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Parenting tip: Refill your iTunes balance using your spare change


If you have an iTunes account for your children and are looking for an easy way to keep their balance replenished, look no further than the loose change sitting on your counter. It only takes a trip to your local grocery store and a few minutes of your time to turn your change into an iTunes gift certificate.

You are probably familiar with the coin-counting service Coinstar, which offers cash in exchange for your loose coins. Instead of receiving a cash voucher next time you turn in change, select an iTunes gift certificate and you will receive a receipt with an iTunes redemption code.

The funds will be added to your Apple ID and you can use it to buy iOS Apps, OS X apps, music, movies and books. Coinstar waives the coin-counting fee with these gift certificates, so you will walk away with your full balance. The coin-counting service occasionally offers an iTunes promotion that'll give you an extra $10 when you redeem a minimum amount (usually $40). You can find promotions on Coinstar's Special Offers webpage or be alerted via email when you sign up for a Coinstar account.

There is one small restriction with the gift certificate -- you must have a minimum of $5 in change or cash. Also, not all Coinstar machines offer iTunes gift certificates. You can use the search feature on Coinstar's website to find a supported machine.

Put your change in a money jar and you will be surprised at how much you can accrue over the course of a month. We redeem about $20 to $30 each month in change, which goes a long way to help purchase educational apps, games, music, movies and books for our children.

You can find out more about the iTunes gift certificate by visiting Coinstar's website.

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