I remember being the same way. Always wanting the crap in the little machines strategically placed by the exit of most restaurants and grocery stores. My dad usually had a pocket full of change and more often than not handed it over so I could buy stickers, jewelry that turned my fingers green and gum so hard and stale that I am lucky I didn't break any teeth.
Eventually I outgrew this and realized that these machines were full of crap and I started placing my change in denim purse zipper pocket to save for more important things like a banana fudge popsicle or a giant pickle at lunch.
Later when I turned 16 the change pooled in the cupholders of my car for half price drinks at Sonic or 59cent tacos. In college quarters were in even higher demand saved for the laundry machines....or pretty much anything I could collect enough coins for.
I've paid for all kinds of things in change...entire meals, a shirt on sale at the gap, cds, movie tickets, the xerox machine to copy someone's notes for a class that i missed (oh, iphone where were you then??) and even recently I'm afraid...I paid a baby sitter almost entirely in quarters.
The quarters still pool in my cup holder or in my desk drawer at work and I buy a diet dr pepper to help me get through the last few periods, or if there is enough a grande Americano or lately...snowcones for my kids because they are about the only place left that only takes cash.
I try to teach my kids the value of money, but let's be honest....I am not exactly the best role model here. I have made them save up for some purchase. I try not to say yes everytime they ask for something at the store. I teach them to put money into the offering plate. I give them ways to earn money with extra chores and I steal any cash that my son just leaves lying around. He is starting to judge new toys by how many teeth he'd have to lose or how much laundry he'd have to put away. I am only slightly older and wiser and buy way less crap than I used to. But, I do however spend way too much on coffee, itunes and zulily. Which all seems small and inconsequential until you start adding it up. Like change. My kids however have different ideas about money. To Tess a penny is bigger than a dime so surely it is worth more. A putt putt token, a looney from canada or one of those annoying dollar coins that the post office gives you as change all have about the same value and possibility as cheetah bucks or monopoly money. And they always want whatever crap is in the machines by the door. I am reluctant to hand over my change for a bouncy ball, a fuzzy fake mustache or 7 skittles...half of which will spill over the floor. The last thing we need in our house is more crap. (although, of course...I occasionally give in...I mean....I look pretty good in a fuzzy mustache).
My kids always ask me for change anytime they see a fountain. at the park, a resturaunt, a museum. They beg for any and all of my coins. Instead of getting to turn the knob and collect candy or junk, this time they only get a wish.
And unlike the candy machines I dig deep in my pockets or fish the bottom of my purse and hand over whatever coinage I can find. I know this is silly and that I am literally letting my kids throw away money. I watch as they toss their coins and close their eyes and make a wish. I am pretty sure that my very literal and cynical 8 year old doesn't really believe them but he closes his eyes just the same....and that Tess probably always wishes for a pony. My coins hit the bottom and are gone without even a crummy friendship bracelet or one direction sticker in return. But I am ok with that.
Because for now, I love that my kids value wishes more than money. Even if it is my dollars that they are wishing with.