Is Pocket Change Worth Saving – How Much Are You Throwing Away

Do you save your pocket change, or to spend it?  Sounds like a pretty legitimate question to ask, but have you ever really considered what you are doing with your pocket change?

The other week I was emptying my pockets and like usual I put a handful of change in a jar up on my dresser and the thought crossed my mind how much of change am I throwing away on frivolous expenses.

Whether it’s a cup of coffee or a soda pop, a handful of change does not look like a lot of money, in fact countries like Canada have even stopped making pennies altogether because of production cost.  So I challenged myself to see how much change I typical end up with in a weeks time.

How Much Change Am I Wasting

After a few weeks of watching how much change I put in my change jar I concluded that I actually put between $3 to $4 a week in my change jar on a consistent basis.  That means in an average months time I’ll put around $13 to  $18 of change in my jar, and in a years time that adds up to $156 to $216 I just throw away and spend frivolous junk.

Now a couple hundred bucks still may not sound like much but I could think of a million things it could do for me right now like pay down credit card debt, or help build up my emergency fund but yet this money seems to keep falling through the cracks of our finances.

So what can we do to fix this issue?

What I’m Doing With My Change

penny jarOne thing I’ve been doing for the last 6 or 7 years is that I’ve started a penny jar, and any time I have any pennies in my change or find one just laying on the ground I will put them in my penny jar.  To the left is a picture of my penny jar and what was amazing about this is that I was able to fill it in 5 years and when I cashed it in I had over $80 in it.   That means I would have been throwing away around $16 a year in just pennies alone.

What’s worst is people don’t value pennies like they use to and I feel this is all the more reason to pick them up when you see one just laying around.  However when it comes to nickels, dimes, and quarters those are the coins I feel tend to get abused the most and wasted on stuff we really don’t need to spend it on.

The answer to this is simple.  Determine what you really want spend the money on and save it for that purpose.  With a purpose behind saving the money I feel their is a much better chance it will be used for the right reasons and not on junk. Below is a list of great ideas I’ve seen people use their spare change with over the years.

  • Vacation. On great idea I saw was a family member who used their spare change to go vacation every year.  In fact they would purposely break a dollar when they would buy something so the rest of the change could go towards their annual vacation.  The great thing I like about this idea is that it can always seem like a pain to save money for a vacation and this can be one of  the easiest ways to do it.
  • College Fund. Another idea I’ve seen people do with their spare change is put it towards their kids college funding.  This way they’ll have some money to go towards books and tuition fees.
  • Reward Yourself.  Finally, another great idea you could do with your spare change is save it for some sort of reward.  For example, once you get all of your credit card debt paid off you could use all the spare change you saved up over the years to go on a cruise or buy that something you’ve always wanted and what’s great you won’t have to rack up the credit card debt again either.

Is Pocket Change Worth Saving

When it comes down to it your spare change could be used for a lot of other great purposes.  The point is to figure out what that purpose is and start saving it.  I plan to start saving my change more purposefully and designating a reward I can look forward to with it.

What Are You Doing With Your Pocket Change?

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20 Comments

  1. Great ideas in this post!

    We have huge amounts of spare change. So much, in fact, that everyone in the office is bringing in their coppers and pennies for a parking-fine pool. Car parking is in short supply in the city we work in (Kuala Lumpur), so ticketing is an almost weekly occurrence.

  2. Good point Holly, if your someone who uses debit or credit cards to buy stuff then you will typically have less change if any.

  3. We’ve saved our change for several years now and cash it in once a year. It usually nets us a few hundred dollars and we use it as extra spending money on vacation.

  4. That’s awesome John. I know a few people who do the same thing when it comes to their change as well. Vacations can be hard to save for especially when you don’t have all the extra money and this can be a great way to make it all work.

  5. HAHA Michelle, I think that’s one thing that has changed over the years is that a lot of people have switched over to using credit cards and debit cards more than cash, which makes a lot of sense because anytime I go out to eat or to the store we either use check or credit card if we have to. However I think what makes the difference for me is that I take out $50 a week for spending cash.

  6. Same as Holly, I almost never use cash, and now even less since we shop once a week, so all change goes back to the next shop!

  7. Wow, this has been a little bit of an eye opener for me Pauline. I didn’t realize how many people used credit and debit versus cash. I guess I must old fashion yet, LOL! Thanks for stopping by Pauline I really appreciate it.

  8. Great post, Chris! We purposely will break dollar bills too to get change for our change jar. Usually the change goes towards extra debt. Every little bit of change really does add up, whether it’s spending it or saving it. In fact, the reason we’re in debt like we are now is because we nickel and dimed our way there, on stupid stuff, so now we’re using the same process, only in reverse, LOL. 🙂

  9. Lol that reminds me of a couple of years back when I was at this real estate conference. Walking to one of the seminars, some guy beside stooped down and picked up a penny, and then said “well, I guess that’s one step closer towards being a billionaire”. I gotta steal that line.

  10. That’s awesome Laurie. I love your analogy on how you are vnickel and diming your way out of debt. You wouldn’t think a little bit of change would make that big of a difference but it really does.

  11. That’s great Troy every penny helps. I found 2 pennies on the ground just the other day and picked them up, I might not become a billionaire doing it but it can’t hurt.

  12. My change goes into an old box in my dresser, and I use it for extra Christmas gifts. There’s usually only about $50, but at Christmas every little bit can help!

  13. I hear ya their MMD. We set up a Christmas Fund to save for gifts and presents during the holiday season but it never seems to be enough. Having that little bit extra can really help out during that time of year.

  14. Great Ideas Chris, I save pocket change for Christmas presents. I also use all the credit card rewards I have accumulated over the year to get my wife something nice for Christmas. Last year I was able to get her a new camera for Christmas (through rewards) and it didn’t cost me a dime, though she thinks it did 😉

  15. My parents do the exact same thing and have been able to get some pretty nice stuff over the years. Thanks for stopping by Jim.

  16. I’ve been stocking up change but it doesn’t last long. They come in handy when I pay in cash and the cashier would ask for them. Or when they’ve reached more than $5, I spend them. Wouldn’t want to waste those.

  17. That’s a great way to handle your change KC. I don’t track my spare change nearly that good.

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