This is an article I wrote on my blog and really wanted to share!
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!
Source: This is something I wrote on my blog this month:
By Lisa from Halifax, NS
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The store manager of my $100 million dollar a year big box store told me a couple years ago that he picks up a penny if he sees it. Last year I kept track of the money I picked up. I found $181 and change. Not bad for just the effort of bending down to pick it up.
Do it all the time. Must be a NS thing. Only I save 1-5-10-25 cent coins, adds up, quickly.
I also pick up pennies but I haven't kept count. My kids (teenagers)look embarrassed when I do it
My wife read an interesting story in Chicken Soup for the Soul. "A rich man always picked up pennies when he saw them. When asked why he replied 'When I pick up a penny I always see the words In God We Trust (on all U.S. pennies). It reminded him no matter how bad things look, God is looking out for us and will make things better' ".(I condensed this down for space reasons). The day my wife read me the story, after a bad day at work, I was walking to my car and saw a penny and picked it up. I remebered the story and my mood improved instantly.
It's amazing what people tos, isn't it? I unashamedly scan the ground whe walking thorugh parking lots and other public places where money may change hands. I keep a running total of the year's finds: this year, so far:
$47 in pennies
$6.45 in nickels
$12.70 in dimes
$8.75 in quarters
$.50 in half-dollars
$4 in the new gold dollar coins
$7 in ones
$5 in fives
$0 in tens
$20 in twenties
Thanks to everyone who contributed this money to my family's food bill!
to save pennies i use a very cute bank so I like to put all my pennies in it
When i use to work at a carnival i would find some money --- lots of rides shake out all those coins at the bottom of your pockets and one time i found $100 bill that helped me pay for my phone bill.
But pennies are not the only thing that I find on the street worth any cash. I also find plastic bottles and cans. I know it is frowned on by some to pick up "trash" from the streets but I see a lot more people doing it now days and I call them "pickers"
my kids also get embarrassed when I do this but then again they reap in the rewards when I take a garbage bag full to the recyclers and get 5cents/bottle or can ==== which I use to pay the kids allowances.
More than once in my lifetime, my penny-hoarding ways have helped us make it through those last couple of days before payday without suffering unduly, like going without milk. In years past when I could both see them and bend over to pick them up, I was never too ashamed to pick pennies up from the street or sidewalk!
I love everybody's thinking, particularly about not passing up cans and bottles in parking lots. My main source of savings, though, is still loose change. A few years ago, I got a coin counter for Christmas. You drop the coins in the top and they spew out into tubes that have the paper wrapper tubes inside. Plunk, plunk, plunk! This past winter I managed to save over $60 alone, just in coins! I'm using it to enhance my gardening this year. I rarely, if ever take any change out, but I do take a peek to see how I'm doing. I get the change by always paying with paper money and then put all the change into the counter. It's painless, really, and if there's a real emergency, I know I have some cash on hand. I've paid for gasoline with a roll of quarters, supplemented my bank account to avoid being overdrawn, even bought food! The stores are always glad to get the change, and it helps prevent crises!
Years ago when I shopped with my sister, she would always walk out of the store and always throw her pennies on the ground. She said they are only pennies and she hates pennies. I told her "they are still money and they add up, put them in a jar and see for yourself". I always pick up the money I find on the ground, have not kept track of how much I find, but, I now keep a jar in my kitchen to empty my change into, especially when I have to break a big bill to finish drying my clothes at the laundry mat and it really adds up. I rarely take money from there unless I am really desperate and need gas in my car.
We save all of our change, not just pennies. It bothers me that you speak of living paycheck to paycheck, then talk about spending the change you've saved--it seems to me that your spending is the problem. Ours goes into a savings account, and yes, it adds up fast.
We now have an emergency fund that has given us a sense of well being and has seen us through several problems. It enabled us to buy two furnaces (that have gone out at different times), replace our home's ductwork, buy a washer and dryer, tires for my husband's truck, a trip back home for my mother's funeral, pay medical bills, and several other things. Sure, we could have dipped into our jar to get bread or milk, but we chose to do without them for the greater cause. And we are so glad that we did - several times over.
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