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I have been saving my husband's and my spare change for years. This year I decided to document every "cash-in", to see exactly how much change that we DID wind up with at the end of the year. I have always used this money for a rainy-day fund, like when I was absolutely out of money, needed gas for the car, or an unexpected item from the grocery store.
This year, I determined to earmark the money for a special project. so I started collecting in January, and planned to use the money for garden expenses. If I used any of the money in the jar, then I made note of how much was taken, and put a reminder to repay it in the jar.
This way, I was able to: 1. See how much money that I was able to save from just loose change, and 2. Keep up with how much was spent on my garden in a year's time. Since I knew that I was "saving" money, I often would give a dollar to pay for an item, instead of correct change. I knew that the small amount would not make a difference to my budget, but would help contribute to my garden fund.
As of this date, November 5, I have so far saved almost six hundred dollars in loose change, and spent $582.00 on my garden. I knew that the change collection was a big help, but now realize how much, since I started actually keeping track of "deposits and withdrawals". I was very pleased to learn what the actual figure was.
Many of us are living cheque to cheque and trying to make ends meet. How are we supposed to save money when we barely have enough as it is now for basic needs?
I recently wrote an article about the cost of people purchasing a coffee every morning. I was explaining that it's so easy for us to shell out $1.50 a day for a cup of coffee as it doesn't seem like much money at the time, but if you add it up, that $1.50 a day coffee habit turns into an approximate $375 a year expense if you do this 5 days a week.
Same with lunches. If you even just spend $3 a day on lunch, this turns into a $750 a year expense on cheap lunches assuming you do it 5 days a week. Most of us spend more than $3 on a lunch. Collectively, this is over $1000 a year just on coffee and lunch! Ouch.
The reason I am bringing up this story, is that we can use the same type of logic for saving money. If we put $100 a week in our savings account, it will seem like a lot of money. So let's start with a simple project that no one can screw up: A penny jar.
I've talked to friends who said if they had a change jar, they'd dip into it for dimes, quarters, loonies and twoonies (for us Canadians). So they decided not to have one as they didn't think they could save this way. I asked them if they'd dip into a penny jar, they all said "No Way!". Most people hate pennies, they are a nuisance, we even won't pick one up if we see it on the ground sometimes because we're embarrassed.
So this is how my penny jar project was born! Today I collected all the pennies I had at the bottom of my purse and a few in my wallet. I counted 18 pennies in total which I placed in a cup I keep at work. I had been collecting change at the bottom of my purse unintentionally for a few days, most people might not have 18 pennies in their wallet or pocket on any given day. To be modest, I calculated that if I saved 10 pennies a day over the course of a year, I would end up with a little over $36 in cash. Just on pennies! Now of course this project isn't meant to save up for a trip around the world, but this just goes to show that our penny friends are actually good for something. Right? Not just for throwing in fountains to make wishes or leave them at the cash for someone else to use in case they need one. We're such penny loathers, yet look what they can do for us?
Charities have even jumped on the penny-saving bandwagon. I've often been asked for my pennies by local and national charities who walk around with an empty water bottle (those big ones meant for coolers) asking for our unwanted pennies. We all want to get rid of them, let's face it. I bet they were very successful with this. I don't usually give change to charities but when I'm asked for pennies I'm always much too willing to part with them.
I made a promise to myself that when the year is over, I would purchase gift cards with what I saved. This would give me a few gift cards for friend's birthdays. The choice is yours; take yourself out to dinner, go on a grocery shopping spree, purchase a bus ticket to a neighbouring town or go wild and put it in a savings account!
Anyone can do this, it's easy. So start picking up those pennies on the ground, ask friends to donate their unwanted pennies and start saving!
By Lisa from Halifax, NS
Since I no longer work outside the home, I've been looking for ways that I have my own money. My husband hands over his check and never questions where it goes, but it is just not the same.
Whenever cash is paid for something and change is given back, save it. Change adds up fast into big bucks. I also save the one dollar bills and group into tens.
When we know we are going to have to provide for a wedding or new baby that is on the way, we start saving. We take a pint canning jar and start unloading our change and any tips we get.
When the vase gets full, I take it to the bank and deposit it into my "special" savings account. Since I only glance at the statement once a month I don't see how much it has accumulated, so I'm not tempted to spend it.
My husband won't spend change, so we wind up with piles of change on his dresser. Every so often, I'll take it to Coinstar in our grocery store. I found that I can turn the coins into an Amazon e-coupon, for free. I just cash in the coins and then add the code to my Amazon account.
My husband and I collect the spare change we find around the house, in the laundry, etc. I found a big antique Ball jar at a thrift store and we use that. It is easily contained and looks nice on the shelf.
This has saved me a few times and I love it. I made a few shopping totes and had one left over. I found some spare change and tossed it in the purse. I went about my day and weeks, never remembering the money was there. I found some change laying around the house. I quickly thought of my purse and made a deposit.
If it is hard for you to save money, only spend dollar bills and save all the change you get in a jar or container at home. My daughter and fiance' have been doing this for the last 2 months and have $150.00 already. It is easy and fun to watch it grow.
Dollar bills have a letter on the left hand side of each bill, identifying which Federal Bank it is from. Bills are lettered from A to M. Choose a letter or two and every night sort out any bills with that chosen letter to put aside for savings.
My husband and I have done something from the very start of our life together. Every time we find money on the ground, we keep it separate from our own and put it in a clear glass piggy bank when we get home.
Remember coins are money, too. I have seen kids run away leaving a shower of pennies behind them, which I picked up! Some people have trouble paying with change, but it's currency, too!
Save all your coins everyday and place them in a container and after a year use that money for something you want to do, like a vacation. By Carol
My husband and I always save our change, but recently we have started saving our one dollar bills. At the end of each day, we put all of our ones in a little bank, and on Saturday, we deposit what we have, this week alone our deposit was $54.00. You'd be amazed how quickly they add up, and you don't really miss them. By Carol
This will add about $30 every couple months to your savings account: Start saving all your pennies. After you're used to doing that for a while, start saving ALL your change. Then save all your $1 bills. I save all my change and (well okay only some) dollar bills and end up with about $30 (give or take)every couple months to put into my savings account. Where does it come from? I guess it's magic! By Jayne