OWTK's Helpful Ideas / Parenting Blog

OWTK’s Helpful Idea #5

This one is super simple and spiffy for adults and kids alike.

OWTK HELPFUL IDEA #5 – Keep the Change

Keep your loose change in a jar and mentally earmark those accumulating funds for something special: a milkshake, concert tickets, a Lionel Messi FC Barcelona jersey (wink, wink), a weekend getaway without the kids (wait, let me just stew on that one for a while….





..aaah dreamy): you decide how aggressive a coin-tastic goal you want. Then, dime-by-dime, you and/or your kids will get there.  It’s kind of amazing how fast it happens actually, assuming you use cash to pay for some things.

Avoiding the bounty of Marriott Reward points that are calling out to him, my dad uses cash for nearly everything he buys.  His bathtub could be full of silver by now!

Trying to put away $100 or some other nice, round number from each paycheck is probably somewhere between financially uncomfortable and damn-near impossible.  Saving your change is so awesome because it doesn’t impact you at all…unless you fancy having that $.58 jingling around in your pocket.

Oh, I’d avoid buying one of those too-cool coin counting banks for this method of savings because:

  1. Saving your money shouldn’t come with a $20 or $30 bill before you even begin.
  2. Seeing a balance staring at you is bound to make it harder to forget about the accumulating amount which is key to getting into triple digits.
  3. Having a faux ATM card (some come with these) to access your personal coin vault is a bad, bad idea.
  4. Part of the fun is the mystery of how much you’ve saved.

I’d also avoid those coin counting machines, Coinstar or whatever they are called, in supermarkets.  While some offer good value (like no fees and even a bonus to flip your coin for a gift card to Lowe’s or someplace), there is something to be said for dumping your stash on the floor, making piles of 40 quarters, 50 dimes and 40 nickels then rolling ’em yourself.

Got a goal that will require something more significant to reach while you’re still alive?  Try stashing $25 or $50 away on paydays.  The Mrs. and I use an easily forgettable ING account to do this automatically.  We’re saving for airfare to Spain in 2012.  We’ll still need some help from the airline industry, but our fingers are crossed.

Loose change might not save the world, but you running off with your sweetie for a romantic evening or your kiddo being able to score the baseball mitt of their dreams will surely make for happier people.  And the world could use more of those.

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