A penny saved beats a penny earned. Why? Because you do not have to pay taxes on it. Plus, that penny is just a start. Once you find a lot of brothers, sisters and cousins of his to save too, then you are talking about some serious cash. In the past three years alone, I have saved over $500 in coins.
The problem is both how to save the penny and then how to keep the penny. Fortunately, there are many options that work.
SAVE THE PENNY
Out of all of the methods that exist, I prefer the Daily Accumulation. When I get undressed at night, I go through my pockets and put all of the coins in my coin jar. There are no exceptions. In some cases, I’ll even toss in some of the loose bills that have not found their way back into the wallet.
Others aim for the Instant Stash. The moment they get any change, it gets set aside to be put in the coin jar as soon as physically possible. Their goal is to reduce the chance of losing or spending as much as possible by getting change out of their hands.
The last group does Scrounge and Save. For days, weeks or months change is allowed to collect wherever. At some point, they go through everything collecting coins from everywhere they can. If they miss some, they will be found in the next round. In the meantime, it is a treasure hunt for the day.
KEEP THE SAVINGS
Once the money is saved, it needs to be kept somewhere. My choice is in a half gallon glass growler. Just looking at it, I can see the money piling up. Plus, it is sturdy enough that I can fill the jar full and I do not have to worry about it breaking when I pick it up.
I have known other people who use giant Coke and crayon banks, plastic baggies, ammunition boxes and even piggy banks to store their coins. A couple I know have bought several of those labeled ceramic containers (‘Vacation Fund’, etc.) and split their coins between them.
Regardless, there is one big constant among all the people who are successful at saving their change. They have the self-discipline to let it grow. No raiding the piggy bank because they are a dollar or two short for a want. Sometimes that is by keeping the container out in the open where anybody can see and hear them raiding it. Others hide their container away, reasoning that if it is hidden, they will not think about raiding it in a moment of weakness.
CASH IT IN
Saving coins, hearing them rattle around in the container (if it does not have so many coins that it is hard to pick up) and seeing the savings grow is a large part of the fun of saving change. Kids and adults alike can participate. Plus, the success of saving is easy to see.
Still, eventually there comes a time to cash in the money. Either the deadline for saving has been reached or there is enough money saved up to meet a different goal. There are a couple of choices to make for cashing in the coins.
The first is to take them down to a local store that has a coin counting machine. Dump them all in, listen to it work for a little bit, and then it prints out a ticket that can be redeemed for cash of the portable type. This works, but those machines take a pretty good chunk out of your change – 8-10% most of the time.
The other option is often better, especially if you have kids that can be enticed into helping out. Get a bunch of coin wrappers from your bank – usually free of charge. Then sit down at the dining table and pour out all of the coins. Everybody helps sort, stack and count the coins before slipping them into the wrappers. Easy to do, and they can be deposited at the bank.
Good luck, and may you jingle all the way to the bank and success.