Fun ideas for using leftover foreign cash currency from your last holiday

By Shon Alam, Bidwedge

What happens to your leftover holiday currency?  Does it end up in a jam jar?  In a sock at the back of a drawer? We can only assume that many people do something like this as an estimated £4 billion of currency is sitting around in UK households.

Here are some ideas for doing something productive and potentially profitable with your currency rather than leaving it languish:

Create a souvenir

You could stick your unused coins to a photo frame to hold your favourite holiday snap. Alternatively, frame the coins, perhaps representing where you went; the shape of Italy in Euro cents or FLORIDA written in nickels and dimes.

Make jewellery

If you have a drill why not make some funky jewellery? A large coin could be used as a pendant on a necklace, two matching coins could make fun earrings. Or join your coins together in a jingly bracelet to remind you of your holidays!

In most cases, as long as you don’t attempt to pass of the jewellery as legal tender, there aren’t any rules to stop you making your coin jewellery. But it is worth checking first for the particular currency you intend to use. See:

If you’re not an artistic person, you can also buy jewelry from stores like Windsor Jewelers.

Donate to a school

It’s well worth getting in touch with your kids’ school and asking whether they can make use of your currency in lessons. Teachers may be able to use coins and notes in geography lessons, to stick to world maps so children can see the different currencies used. If you have any pre-Euro coins you are likely to be even more popular! For older children, they could be used when talking about exchange rates and different currencies.


This is where you exchange unused currency for sterling. Unfortunately, many providers’ websites do not specify how much they will buy your currency back for. Check out a comparison website such as

Some providers guarantee to buy back your currency at the rate you bought it. However, this is usually a time limited offer, so you may be too late!


Bidwedge offers a straightforward way to exchange your currency. You simply create a free account, state the amount of currency you have, hit ‘show me the money’ and they will tell you the price they will pay for your currency. If you agree, you post your currency to Bidwedge. The agreed amount will be paid into your bank account. There are no additional fees, postage is free, and all transactions are insured.

Sell privately

If you have friends or family who have booked for holiday later in the year and it’s looking like they will be able to get away, you could always sell your leftover cash to them. You’ll cut out the commissions for everyone.

Help your friends

Rather than selling your currency, perhaps you could gift it to your friends to use when they are away.  If it is just a few euros, they can have their first ice cream on you!

Alternatively, their children might like to start a foreign coin collection. Bring a smile to some little faces.

Charity donation

If you have a favourite charity, it’s worth getting in touch with them and asking if they will accept your currency and how to donate it. Otherwise, when the high street charity stores, such as Oxfam and Mind, are open you can always pop in there. Most will take foreign currency as a donation.

So now you no longer need to wonder what to do with your unwanted currency. If none of these ideas suit you, you can always put it back in the drawer but with luck you will find something more productive and fun for you or the kids to do with it.


Shon Alam is founder of Bidwedge. Bidwedge makes it easy to change your left-over cash currency back into Sterling – at great rates for even the smallest amounts. Just enter the amount, see the rate you’ll be paid, post the cash and watch the money appear in your bank account. It’s easy to do.

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