couch-cushion change
n. A trivial or disappointingly small amount of money. Also: couch cushion change.

Example Citations:
His Department of Environment and Natural Resources has repeatedly thwarted efforts by environmental groups to hold Duke Energy responsible for its malfeasance in several such spills. For example, the DENR “punished” Duke for the Asheville-Riverbend spillage by fining it all of $99,111, or as some environmentalists have called the fine, “couch-cushion change.”
—“C. Mosby Miller: Legislators ignoring spillage,” The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), February 21, 2014

Squirt a little water on an opponent after a whistle? Well, if the target’s Crosby, that’s a $5,000 fine. Probably more if the players union hadn’t negotiated a maximum that amounts to couch-cushion change.
—Rick Carpiniello, “Officiating is dragging down the Stanley Cup playoffs,” USA Today, May 23, 2014

Earliest Citation:
Maybe if Rodney started paying his girls with folding money instead of couch cushion change maybe his stuff wouldn’t be such a waste of aluminum.
—Torris, “Re: How I’ll know the world is gonna end!!!,” rec.arts.movies.erotica, March 15, 2000

Notes:
First, a salute to long-time reader Mark Worden for suggesting this useful phrase. Second, for non-native English speakers, this idiom is a sarcastic reference to the coins that can often be found when one lifts the couch cushions. Third, the completist (1955) in me needs you to know that the variation sofa-cushion change is just a bit newer:

We are in leaner times, and the General Assembly needs to recognize that. It would have been nice if they had stashed more than sofa-cushion change in the state’s Rainy Day Fund in recent years of record economic growth, as most other states did.
—“Lawmakers have no reason for overtime,” The State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL), May 4, 2001

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