Ever backed up the Chik Fil A drive-through line?
I have… Unintentionally of course!
Recently, I was really craving a milkshake and being on a tight eating out budget each month, I decided to go desperate mode – I broke into my coin stash.
I emptied out my entire glass jar of coins and separated all the pennies from the nickels and all the dimes from the quarters. Not wanting to use any of my quarters, I decided to use nickels and dimes only to buy my wife and I’s milkshake.
This resulted in about 4 minutes of counting out $7.36 in dimes and nickels.
Finally, at one point the manager came over and asked what was taking so long and the poor high school cashier simply said, “This guy is paying in all coins.”
My wife was completely embarrassed looking at the long drive through line I caused, I couldn’t help but laugh as I drove away happy as a clam with my milkshake.
This got me thinking though….
- Why don’t people use coins anymore?
- Why didn’t I just use my quarters?
- And lastly, where can I get quarters?
- Learn where to get quarters quickly
- See how to use banks, stores, and vending machines to find quarters and coins
- Read more banking tips here, like how to save on ATM fees
Where to get quarters (8 Places)
Not long ago you need coins for everything. Soda machines at the pool, the toll roads on the way to the beach and when you played your buddies in Texas Hold Em.
While the need for quarters might not come up as often, I recently needed quarters to break change for a community yard sale. Desperate (yet again) I drove to the neighborhood store and asked for some change.
Apparently, everyone else had the same idea, so I had to get resourceful to find my quarters. Here is what I did:
1. Stop By The Bank
If you’ve got a bank branch nearby, popping into the bank is a quick and easy way to get quarters. If you’re lucky and you’ve got an account in this bank, you can simply ask for some of your own money to be withdrawn in coins.
If not, just go up to the bank teller and ask for an exchange with the cash you currently have in hand.
Most times they’ll give you change even if you aren’t a client, but if you want to be very efficient (who doesn’t?) you could call beforehand and double-check just in case.
To be doubly more efficient, go at a time when there aren’t too many people waiting. The teller might not appreciate holding up everyone just for a few quarters (as I did at Chik Fil A).
Quarter rolls are in multiples of 10, so if you want to make life easier for everyone ask for your change in multiples of 10. Asking for $5 could be slightly annoying.
2. Grocery Store
A nearby grocery store is a good option too. Whether it’s Target, Walmart or any grocery store, head to the customer service desk when asking for change.
Cash registers have a limited amount of coins and once again, you may hold up the queue for a little while. Some shops also may require you buying something in order to open the till. In any case, the customer service desk is always your best bet.
Grocery stores are great if you need a couple of dollars in quarters. If you need more than $10 then you’re better off heading to the nearest bank.
3. Fast Food Establishments Always Have Coins & Quarters:
Similar to the grocery store, a fast-food establishment is another place to find your beloved quarters. It’s unlikely they’ll have a customer service desk, so head up to the cash register to get change in quarters.
You’re unlikely to get more than a couple of dollars in change, so don’t expect too much. Go at a time when it’s not too busy to maximize efficiency. And if they don’t have your required amount consider making a small purchase – we talk about this further on.
4. Check Gas Stations and Pharmacies
If you find yourself a little far off from the city center and can only see an abandoned gas station, then you might be in luck. Gas stations and pharmacies have registers which often have small coins such as quarters.
Once again, it’ll probably only be a couple of dollars’ worth, but if you buy something small like a candy bar and ask for 4 quarters instead of a dollar, then you’re done!
If the gas station or pharmacy offers cashback you could also use this system to get $5 or $10 in cashback and to ask the cashier to give you ask many quarters as the register can spare.
5. Car Washes and Laundromats
The perk of car washes and laundromats is that many of them are open 24/7, meaning you can get your quarters no matter what time of the day (yay!). Many car washes and laundromats still require quarters or tokens to operate.
This means many of them have change machines nearby which allows you to change a $1 bill into quarters. You can swap your dollars for coins!
Before exchanging your money make sure the machine will give you quarters and tokens that are only good for a car wash or washing your laundry – unless that’s what you’re there for in the first place!
Some laundromats even require to do one load of laundry to get your change, so make sure you know what you’re getting before putting in those dollar bills.
6. Make a Purchase
As I said before, if your grocery store cashier or fast food attendant doesn’t want to exchange quarters or don’t have enough for a $1 bill, consider making a small purchase.
You can also try the cashback option if that’s on offer. If not, enjoy your purchase as well as your quarters. Things that are cheap and useful to buy in order to get quarters to include:
- Ramen Noodles
- 1 piece of fruit
- A bag of chips
- Just about any vegetable
I doubt you will have much luck finding an arcade in the United States these days, but if you happen to be in a pinch – say stuck with your wife at the mall and in desperate need of some quarters – you can stop by the old arcade.
Mini putt-putt courses, arcades, and places with old Jukeboxes seem to always have a quarter machine right next to them! Swap a few dollars for some quarters and you're good to go.
8. Ask a friend for quarters
If you happen to be at work and you're wondering where to get quarters for the vending machine, simply ask a few co-workers.
At work, a lot of my co-workers and I keep spare change in our top desk drawer and help each other out for that long day when we need caffeine or a snack.
Simply ask if anyone has a few quarters to spare and don't turn down nickles or dimes either. They add up too!
My Two-Quarters Takeaway:
If you’re worried about being left without any quarters, keep a cute piggy bank at home that’s specifically for quarters and small coins. Then when it happens, you're craving a milkshake, bust it open and grab the quarters you need!
This might be the best way to find quarters for that inexplicable reason you might need them and you won’t need to go hunting for a laundromat or car wash!
Quarters and coins, in general, are slowly dying as more and more people convert to using credit cards. However, you never know when you will want to hit the arcade during your next stop at the mall so hopefully, this article helped you!
So it’s good to keep in mind where you can get some quarters in case your piggy bank is getting empty, the bank is closed and you're left quarter-less!
Question: Where do you get your quarters?
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.