The Coin Jar: Practical Tips For Saving Money A Little Bit At A Time

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[W]ho can forget the principles taught to us through our childhood piggy-banks!?! At one point in our lives pennies mattered and loose change was something to be valued. Sadly, many people — once they reach adulthood — think that saving change is a waste of time. Yet sometimes we forget that pennies turn into dollars and dollars into hundreds of dollars and so on. Saving change is a wonderful way to make a little extra cash!

Today we’re bring it back…the coin jar!

The coin jar is a great way to save money and you may be surprised at how quickly it all adds up. It does, however, require a bit of discipline in that you must make it a point to not spend it :)

The Coin Jar

Grab yourself a large cup or glass mason jar. Begin each evening placing your family’s loose change from the day into the jar. You don’t have to limit it to coins, I like to throw in dollar bills if there are any.

Whenever the coin jar is full, we sit down on the living room floor, dump out the contents of the jar, and start sorting (Note: Our bank gives us the supplies we need to roll the coins, all we did was ask.).

The rolled coins are then taken to the bank where they are deposited into a savings account. Our change often goes to pay for those extra items that we’re not able to budget for such as:

  • a night out complete with babysitter and all 
  • a new computer
  • summer camping trips
  • beach vacations
  • further debt reduction (the favorite right now in our home)
  • new running shoes
  • a water purification system

Our Motivation

If you’re like me, and the idea of a vision board really speaks to you, use it! Keep your coin jar beside your vision board or better yet…tape a picture of what you’re saving for right on the side of the jar and refer to it often — keep it in a high-traffic area in your home.

Whatever you do, work hard to keep your financial goals in front of you.

Pennies really do turn into dollars. I hear all the time from people who say that they have a hard time saving money because they live paycheck to paycheck. We all have to start somewhere. Even starting by putting back $5 or $10 a month can add up and give us the confidence — or discipline — we need to continue on.

Let’s say that by saving our loose change, or perhaps a dollar a day, we were able to collect $30 per month. In six months we’d have $180 and over the course of a year that amount would equal $360. Now imagine that it were to continue…five years looks like $1800, in ten years there’d be $3600 and in thirty years we could have saved $10,800. That amount compounded with interest could be quite a bit more.

Not to bad for saving pennies!

There are countless ways to save loose change and dollar bills. Get creative with it — have fun, make it a challenge, get the whole family involved — and experience the rewards of saving.

Do you have a coin jar? What creative avenues do you use to save money each month?

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Comments

  1. We save our coins all winter. Come summer, the nickels and pennies get turned into savings. The dimes and quarters are perfect for yard sales . . . it’s nice to have a pocketful of change when I’m eyeing that pair of school pants or cute skirt. In fact, my coin jar is the bulk of my clothing budget, not to mention a hefty portion of the Christmas gift budget.

  2. I never put coins in my purse, so I get lots of coins when grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, etc. i save all that change and that is what we spend for Christmas presents & dinner & holday cookie baking.

  3. yes! we have had a coin jar as long as we’ve been married (20 years). the ultimate use of the $$ in it has changed over the course of our marriage – – a night out including a baby-sitter, downpayment on braces, etc. just a few weeks ago i cashed it in because it was full. it held $140. that money has been put aside to fund our parasailing adventure when we take a vacation next month. every penny helps!

  4. I am using the “coin bank” for my 60th birthday celebration … … take a trip on Cunard ship Queen Victoria. This birthday is four years away, so I should have a wonderful stash of coins for my trip

  5. I not only save the coins, but I sell my eggs and save my egg money and even though we live paycheck to paycheck, I take HALF of what is left in the checking account each time we get paid…even if it is only $20 left and put that is savings too. That is what really helped last month when I needed new tires on my van!

    • I started a small home biz to earn a extra few hundred dollars a month and over time it grew to replace my full time job. There are many extra ways to increase savings. havebetterhealth.com

  6. All our coins go into Annie’s piggy bank for her college fund. lol

  7. I took the almost $75 I saved last year(pennies, nickels, and dimes) and stuck it in savings to go towards our emergency fund

    For the kids, I opened them savings accounts back in October and put at least $10 each(3 of them) in their a month(winter is iffy on work for hubby). The oldest has stashed most of her babysitting money in there also so she’s almost up to $200 already

  8. We have one as well. I rolled it all up right after Christmas and we applied the nearly $100 toward our first vacation in years. :) $100 won’t buy a lot of gas these days, but it helps.

  9. We try to only use CASH…not a debit card for most purchases. Recently, a friend told me to never spend a $5 bill You can spend the rest, but not the fives. They go in an envelope. This has worked tremendously and those bills add up very quickly. We have only been doing this a short while and have $110 saved. If you are living pretty close to the line, this might not work, but there are just the two of us and I am amazed at how well it is going. We also have the penny jar and have done that all our marriage.

    • this year my daughter and i stashed 5s and 1s from breaking 20s at stores and saved 500 in 2 months we went on vacation with it as spend money….
      this year i have a method to my madness in teaching her the different coins so theyre all in separate jars and have meanings like a house, disney trip and college for my three year old. in 17 years im hoping to have a stash. ill cash my coins at the end of the year into different accounts

    • I save $5 bills too. It adds up so quickly!!!

  10. Our family saves our change all year. At Christmas, we match whatever we’ve saved in the jars and use that money to give to someone in need. We started this three years ago and it has been a blessing. Sometimes the money has gone to one family and other times we’ve split the money between families. I will say with the economic times we’ve hit, we didn’t have as many coins this year. However, God has always used what we have in a mighty way. The kids enjoy seeing the change “grow” and guessing how much is in the jars towards Christmas.

  11. Funny, I just put all the change on my dresser in to a pile thinking I would get a piggy bank for it. Very timely piece.

  12. My husband and I are always looking for loose change on the ground. Yesterday we found a dime and said started talking about taking all our loose change and money from the kids’ (3yr and 17mo) piggy banks to put towards buying our 1st house! We just went looking at houses over the weekend and think we found the right house for us!

  13. We are using cash for grocery shopping currently. I put our loose change into our grocery money jar. Since my husband’s business is really busy in the summer and very slow in the winter the change has come in handy for a gallon of milk here or some other grocery need during his slow season.

  14. We have a coin jar too! Not only do we put loose change from our wallets in there, but I also pick up coins I find on the ground. I’m amazed at how often I find coins just laying on the ground! About a week ago I took our coin jar in to one of those coin machines and got $18, and that was not counting quarters, which we save for getting drinking water and washing the car.

  15. Fourteen years ago when our first grandson was born, I found a glass syrup jar and stared filling it with dimes (that’s all that would fit in the tiny hole in the top). By the time he turned 10, there were 5 more grandchildren, the jar was very heavy and nearly full, and the kids had nicknamed the jar “Aunt Dime-ma”. He received the contents of the jar, and a bag of dime wrappers for his 10th birthday ($120!!!). It’s the tradition now in our family–you turn 10 and receive the dimes. So far, there have been 3 10 year olds — and one more grandbaby (seven in all, now). The little ones are worried about 2016–there will be a 10th birthday in February and another in June. They’re all worried that the June birthday girl won’t have her fair share—and I’ve heard them talking about how they could help out. (Don’t worry, I have a plan, too.) It’s been a great way to save, a wonderful tradition to start, and it’s amazing how many dimes a little glass jar can hold.

  16. We have a coin jar, or I should say bank. It looks like a parking meter, is about 3 feet tall, with a clear tube to see the change. It sits near our closet in our bedroom where we see it every day. We call it our vacation fund, because we empty it once a year to use for vacation. I also have a candy machine, like the ones that hold gum or things like that. I put the key in a safe place and fill the machine with something we like (M&M’s are a big seller in our home). It helps us save money and also cuts down on my candy intake, a win win! I have used the quaters from this machine for all sorts of things. It is amazing how much you can save with a bag of candy, and it is really fun too!

  17. We have several change jars in the house. Our toddler loves to sort them and put them in their appropriate jars. She has a piggy bank for dimes and a frog bank for nickles in her room; the pennies get dropped into a glass jug that acts as a door stop; and the quarters get put into mama’s summertime yard-sale jar. Also, any change I find in the laundry gets put into a piggy bank that sits on the shelf above the washer/dryer. :-) I’ve always been a see-a-penny-pick-it-up girl and my husband always used to make fun of me. “You’ll get ebola from picking up the wrong penny one of these days,” he always teased… until one day I caught HIM picking one up off the ground! ;-)

  18. We did this the past weekend. Except it was for gas & groceries. We actually had $75.50 in our change jar. We were thrilled. Our kids thought it was so much fun. I was so thankful that we had it, but saddened that at the ripe old ages of 43 & 46, we were robbing our piggy bank to survive. But it was all we needed…..not wanted but needed, and that is a blessing when others don’t have what they need sometimes.

  19. We have one of those old glass 5 gal water bottles that we employed as a change fund container recently. Since we have a Grandfamily (3 generations under 1 roof), we had 4 adults contributing the 2 months before we went to Disney (on tax refunds, Woot! Gotta love an outside of budget, once in a lifetime, family vacation). In that short time we accrued more than $200 which we turned into spending money for the 3 kids. They each got an envelope of cash to spend each day at a park. What they didn’t spend rolled into the next day. The kids were able to decide how to spend their money, to pick up a souvenir (or not as the case was some days), it didn’t impact our tight budget, and there was no begging for items – all of which were important parts of a successful, happy vacation (that stayed within the budget!).

    I also opened a bank account when each child was born. All their birthing day, birthday, Christmas, etc… money went in. When each one turns 5 they are allowed to keep any cash they receive to spend as they want as the gift that it’s intended to be but all checks go in the bank. They’ve all accrued several hundred dollars which I was surprised & pleased to see.

    I’m loving the idea of employing the Change Fund for alternate energy or sustainability items. And nice that we’ve got a head start since we started filling again as soon as we emptied it. ;)

  20. I was just thinking the other day that I need to restart the change jar (or in my case, box). In the past I’ve used it for all sorts of things, but I’ve been considering starting to travel again and that was always a great way to put the money aside. Now I just have to get used to using cash again. :)

    • I save my change, mostly (;o) and I never spend $1 bills. At the beginning of each week, I take $150 out of my bank for food, gas, and incidentals. I save the dollar bills in a box on my dresser; when I get $25, they go into savings.
      Every year, I send my son to a week long out of state sleep away camp with that $1 stash. That’s roughly $450 a year, not including travel expenses, and the stash covers some of that, too. The saved change usually covers the gas up there.

  21. I have a coin mug (huge mug) on my shelf beside the washer and dryer. I haven’t put much
    thought into it but this blog post has inspired me!! In Canada to save for retirement we do RRSPs – I always WANT to start putting some $$$ in my RRSP but, having a very young family, we never have the extra income laying around. Since I’m turning 30 in a few weeks I would like to commit to actually putting money towards this this year! So, even though my change mug won’t produce tons of money, using it towards my rrsp’s will be an easy way to start on my goal!

  22. Gorgardengirl says:

    My husband’s grandma had 27 grand kids, when she learned that a new great grandchild was on the way she started a coin jar for each child. When they were born, the parents were to take the money and open the child’s first savings account. :). Sometimes there were 3-4 jars going at a time. It was a great tradition to set the stage for saving.

  23. Last year I had to save up for a March break trip to Florida with a couple of my girl friends. I am usually terrible at saving money, so I had to think of something, otherwise I would have never had enough to go. What I ended up doing was going down to the local dollar store and searching for something that I would not be able to get into until I needed to count my money. I found a piggy bank with no way to get it open but to actually destroy it and never use it again, it was fantastic! I was able to just drop in money that I had left over in my pocket from the day, sometimes even a 20 dollar bill found it’s way in there. Yes, it was hard knowing that I had all of that money and wasn’t able to spend it, but it was worth it! I will be doing that again! I think that having a coin jar is a wonderful idea, because all those pennies really do add up! Great post!

  24. We have a family change jar where I’ve been collecting money for a puppy. Any change I find while I’m out or any change in my wallet beyond the standard 4 emergency quarters goes into the jar. My 5 kids have their own piggy banks. If they find change, it goes in the banks, along with the $5 bills that their paternal grandmother sends them for different holidays. My dh also empties his pockets into the piggy banks.

  25. I’ve been saving our change and every 1 dollar bill that we come in contact with. Just started but I plan on rolling the coins and putting them into our savings account. I also plan on putting the dollar bills in the savings account as well.

    • We take and use 5 gallon water jugs and we put all the silver in one, all the pennies in another, and all the bills, 5’s and 1’s in the third one and we have been saving like that for a long time. It works if you JUST DO IT and forget it ! When my husband comes home from work or we have been out somewhere, we take all the money in our pockets and put it in the jugs.

  26. Absolutely a great idea because It really adds up quickly everyone should try it sometime. For me I boost my savings once a year or when necessary I do that as well

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