Money Saving Monday Tip#20 – Keep the change
Photo by: r-z
This article is part of an ongoing series where I write about Money Saving tips and strategies each Monday. You can see the rest of the series articles here.
Generally, keeping the change involves telling someone you are giving money too to not bother giving you your change back. Unless you’re leaving a tip, I can’t imagine why anyone would do this. I am going to flip the concept of “keep the change” around with this money saving Monday tip and suggest that you always get your change back and keep the change!
We seem to have reached a point in our society where people don’t really seem to care much for small change. Myself and primarily my kids seem to find change lying on the ground all over. My kids are particularly good at this. They begin the search as soon as we enter a checkout line. Them crawling around on the floor can be a bit embarrassing sometimes, but they consistently leave the store with at least 5 cents, sometimes much more. This is big bucks for them. Which makes me wonder, at what point did we as a society make the decision that loose change just isn’t worth the trouble? The whole message of this site is based on Proverbs 13:11 which teaches us to “gather little by little”. What better way to do so than to collect change?
A technique for saving that my wife and I have been doing over the years is saving our change. We keep a glass jar in our cabinet and whenever either one of us return home and have change in our pockets, we put it in the change jar. A few months ago, I “kicked it up a notch” and started added any $1 bills in my wallet as well. I don’t normally keep much cash on hand, so this isn’t really a significant jump, but it has made a difference.
Each day when I come home from work, I take any loose change and place it in the jar as I empty my pockets before going upstairs to change. I also pull out any $1 bills as I remove my wallet and place them in the jar too. We continue this process until the jar is close to full and then take it up to the change counting machine at the grocery store and redeem the change for bills and then deposit this in our emergency fund or use it to snowflake against our debt.
We also use this change jar to fund various cash requirements like money our children need for school, purchasing things the kids in our neighborhood are selling, even allowance. This of course cuts into the savings a bit, but it’s money we would be spending anyway and it’s a great way to pay for unplanned expenses we didn’t account for in our budget.
While I don’t have any hard data on this, I would estimate that about every couple of months we get $20 – $30 dollars from our saved change. That’s $300/year. My wife and I have been married for 15 years and have been doing this for about that long, so over the long haul saving our change has accumulated us $4, 500.00. That’s a great deal of money for just saving some spare change. Now that we’ve started saving $1 bills too, that should significantly increase that value.
The lesson here is value all of your money, even pennies can add up over time. I read a story a while back about a man that while out running errands each day, he stops at various car vacuum cleaners that are along the way and looks for change in the clean-out doors. I can’t recall exactly how much he found daily, but seem to recall it was around $5.00/day. That works out to be $1,825.00/year. Again, even a little gathered overtime can yield much.
Do you save your change? Where do you keep it? How about your dollar bills? Do you count and wrap your change or use the machines at the stores? How much do you think you’ve saved using this method?