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So How Much Money WAS in Our Coin Jar Anyway?

Posted Dec 16 2011 3:06pm
So the kids and I visited a Coinstar machine this afternoon, with our enormous coin jar  filled with coins. Thank you to everyone who took a guess, and to those of you who suggested I get reimbursed via an Amazon gift certificate as opposed to cash. We went that route and saved the 9.8% fee (YOWZA).

The guesses ranged from "eleventy" to "the median of everyone else's guesses" (I'll be happy to provide you a list, John , if you'd like to calculate that out!) to $7.31 all the way up to $1 Million Dollars (that was Sean's guess and I like to imagine him saying "$1 Million Dollars" ala Dr. Evil).

Okay, so who won? That honor goes to Jeff Yoak, who wrote this on my Google Plus page
$438.05 . If that turns out to be super-close, I'll provide the statistics that go into the computation. :-) If you threw all change in the bucket and never spent coins (e.q. quarters because they're useful and pennies to round off change that you're getting) that number should be very, very close. I used an estimate of 4.6 pounds for the glass jar empty which is another source of noise, but the rest is computable with the assumptions above. You asked. :-)

I thought that by giving some basic information about our coin jar, there would certainly be someone geeky enough (I mean that as a compliment, Jeff!) to calculate out a guess. If you recall, we had filled up a one gallon glass jar with a probably fairly randomly distributed mix of American coins (as far as I know), and the jar weighed 38.4 pounds all filled up with coins. (I never thought to weigh the jar empty, but I can do that now if anyone wants me to.)

So I hope Jeff decides to share his calculations with us (here, or on OGeeks perhaps?) because here is the exact value of the change in our jar
$437.92

Jeff was off by 13 CENTS!!!!!

Honorable Mentions go to Sam Kennedy for guessing $412.47, a guy called "bringoutyoudead" on  reddit  who guessed $458.56, and my brother-in-law for getting $475.17. Not bad at all!

Here's a picture of our receipt showing the amount and the coin distribution, too

So yeah, I'm pretty amazed that Jeff's guess was so super close! I was more than a little surprised to see that we had SO many quarters, too. I suppose there's a way to figure out if these ratios are representative of the coin population (as it were) in general.

At a Family Conference about a year ago, we all agreed to use the coin jar to fund future family vacations, so that's $437.92 toward our next excursion (likely in the spring). We also have an envelope for bills we find laying around the house that goes toward the vacation fund, too. I'll take an equivalent amount of cash and put it in the envelope so we are all balanced out in that account.

The kids had a GRAND time feeding the Coinstar machine and it was a fun homeschool project, too. Sure, possibly a more valuable homeschool project might have been to run my own little coin-rolling sweat shop have them help me roll the coins by hand, but this was still fun and it took a whole lot less time!

Thanks for playing, everyone! I guess we'll do this again in about a year--only next time I expect LOTS and LOTS of really close guesses if Jeff chooses to share his secret. And if he decides to keep his secret and become a professional coin-guesser, then I'll just be happy to take a cut, since without me he probably never would have taken the time to figure this out, right?

Don't worry, Jeff, my fee is less than Coinstar's. :D
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