In tough financial times, saving money is easier said than done. For many of us, once we’ve paid the bills and bought the essentials, there’s just not much, if anything, left to save. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could save up at least a little money each month without even missing it? Actually, most of us can.
Some people make the effort to dig out exact change when they buy something. But the overwhelming majority of us just fork over the closest thing we have in paper money. When we get change back, we stuff it in our pockets and forget about it. Once we go home, it often ends up on the dresser. We may forget about it for weeks or months, or the kids might get it and spend it on candy or toys. Just imagine how all that change that we toss aside could add up over time.
Instead of leaving change lying about where it will get lost or pilfered, try putting it into a jar, piggy bank or some other container. Avoid spending it, and use only bills to pay for everything. If you faithfully put all your change in there, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it fills up. You might even find that you need a larger container if you want to save for any length of time!
Try saving your change in this manner for a year. If you have an extra dollar bill or two, feel free to throw that in as well. Just resist the urge to borrow from your fund, and let it keep growing. At the end of the year, you could have enough money to buy something nice or do your Christmas shopping. And if the entire family pitches in, you might even end up with enough money to take a vacation!
Saving change is also a good way to start an emergency fund. It will take some time, but saving up slowly is better than not having any money put away at all. Once you’ve built up some change, you could roll it up and put it into an interest-bearing savings account or a short-term investment vehicle to add a little more to it.
Other Ways to Save Change
If you do not usually spend cash, it’s still possible to save up your change. Some consumers who keep most of their money in a checking account round their checks up to the next dollar when subtracting them in their registers. This leaves them showing less money than they actually have in their bank accounts. It takes some getting used to when balancing your checkbook, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great way to save change without actually handling it.
Some banks have also begun to offer programs that help account holders save change when using their debit cards. They round each purchase up to the nearest dollar, and transfer the difference into a savings account. Check with your bank to see if they offer such a program.
Even the most careful budgeter can waste change without even realizing it. By making a conscious effort to save your change, you can accumulate lots of extra money in a year’s time. And best of all, you’ll probably never miss a few cents here and there!