I once read about a family that was moving into a house that had been uninhabited for a while. They bought the house cheap and were cleaning it out, rehabbing it, so that they could move in. Amongst all of the things they cleaned out were a few shoe boxes stuffed in the back of a hall closet. Upon opening the boxes they found that the boxes were full of money! Someone had been saving (and hiding) money for many years! I can’t remember the exact amount they found but it was in the thousands.
Now, I can’t promise that you will find thousands of dollars hidden somewhere in your house. What I CAN promise you is an extra few hundred dollars at the end of the year.
A few years ago I kept seeing the “Five Dollar Challenge” ALL over Pinterest! The concept is that you never break a $5 bill. Instead, you put it in a little jar and save it. Five bucks adds up quick! I tried this for a few weeks but here’s the problem I had: I would run into the store to buy something I needed. Give the nice lady at the register a $20 and what does she give me? Three $5 bills. So, was I really going to put THREE 5’s into my little jar at home? Nope. If I did, that means I would be out the rest of my “spending money” until next paycheck. So I adapted this plan to fit my life and budget!
This will work great for those of you who are on a cash budget like me!
I started by just simply throwing all the change in my wallet in a jar like this one at the end of the day. A simple habit to start right? Then I decided to try and not spend ANY change at all.
Here’s how it works:
Your soda at the gas station is $1.20 and you know you have two dimes in your wallet…don’t do it! Give them $2 and get $0.80 back. At the end of the day that change goes into the jar. It’s literally the first thing I do when I get home! All my change goes straight to my big jar!
The biggest contributor to my jar is tolls. I go through at least two tolls on my way to work. Each toll is 70 cents. So, I give them $1 and I get 30 cents back for each toll. At the end of the year that’s $150 in change just from tolls. For me, it’s worth waiting two extra minutes in the “full service” toll lane.
Your budget or biggest contributor might be different than mine. Maybe you don’t go through tolls but you eat out a lot. No more exact change! Give bills and get coins back…put those babies in your jar!
To me, this is like a little secret jar that just keeps getting heavier and heavier! I love this because I don’t think about it. I just keep putting change in and move on with my day. It has become so routine for me! It’s such a nice “surprise” when you count it all up and it’s amazing how quickly change adds up!
I have done this for a few years but last year (staring in early March) was the first year that I was committed to doing this fully. I did’t use ANY change throughout the year (minus a few quarters here and there because who can say no to my nieces wanting some candy from the candy machine!). In early November I rolled all the change that I had in my big jar and it came out to $285! Not bad for ten months of collecting change, right? That may not seem like a lot to some of you, but to me it was just enough to buy all of my Christmas gifts for my family. Can I get a yes and amen?
This has now become like a game to me! I love when I see my total at the register and it says 1 cent at the end! Ninety-nine cents for my jar, YES!!! Throw the change from that day in my jar and don’t think about it again. I once had a cashier get a penny out of the tip jar so I didn’t have to get 99 cents back. I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy when I said, “NO!! It’s okay, I’ll just get the change.” Like I said, it’s become a little game now! I’m determined to fill that jar up to the brim!
This is just such a simple way to save a little extra every year. And fun too! I love seeing my jar fill up! It’s like a little secret savings account!
Try it out and let me know how this works for you!