I've always passed up the Coinstar change machines in the grocery store; I don't feel like paying for the privilege of having to lug all my loose change with me (approximately nine cents on the dollar — almost 10 cents in Canada — to turn coins into a voucher redeemable for cash or purchases). I've got a perfectly good coin sorter at home which provides hours of fun for my kids, and motivates them to stash coins in their piggy banks. The only bummer: I have to set foot inside my bank to deposit the money. I hate bank lines almost as much as I hate ATM fees, so this poses a bit of a problem.
Coinstar is now offering free counting in exchange for gift cards to selected merchants, including iTunes, Starbucks, and Amazon.com. The bad news: this discourages saving. The good news: no bank lines. Hmmm. Could work well for gifts; I could see my son dumping his hard-earned change into the machine to buy his daddy a birthday present of five or ten iTunes downloads, for example.
Any Coinstar users wish to throw in their two cents on the topic? (And, forgive me for saying so, but that's the best pun I've ever come up with.)