Much wealth has been destroyed and earning money is difficult in this recession. Just reading this CNN report that the job loss figure is the worst since 1945 has left us shell-shocked. Let's face it, the days of easy credit is over, thanks to the financial crisis sparked by Wall Street.
In its aftermath, I believe many Americans have started paying more attention to their money, including loose change. In the past, I was one of those people who do not give a second thought to pocket change and just leave them strewn around the house. If they are misplaced, so be it.
But since my family devised our first household budget, there is more organization to our money habits. We keep a little jar on top of our kitchen fridge where we dump our pocket change from whatever transactions of the day.
The amount of money in the change jar accumulate over time and come in handy when we suddenly need cash and the banks are closed. I’ve tapped the change jar more than once when my wallet was empty to pay for parking at the subway or our monthly newspaper subscriptions.
The idea of a change jar is very simple but it can be powerful in saving money if you keep up with it. Instead of dumping excess pocket change into a vending machine or spending on mindless items, I keep it in my pocket.
In fact, I have gone as far as to keep a lookout on the ground. If I see money lying around, even if it is just a penny, I instinctively pick it up and toss it in my pocket. On some days, it can be pretty rewarding.
Some of the best places to look are at drive-through windows and coin return slots in vending machines and pay phones. If you happen to be near one, check and see if there’s any change and if there is, keep it snugly in your pocket to drop in the jar later.
Don't worry about feeling embarrassed. Just think of it as clearing the street of some litter. Every little bit helps and it takes almost no effort at all. When I arrive home, the change are all placed into the jar, where it remains at least till the week or month.
On average days, I have about 50-75 cents in my pocket but sometimes, when I get lucky, I get about $2 of change to contribute. This means that I usually have around 15-25 dollars in the jar at the end of each month, which feels like “free money.” It’s a simple and effortless way to build up our personal savings.
If I find no particular use for the money in that month, I just drive to the bank and deposit the jar contents into our joint account. From there, I usually deposit it into a high yield savings account that will earn interest on my accumulated change.
Try out this method and when it becomes a habit, you will notice that your savings just grow without you thinking much of it.