Introduction: Always Have Correct Change in Your Wallet

Picture of Always Have Correct Change in Your Wallet

Some people carry change purse with them where ever they go, but you won t use most of those coins. Why carry coins that you won t use? So what is the fewest number of coins you can carry that allows you to produce any exact change? And then find an inexpensive way to carry that in your wallet.

Step 1: Theory

Picture of Theory

So what is the fewest number of coins you can carry that allows you to produce any exact change?The answer is 10 coins, 3 Quarters, 1 dime, 2 nickel, and 4 pennies. With this combination you can produce any number between 1-99 cents.

An alternative answer would be 6 coins, 3 Quarters, 2 dimes and 1 nickel. In this example you will range most change between 5-95 cents, in 5 cents increments. In this example you will never receive more than 4 cents in change back.

The project is a way to carry these 10 coins easily inside your wallet. I have used a thin piece of cardboard. But if you may use most anything, I recommend any material about 2 stacked coins thick, and have enough friction to hold the coins in place.

Step 2: Materials:

a Credit Card to draw template
A pen
3 Quarters
1 dime
2 nickels
4 pennies
sharp knife
Thin Cardboard
30 minuets to an hour of free time

Step 3: Draw and Cut

Picture of Draw and Cut

First get the cardboard, use a credit card and your pen to draw a template.

Step 4: Draw Your Coins

Picture of Draw Your Coins

Place coins on template. Use pen to trace your coins. Put them generally where I have them place. Now when your tracing remember the cardboard must support itself when you cut the coins out. So don t have coins touching and leave a fair amount of room between them. Remember you will be staking the coins 2 per slot.

Step 5: Cut It Out

Picture of Cut It Out

Cut the coins out. It is harder to slice cardboard like this so I used a stabbing motion around the coin. repeat for the rest. Keep it tight or else the coins will fall out when you place it in the slot. It is easy to cut more out, but it is harder to start over.

Step 6: Done

Picture of Done

Once you have all the coins cut place your coins in the holder and place your holder in your wallet. When you are at the local eatery you can know you have the correct change.

Note: When you are waiting in line, it is a good idea to punch out the coins and have them all ready in your hand.


XgudwilX (author)2017-03-07

Nahh..ten dimes at all times.. Lightest & smallest.

rafael_diaz02 (author)2016-09-13

Here is another alternative...

claudiu.tudoras made it! (author)2015-03-03

I made this today for Romanian currency. Altough we have 4 coins (50, 10, 5, and 1) i have only used the smallest 3 (10, 5, and 1). I dislike these little ones when I get them and would like to offer change to only get the bigger one.

I have an attipical wallet so I made this larger than a credit card (it's 8cm x 14cm).

I used Microsoft Word to draw my template using measurements of my wallet and measurements of the coins. I used 0.5cm as the minimum distance between the coins and the edges. I have attached a photo of how the file looks like. It's made just using tables and shapes. 3 of these fit on a standard A4 paper.

On the back i have added some sticky tape so that the coins wont fall off (the cardboard is very thin, not like the one in the instructable). I guess that this will collect dust and I will have to replace it from time to time but that wont be a problem.

Thank you for a simple solution for my problems :)

buck2217 (author)2014-08-06

How about using 2 old credit/ATM cards stuck together but offset the holes slightly so that you can push a coin in from each side but they won't go the whole way through. That may cure the push right through issue. I may have a play and see what I can make and then post--- so many ideas/projects, so little time

Confederate1956 (author)2013-06-05

This would also be handy for parking meters.

seawee65 (author)2012-11-21

This is awesome!

grimpirate (author)2012-06-07

A paper model that uses this instructable as a basis to make another version:

BLUEBLOBS2 (author)2012-03-24

This is way cool! I made one with 4 pennies, 2 nickels, 1 dime, 1 quarter, and 1 half dollar.

vancester (author)2012-01-11

I think the FEWEST number of coins would be 9 if you replaced the two quarters with a half. Although it may not work with a pop machine.

fefillo (author)2012-01-01

I was thinking something similar to your suggestions. I think you can use clear packaging tape to cover the holes completely on one side and about half of each of the holes on the other side. And you can dispense the coins out of the half covered circles but it would be hard for them to fall.

Ian M (author)2008-11-12

I've heard that when people used payphones, they would carry a quarter in these in case of emergency. Nowadays, it's probably easier to find a coin on the street than a payphone; so it's probably better to carry a payphone with you.

egbertfitzwilly (author)Ian M2009-07-24

What's a payphone?

an old phone. you insert a certan amount of money and then you can call someone with it.

i think there found in the city. Like New York.
i wouldnt know though I live in a neghborhood.

cl0ney (author)Ian M2009-09-10

lol... that's way cool. well said. :)

cl0ney (author)cl0ney2009-09-10

oh yeah.... forgot to mention that the other day, I broke down and my phone was flat. I walked for quite a while looking for a payphone and ended up returning to my car, an hour and a half later, only to ask someone to use their cellphone. This was in a very populated suburb of Anaheim, CA. Long story short, compassion (which seems rare these days) is likely more frequent than a payphone.

Nuclear_Ninja (author)cl0ney2011-07-10

why was your phone "flat" most phones are made in 3 dimensions arent they

Tux0r (author)Nuclear_Ninja2011-07-11

He means the battery was dead

hansonsux (author)cl0ney2010-03-29

In the case of payphones, 911 is a free call. 

blodefood (author)Ian M2010-03-30

It's 50 cents where I live.

Punkguyta (author)blodefood2010-04-01

 That's what she said.

bowmaster (author)Ian M2008-11-18


Redgerr (author)2011-07-12

i really like this idea and think i might make one for myself. i was reading the comments and am considering making sort of a sleeve out of something thin (paper?) that would go around it... that might make it slightly more useful so that change dosnt fly everywhere.

anyway... thanks for the great instructable and i hope to see more useful ones later

D00M99 (author)Redgerr2011-07-16

I think that's the purpose of the credit card shape; so that you could fit it in the credit card slot which would act as a sleeve anyway. Until you pull it out. :P

hansonsux (author)2010-03-29

I just bugger them with dollar coins. 

blodefood (author)hansonsux2010-03-30

What about the two dollar coins?

Punkguyta (author)blodefood2010-04-01

 Toonies you mean

zascecs (author)2010-03-30

 Wow! I would have never thought of this! And what a great idea; I really need one of these...

fozzy13 (author)2010-03-30


beantown53 (author)2010-03-30

Nice idea. Well thought out and executed. Has room for improvements.

Kaizen Starwind (author)2010-03-29

I have a suggestion to improve your coin layout slightly.

Where you have the two largest coins next to each other I noticed that one has gone off the edge of the card, If you arranged the coins so that the biggest coins are not put next to each other, you would avoid this. For example, have the dime in one corner, then the pennies or the nickel adjacent to it, then the others where they will fit.

cupojoe999 (author)2009-03-15

do the coins stay in place or will they fall out easily if turned up side down. and if so could 2 rubber bands (the wide kind keep them in place?

Meragness (author)2007-10-27

what a cute instructable!! yet I don't think it can be a TRUE instructable until some seriously complicated...math...measurements, and waiting-to-dry is incorporated to the procedure. I swear, every time i read an instructable it's like the longest and hardest process to make something that you don't need anyway. I just admire the finished product and wish I could have had the initiative to make one myself. Call me lazy

DIYerr (author)Meragness2008-12-25


Kaiven (author)2008-11-15

I am doing this.

freakinhuge (author)2008-10-31

Did you know that you can put those cut out cardboard quarter pieces in those little candy / bouncy ball machines near the check out at grocery stores? Not saying that I do or anything ;-)

Lilliepop (author)2008-04-15

Why can't you just cut it out of those old crappy fake credit cards you get in the mail? a few of them glued together almost makes it worth while. i say good job! this is one I will go out and try. I have a pretty thick wallet and hate clinking change.

tinygirl505 (author)2007-12-19

Seven US coin version: four pennies, two nickels, one dime. Then, you give only as much change as is over the nearest multiple of quarters. So, for example, if the charge is $12.38 you pay $20.13, and get $7.75 Your change back will always be in multiples of 25.

FunkLiberationFront (author)2007-10-31

What I'm wondering is, a little more than a year later, is this thing still holding up? I would think the coin holes would lose their tightness. Though obviously it's not an expensive project to re-create.

Honestly I don't use it, it just takes too long to bring it in and out of my wallet. What I do is grab the coins from my car before I enter the store. My goal now is to carry 1 quarter, 1 dime, 1 nickel, and 4 pennies. I have to do some quick math at the counter but I can always get quarters back.

awsome! now all you need to do is spray paint the card board the color of your wallet like i did!

Goodhart (author)2007-08-28

Hmm, presently I do use a squeeze-open coin holder. They last a number of years, and I rarely have a lack of change or too much for the holder. This idea, would be great if it improved somehow on what I already use, but I can't personally see an advantage with it at this time. Now, that mechanism that the Bus driver carried at one time on his belt....that would be something to have (albeit a bit bulky). :)

csmithblues (author)2007-08-28

whats really funny is that i spent the time to read all of the comments.

teh darkcloud (author)2007-07-23

This is an awesome idea! I made a duct tape wallet that I'm too lazy to finish so if I have any coins I have to shove them in my pocket.

CaffeineHouse (author)2007-07-16

this is actually a pretty neat idea, I hate not being able to carry change in my wallet, and the clinking sound of change rattling around my pocket is rather annoying. i can't stand to unnecessarily break a bill, especially a larger one, and i have been known to stop a cashier in mid-checkout to offer some change i had not noticed in my pocket until my purchase was already being rung up.

multiplecats (author)2007-06-28

Nice one and good idea. I do something similar, but in a different vein: What I do is carry just 4 pennies when I go to the store, with whatever paper money I need. Whatever the total comes to, I have the right number of pennies to get only silver coinage back. I hate putting pennies in the change jar at home, so this is how I get rid of them. If you have a lot of shopping to do, and need to rack up on quarters or something for the car wash or laundry or whatever, this is an easy way.

Citwi (author)2007-04-01

persoaly i don't see why not. just add space for 2 Loonies and a Toonie.

tmclucas (author)2006-06-19

Although you will have one more coin, you'll save some weight, volume, and thickness with replacing a quarter & nickel with three dimes. No, I don't know why I spent the time to figure that out.

mkyard (author)tmclucas2006-06-22

won't work... what about 5-9 cents and 15-19 cents?

anon_ymous (author)mkyard2006-10-02

tmclucas coins are:
4 dimes, 2 quarters, 1 nickel, 4 pennies = 11 coins

For 5-9 cents: 1 nickel + 1-4 pennies
For 15-19 cents: 1 dime + 1 nickel + 1-4 pennies

RTourn (author)tmclucas2006-06-20

That's a great idea, my vynl or rubber version will use it.

About This Instructable




More by RTourn:How to make a gram scale using office suppliesBuild your own intercom or walkie talkie out of two old cordless phonesAlways have Correct Change in your wallet
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