
2. Retail Stores
Many retail stores will gladly exchange your cash for quarters as a customer service. While policies can vary, most shops like grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and drug stores will make change for small amounts of quarters.
Larger big box stores may exchange up to $50-$100 worth of quarters at a time. Smaller locations may have a lower limit like $10-$20.
Tips for Getting Rolls of Quarters from Retail Stores:
- Shop around to find a store with a generous quarter exchange policy.
- Go early in the morning or after a delivery truck arrives to get fresh quarters.
- Be friendly and courteous to the cashier when asking.
3. Coinstar Machines
Coinstar kiosks in grocery stores will let you exchange paper bills for quarters on the spot. There may be a 11.9% service fee, but it’s a quick option when you need quarters ASAP.
Look for Coinstar machines located inside larger chain stores like Albertsons, Safeway, Kroger, Ralphs, Stop & Shop, Winn-Dixie, and more. Make sure the kiosk dispenses quarters before putting in your cash.
Tips for Using Coinstar:
- Search online to find Coinstar locations with the lowest service fees.
- Put in larger bills ($20s or $50s) to minimize the percentage-based fee.
- Only use when you need quarters immediately since fees can add up.
4. Arcades and Amusement Parks
Anyplace with lots of coin-operated games and rides is a jackpot for getting quarters. Arcades, amusement parks, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and more all have change machines and quarter exchangers.
The exchange rates are fair and there are no service fees. Most machines take $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills. They spit out the equivalent amount in quarters for playing games and rides.
Tips for Getting Quarters from Arcades:
- Ask the staff where their change machines are located.
- Scan all the machines to find ones that give quarters instead of tokens.
- Let kids exchange small bills for quarters to have fun.
5. Vending Machines
Believe it or not, vending machines can actually help you get quarters if you’re in a pinch. Choose snack and soda machines that allow change as payment. Insert larger bills, then press the change return button without making a purchase.
Of course, this only works for vending machines that give back change in quarters instead of dimes. Check the change return slot first before inserting any money. Then deposit a larger bill like a $5 or $10 to get back your change in quarters.
Tips for Getting Quarters from Vending Machines:
- Look for vending machines that specifically state “Quarters Returned” or “Gives Change in Quarters”.
- Try vending machines in hotel lobbies, airports, bus stations, and other high-traffic areas.
- Insert larger bills ($5-$20) to minimize number of times you have to hit the coin return.
6. Laundromats and Car Washes
Heading to do your laundry or wash your car? You can easily grab quarter rolls ahead of time. Most laundromats and self-service car washes sell small packs of quarters at the front counter or through quarter dispensing machines.
Prices are fair and there are no fees – just pay cash for the number of quarter rolls you need. $5 worth of quarters is usually the minimum purchase.
Tips for Getting Quarters from Laundromats:
- Count out how many loads you need to do and get that amount of quarters.
- Look for changers at each washing machine rather than paying upfront.
- Ask if they can provide quarters in handy tubes for easier loading.
7. Parking Authorities
Many public parking garages and street parking meters are now automated and take credit cards. But quarters are still needed to pay at some municipal parking spots.
Visit your city’s parking authority office or manned parking garage booths. Explain your need for quarters and they will often exchange several rolls for cash. Government agencies aim to provide this service to citizens.
Tips for Getting Quarters from Parking Offices:
- Know your city’s parking authority name like “ParkChicago” or “Philly Parking Authority”.
- Find a parking office or manned garage near popular metered parking areas downtown.
- Be polite and explain you use quarters to pay at meters in their city.
8. Toll Roads and Bridges
Going on a road trip? You’ll want to stock up on quarters ahead of time for toll booths along the way. Most toll plazas and bridges have coin machines that will exchange your bills for quarters.
Simply drive up and request $10-$20 worth of quarters from the attendant. There are no fees – you get face value quarters in exchange for your cash. It’s a quick and convenient option right on your travel route.
Tips for Getting Quarters at Toll Plazas:
- Look for manned booths with quarter exchange signs.
- Avoid automated machines that only accept credit cards and exact change.
- Ask for a few extra rolls of quarters to have handy for future trips.
9. Coin Collector Books
Surprisingly, unopened mint quarter rolls can be valuable to coin collectors and hobbyists. Look through eBay and Craigslist to see what prices coin books and bags fetch in your area.
Buy fresh rolls of quarters from your bank. Then resell them online or to a local coin dealer at a small markup from face value. It’s an easy profit if you don’t mind managing listings and meetups.
Tips for Reselling Quarter Rolls:
- Research market rates in your city to price competitively.
- Advertise rolls as untouched, with year and mint info.
- Meet at police stations for security during in-person sales.
10. Friends, Family, and Neighbors
Don’t forget to tap friends and family when you need quarters. Chances are some have spare change sitting around and will gladly loan you $5 or $10 worth.
Promising to pay them back with interest can incentivize them to dig through their jars to find you some quarters. You can easily exchange quarters within your social circles.
Tips for Borrowing Quarters from People You Know:
- Offer a 10-20% bonus when paying them back as a finder’s fee.
- Ask neighbors going to do laundry if you can buy quarter rolls.
- Post on social media that you’re looking for quarters to pay meters.
11. Check Couch Cushions and Car Floors
Keep spare change handy by scouring your couch cushions and car interior. You’d be surprised how many quarters accumulate in those cracks over time.
Show some tough love to your sofa and car seats to reclaim your lost quarters. Dig deep and pull out all the change that fell under there. An extensive excavation can yield $5-$10 worth of quarters.
Tips for Hunting Quarters in Couches:
- Really plunge your hands down into cushion corners and seams.
- Use a flashlight to peer into dark crannies of your car seats.
- Pull out each cushion fully and shake it over a table.
12. Rummage Through Drawers and Jars
Check all your old jars, jugs, and drawers where spare change collects. Shake out any containers that look promising and cash in the quarters.
Poke through kitchen junk drawers, utility room cabinets, glove compartments, and any other hiding spots where quarters may lurk at home or work. Unexpected jackpots turn up in the most random places.
Tips for Scavenging Quarters from Drawers:
- Don’t forget to peer into kids’ piggy banks and toy chests too.
- Dump out jars onto a tray to easily separate the quarters.
- Let coins build up in jars until you have enough quarters for something specific.
13. Cash Back with Purchase
When you’re out shopping, take advantage of cash back offers to score quarters. Many grocery stores and big box retailers offer the option to get cash along with your debit purchase.
Simply ask for the maximum amount of cash back in quarters instead of bills. Big stores like Walmart and Target will give up to $100 cash back in quarters at checkout with no fee.
Tips for Getting Quarters with Cash Back:
- Maximize cash back amount for larger purchases.
- Choose self checkout and feed your receipt back in to get quarters.
- Ask customer service for quarters instead of getting bills.
14. Check Redemption Machines
Machines that offer check cashing and money orders will also exchange your bills for quarters. Companies like MoneyGram have self-service kiosks inside many grocery and drug stores.
Insert your cash, select “Quarters” as the payout option, and money order receipt. It prints a receipt that you redeem at the register for rolls of quarters. There may be small transaction fees around 1-2%.
Tips for Using Check Redemption Machines:
- Look for kiosks located inside major retailers like Kroger, Safeway, CVS, Walgreens.
- Put in larger bills ($20-$50) to reduce the impact of flat fees.
- Only use when you need quarters immediately since fees add up.
15. Buy and Resell Food in Bulk
Take advantage of great bulk deals at warehouse stores. Buy jumbo packs of non-perishable food items on sale, then resell portions to turn a profit.
Use those earnings to cash in for rolls of quarters at customer service. It takes some time and effort but gets you free quarters in the end.
Tips for Reselling Bulk Food:
- Look for bargains on shelf-stable items like snacks, soda, water, etc.
- Split into smaller portions to sell individually on Craigslist or Facebook.
- Calculate pricing so you earn at least a 30% profit after reselling.
16. Recycle Scrap Metal for Cash
Finally, cash in scrap metal from around your home to exchange for quarters. Collect old copper pipes, wires, aluminum cans, and other metals. Take them to a local scrap yard to get paid by the pound.
Use your scrap metal money at customer service to get quarters instead of cash. It’s eco-friendly and gives your old metal new life!
Tips for Recycling Scrap Metal:
- Ask neighbors if they have any old metal junk to get rid of.
- Sort non-metal parts out and clean metal pieces thoroughly.
- Research current scrap metal prices per pound in your area.
Hopefully these tips provide plenty of ideas to get quarters fast any time you’re in a pinch! With some resourcefulness, you’ll never be without the quarters you need for parking, laundry, vending machines, toll roads, and other everyday needs. Just utilize these 16 strategies to keep yourself constantly flush with quarters for all situations.