One of the biggest obstacles that people see to going after what they want is lack of money. Whether it’s something fun like a trip, a product like an iPad or something else, “I don’t have the money” is one of the things I hear most often. One of the tricks I use to overcome this obstacle is saving my change. I take at least one trip a year where most, if not all of it, is paid for by saving my change.
Let’s face it; we aren’t emotionally attached to change like we are with bills. Saving a set amount of money a week or programs like save every $5 bill that comes into your possession are hard for me to do. I have so many other things I “need” to spend that money on that it’s hard to part with it. And when I do manage, I wind up “borrowing” it and never pay it back.
But change is a different story. I like the satisfying “chink”, “chink”, “chink” as it drops into the bowl. I’m relieved to empty the weight out of my pockets and my purse. And I rarely borrow it back. Frankly $5, even in quarters, is heavier than I want to carry around. If I happen to have a dollar or two in my pocket when I drop my change into the bowl at the end of the night I may add that in there too, but I always bury it under the change so I can’t see it. In this case, out of sight is truly out of mind.
I’m sure you’re probably thinking that it would take forever for your spare change to amount to anything. Here’s the secret. Never use change to pay for anything, only use bills. For example, if you buy something that costs $4.01, don’t give them the penny so that you get bills back. Give them whole bills so you get change. You just picked up 99 cents for your savings. At the end of the day, you don’t really notice the difference in your wallet, but you will notice it in your savings jar. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up.
Pick your savings jar with care. Think about what motivates you. I like the big clear jar because I can see the change adding up quickly which makes me want to keep adding to it. It’s also immensely satisfying when the jar is filled to the top. My boyfriend wasn’t much of a believer when I told him we were going to do this, but after we filled the jar and it paid for our last vacation, he’s hooked.
Make sure that you put your jar in a place that ‘s convenient to drop your change into but not in place where everyone is always going to be looking at it and tempted to dip into it.
I think the key to saving is to make it as painless as possible and to have a goal. When you get to use the money for something you really wanted it’s doubly rewarding. We put a sticky note at the bottom of the empty savings jar with the date so we know how long it took us to save for that particular thing. It’s never as long as we thought.
Do you have any tips for saving?