Last week, I finally had the opportunity to dig into my change jar and begin rolling the coins that I had been saving up since this past spring semester. It took me about seven months to fill my glass milk jar all the way to the top and that includes the occasional dipping into the jar for bus fare and laundry (had I not done that, I may have reached my goal two or three weeks earlier). After an hour or so of counting out pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and gold dollars, I was pleasantly surprised by how much change I had effortlessly allotted. The total amount that I rolled came to $98.00 and I had $5.32 in loose change left over, giving me a grand total of $103.32 (meaning that I averaged $3.69 in savings per week and a little more than $.52 per day).
How effortless is setting aside your change at the end of every day? Too effortless. It requires no physically strenuous activity and very little will power. All you have to do is make a silent commitment to yourself to drop your change in a piggy bank, milk jar, or bucket every night, without fail, and I can assure you that you will be both pleased and surprised by the results as time passes. Perhaps to give yourself an incentive to take this challenge on, you can direct all of your change proceeds towards something you really want. For example, remember that mini plasma you wanted to put in your bedroom or that new stereo system you thought would go perfect in your living room? If you’re willing to expand your time horizon for getting those things, your change just might be able to get them for you.
What’s that you say? You use debit cards most often for your daily purchases? Not a problem. What I’m going to suggest for you heavy debit card users will take a bit more will power but it works just as well. First off, if you have an account with a commercial bank that offers online banking, set up a username and password online so that you can begin using the online services offered. Second, you’ll want to go ahead and set up a savings account (or second savings account) strictly for your change. What you’ll do everyday from that point forward is direct the change you would have gotten, had you made the purchase in cash, from your checking account into your new savings account (given that your bank allows you to make unlimited transfers from your checking account, which is most often the case). For example, if I take the railroad to work, the price for a train ticket is $5.75, meaning that when I get home I will transfer $.25 into my savings account for that transaction. At the end of the day, simply add up the change from all of your transactions and make one larger transfer into savings. You might want to implement your own parameters for this method such as only transferring change of $.50 or less per transaction (so if something costs $4.25, you won’t transfer the $.75) but that’s ultimately all up to you; the important thing is that you just get started.
I believe that, once upon a time, Apple bank (which is no longer around) made this process easy for you by actually allowing it to be done automatically; so all you had to do was spend money! The rest was taken care of for you. It might be worth it for some of you to do a little research and track down another bank who offers a service like this, or you can simply ask your own bank if you can set up such a recurring transaction.
So to all of you aspiring change savers out there, I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor; you’ll thank yourself in the end.