You might not think throwing away a penny is a waste of money. It’s just a penny after all, right?
Wrong. From DIY projects to repair hacks, there are plenty of ways to make good use of pennies. So, think twice before you throw your coins away.
Click through to see how you can put your pennies to work.
1. Check Your Tire Treads
Here’s one car DIY trick that requires only a penny: To check your tire tread, hold a penny in the groove of your tire, Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s face, the tread depth is too low and it’s time to replace your tires.
2. Fix a Wobbly Kitchen Table
You don’t need to be a handyman to save money on a DIY project. Just be resourceful. If you have a wobbly kitchen table, stack a few pennies under the bad leg and call it a day. Bonus points if you use glue to keep those pennies in place.
3. Make a Coaster
Protect your table from spills and beautify your living space with penny coasters. All you have to do to make these knickknacks is glue down a layer of pennies to a cork frame. If you find yourself with a sudden love for this kind of DIY decor, it’s time to start your own business.
4. Donate a Jar of Pennies to Charity
If you’re looking to make a tax-deductible donation, it’s time to whip out the penny jar. Or, if you haven’t been saving your pennies, start a donation jar. You might not donate much in the end, but any amount can help a cause you believe in.
5. Fill a Sock for Self-Defense
When you don’t have a pocketknife or pepper spray handy, a sock filled with pennies is a good backup. You can carry it in your purse or backpack in case you’re ever in danger.
6. Invest in the Stock Market
Invest your pennies in the stock market using an investing app such as Acorns. After linking up a debit or credit card, you can authorize the app to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar. Acorns will automatically invest your spare change.
7. Open a Soda Can
Don’t break a nail while opening that soda can. Instead, use a penny to pry open the top. Sliding the coin underneath the pull tab will provide enough leverage to open the can with ease.
8. Make Your Own Ice Pack
Drop some pennies in a sock, and tie off the end with fabric. Freeze it, and you’ll have an ice pack handy when you need it.
9. Save a Bottle of Wine
If your wine develops an unpleasant smell, don’t pour the bottle down the drain. Instead, drop a penny in the bottle and stir for a few minutes. The copper helps produce an odorless compound called copper sulfide, which saves your wine by eliminating that burnt, rubbery or rotten egg smell.
10. Decorate a Tabletop
Instead of trashing your old dining room or coffee table, refurbish it with pennies. Glue down clean pennies to the top. Once the glue dries, apply a coat of epoxy.
11. Make a Doorstop
Make a decorative doorstop using pennies and a pretty sock. Fill the sock with pennies, and then tie the end with eye-catching fabric or rope. You can even dye or paint the sock for a unique design. Then, place the sock in front of a door to keep it open.
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12. Play a Penny Stacking Game
If your kids are bored, consider teaching them to play a penny stacking game. Grab a jar of pennies and have them take turns stacking pennies on top of one another. Whoever can make the tallest tower without toppling it over wins.
13. Gift Them as a Funny Gift
If you want to give a gag gift for a friend’s birthday, look no further than your pennies. A bag or box of pennies is a funny way to gift money.
14. Frame a Mirror
Get creative and frame a boring mirror with pennies. Simply glue clean pennies to the frame of a mirror — or onto a frameless mirror — and add a touch of elegance to your space.
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15. Decorate a Vase
Like how your mirror turned out? Now take a vase to stylize it in a unique way. If you’re feeling extra creative, prime and paint the coins to add a splash of color.
16. Make Tap Shoes for Your Kids
Surprise your kids with their own tap shoes. Grab an old pair of shoes and glue pennies to the bottom of the soles. Then, start dancing.
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17. Make a Washer for Home Projects
Sometimes, you can save money at Home Depot by making some of your own supplies for an at-home project. For example, use a metal drill-bit to punch holes in pennies and create all the washers you need for a fraction of the cost of buying them at hardware stores.
18. Create a Makeshift Screwdriver
If you don’t have your toolbox handy, here’s another DIY trick: Grab a spare penny to use as a makeshift screwdriver. You can also use the coin to open the battery compartment of electronic toys and other items. MacGyver would be proud.
19. Make a Penny Ring
If you’re crafty and like DIY jewelry, you can turn a single penny into a cocktail ring. You only need wires, small pliers, super glue, rhinestone trim and, of course, a clean, shiny penny.
20. Make a Penny Necklace
If you love your penny ring, make a necklace to match your creation. You can rest assured knowing the pieces you make will be one of a kind.
21. Preserve Your Flowers
There’s an easy and affordable way to extend the life of that supermarket bouquet. Simply drop a clean penny and a sugar cube in a vase filled with water. The copper in the penny will inhibit the growth of bacteria and keep your roses beautiful longer.
22. Keep Curtains Straight
To stop your curtains from swinging wildly when the windows are open, make a homemade curtain weight by gluing a stack of pennies to a paperclip. Place the pennies in the open hem of your curtain, and use the paperclip to secure them in place.
23. Use as Tile Spacers
Home improvement projects can be more expensive than you’d expect — and sometimes, they don’t pay off. So, if you’re laying tile, use pennies in place of tile spacers. It’ll save you a bit of cash.
24. Design a Kitchen Backsplash
You can use pennies to make a unique and attractive backsplash in your kitchen. A custom design will command attention while protecting your wall from cooking splatter.
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25. Get Rid of Carpet Indentations
After rearranging your furniture, spray the carpet with a little water, and rub it gently with a clean penny. The rubbing motion will loosen the carpet and remove any indentations caused by the furniture. If you want more cleaning hacks, try these DIY home cleaners.
26. Create a Garden Ball
Pennies can also liven up your garden. Just glue pennies to an old bowling ball, and put your shiny creation on display in your yard. You can also prime and paint the ball for a more colorful design.
27. Design Wall Art
Take a blank canvas, and glue a whole bunch of pennies to it. Then, frame your artwork and put it on display for a cool and inexpensive piece of decor.
28. Make Fun Party Favors
If you don’t want too much sugar in your party favors, wrap small stacks of pennies in plastic and tie the ends with a bow. Give the pennies to your kid’s friends as a gift. Just make sure they’re old enough that they won’t try to eat the pennies.
29. Search for Buried Treasure
Take a bunch of pennies and bury them in a sandbox. Then, have your kids go digging for the treasure. This also makes for a fun game to play at a birthday party.
30. Take Your Pennies to an Amusement Park
If your family is planning a trip to an amusement park, don’t forget to bring along pennies. Once there, you can use a penny press to turn your coins into souvenirs.
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Michael Galvis contributed to the reporting for this article.