Money Change Breakdown

Java 28.3.2011 9 Comments
Money Change Breakdown

What is the smallest number of coins (or notes) that are required to give a specified amount of change? This is the next problem we will address.

To solve this problem we use basically the same process a shop keeper would when giving change to customers. That is we look for the largest denomination coin/note that is less than the amount of change still required to be paid. We repeat this process until all the change is paid.

package com.learnjava.math;

import java.util.Scanner;

public class MoneyBreakdown {

	 * @param args
	public static void main(String[] args) {
		final int[] denominations = 
			{ 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, 1 };
		Scanner scanner = new Scanner(;
		// Get the amount to breakdown from user
		System.out.print("Enter amount (in cents): ");
		int amount = scanner.nextInt();
		// Determine how many of each denomination are required
		int[] count = breakdown(denominations, amount);
		// Output the result
		for (int i=0; i<denominations.length; i++) {
			if (count[i]>0) {
				System.out.println(count[i]+" x "+denominations[i]);

	private static int[] breakdown(int[] denominations, int amount) {
		int[] count = new int[denominations.length];
		// Loop through each denomination (starting at largest)
		for (int i=0; i<denominations.length; i++) {
			// Use one of that denomination until we need something smaller
			while (amount>=denominations[i]) {
				amount -= denominations[i];

		return count;


9 Responses to “Money Change Breakdown”

  1. Dianne

    I don’t understand the denominations array

    • The denominations array is used to represent all the denominations of currency available to make up the change, and the values represent cents. In this example it contains 500 ($5), 200 ($2), 100 ($1), 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, 1. The breakdown on change will only contain denominations that appear in that array.

      If you require different denominations then you will need to change the values in that array. Let me know if you need a hand.

  2. kalbong brutal

    i need helped with my assgn. java change breakdown.
    please helped

  3. reg
  4. Aeron

    In the code this part:
    int[] count = breakdown(denominations, amount);
    Could please explain it? Couldnt really understand the breakdown(denominations, amount) and why its assigned to an array called count.
    Thanks 🙂

    • The breakdown() method loops through the available denominations and returns the number of each denomination used to make up amount. count is the array return containing the ‘count’ of each denomination.

      eg. breakdown([1,5,10], 57) would return [2,1,5]
      Which translates to 2 x 1, 1 x 5, 5 x 10

  5. wendy P

    hi i have a class assignment of a coke machine that all beverages cost 1.00 but only takes 5, 10, 25, 50 coins and should reject anything odd like 33 cent I need help with this part of the program.

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