Ways to Save Money #1: Save Your Coins
A short time ago, I wrote a review of an eBook called “Save to Quit“. Along with the book, you get another eBook titled “500 Ways to Save Money” that gives general saving ideas as well as ideas across a number of categories. I’ll be writing a series highlighting the money-saving ideas, one at a time. Note that I don’t get any referral income for these articles. Check out the rest of the Ways to Save Money Series here.
Just recently, I asked why anyone would pick up discarded pennies. For me, I just don’t see the value in picking up loose change unless it’s silver in color. Even then, I’ll think twice about grabbing a nickel off a dirty street or diner floor. I know, I know, every coin probably passes through the intestinal tract of some wild animal at some point in time, but it’s just the idea of picking up something I can see is dirty that gives me the creeps.
But the first way to save in this series is saving all your coins in some container. For us, even though we don’t spend much cash, we do keep all our change in either a small can, or in our swear jar (if I’m bad). We then use that change for tolls (but we now use an E-ZPass)
For our debit card purchases, we’re enrolled in Bank of America’s Keep the Change program (not an affiliate link). Basically, with the program, when you swipe your debt card for a purchase of $4.01, BoA charges you $5 and places the 99 cents in change into your savings account automatically. You still see the charge of $4.01 in your account, but all the rounding and transferring is done behind the scenes for you.
Also, if you sign up with the program, you’ll get a 100% match for the first 3 months. After that, it’s a 5% match per year. However, you have to wait a full year to get your match in a lump sum, and you’ll have to pay taxes on it as “interest income”, but hey, it’s “free money” if you think about it that way. I think we got about $50 match for the first year.
And of course, you can put all that dirty, nasty change you found in the men’s urinal into your change jar, and then take it into many banks that may or may not charge you a fee to convert it into dollar bills. Personally, I just use Coinstar because it’s very convenient. I’ll pay the fee once per year when we cash in the coins.
So even in this digital age where coins are slowly becoming irrelevant, we still have methods of saving our “change” and even earning a little bit more while we’re at it. And if you participate in the cash economy, then please don’t throw away your coins! Keep them in a jar, or at least give them to me! (but wash them first please. I don’t know where your hands have been).
See the rest of the Ways to Save Money Series here.
Most banks have their own version of coinstar that does not charge you any money and puts the amount into your savings account or checking account. I know that my bank does
Frugal Dad says
We use a Coinstar at our grocery store to convert monthly coins into cash to use towards our grocery bill. I should probably investigate taking these by the bank instead, as the fee is eating away at my savings, slowly. It is just so convenient!
Mrs. Micah says
I put them on SmarTrip. Except the pennies. Not sure what I’m going to do with them yet…
So, with 100% match for the first 3 months, could I constantly charge my debit card 1.01, from say paypal, having 99 cents put into my savings from my own account, while BoA also matches the 100%?
If I did that hundreds or thousands of times, that could be an easy way to make a bunch of money!
Clever Dude says
Mrs Micah, I didn’t even think of using them for SmartTrip. Thanks for that idea!
Clever Dude says
Shawn, yes you can and that’s exactly how people game the system. Actually, I’ve read of people charging $1.01 of gas, ending the transaction and then starting a new one until their tank is full. For a 20 gallon tank at $3 per gallon, that’s what, like $55-60 match? Oh, and a lot of hatred from the store owner for the per-transaction charges and all the people waiting for you in line.
Did you know that CoinStar won’t charge you any fees if you get the payout in the form of a gift card? It’s a simple way to avoid the fees, especially if you are just going to spend that money somewhere else.
I love this idea! I do a lot of charging to my eftpos card and I am sure this would help contribute to my savings throughout the year. Now to find out whether any Australian bank does the same thing….
Also, I suggest that besides coinage, whenever you break a twenty for something, try to put the left over notes into a tin as well. It makes for a great christmas fund.
Every couple of months, I’ll empty out our piggy bank, go to Commerce Bank, turn it into cash and then deposit into our savings. Only bad thing is I only have times on Saturday to do this and it seems like everyone else is changing their change at Commerce too.
I don’t mind picking up pennies or any other coins. They add up. Almost everywhere I go I find a penny, sometimes a few in the same area. A dime or quarter once in a while is another find. We save all the change we get. We roll the coins ourselves and once a year take them to the bank to either deposit or cash in. There are times where I won’t pick up the coins but they are few and far between.
Nice post. Sometimes when people think they need to save money they think large amounts. If they can just get in the habit of saving loose change or maybe a dollar a day it can start them towards financial independence. Starting small is a way to develop a large habit of saving money.
picking up all change is a good idea even if its dirty..i would like to add that every fast food place you have ever eaten has food that has been handled by kids who never wash there hands so you might want to think of that the next time you pass up that dime because its in a little mud..i never pass up change on the ground it goes in a jar that i use for yard sale money every summer.
Ways to Save Money says
A few years ago we had a large number of rooms of tolls, so I started to separate the parts and put the containers in 35 films. Now it has become a practice to save hundreds of dollars each year in this way.
The coupon is the one way to save money. I don’t think that saving money is the better option. Why should we cut down .If you do that you become frugal. What i think is that instead of saving money you should start earn extra money and do less expense. This is one of the better way. I am a musician i spend a lot in instruments. So from last year i started taking guitar class so that i can earn more. I earn $800 to $100. p/m ,so it’s better to earn more and less expense
I just found your blog, looks awesome. This is a great tip – every time I break a bill I keep the coins. I personally would rather use my time than a coinstar to count the change – it really doesn’t take long to roll up change. I started this and within a few months had over a hundred dollars (it took me 20 minutes max to roll it – plus no driving to the closest Coinstar!)