Do you keep a change jar? Maybe you should.

My dad once gave me an old wine jug with a bunch of pennies.

I kept it and kept it for years. I never really added to it, and I used to think it looked rather kitschy in my college dorm room. But one day, a couple years ago, I decided I’d rather have cash than a humongous paperweight. So I cashed in those suckers at the coin machine at my local QFC. I think I ended up with about $40. I decided from there on out the jug would better serve its purpose as a loose change collector.

So I moved it into the pantry where it was easily accessible. Whenever my husband I and receive change, in it goes. I periodically clean change that ends up on tables, the sofa area, and inside drawers. Plunk, plunk, plunk.

Well, as some of you know, I’m headed to New York City in August to attend BlogHer 2010. It will be my first time in the Big Apple and also my first blogging convention. I’m working hard to pay upfront for this trip in full, so I decided it was time to empty about a year’s worth of change from my wine jug.

Guess how much was in there? $87! I was pretty amazed. While $87 might not sound like an extraordinary amount of money, it sure seems like a nice little sum to have accumulated in the back of my pantry with virtually no effort!

Do you have a change jar? How about any other great little tips or tricks for saving money?Photo credit Julie Freeman-Woolpert


  1. Cally says

    OH HECK YEAH!! Way to go! Have fun in New York (In August)! Maybe instead of getting snacks at a vending machine I should do the same LOL!

  2. says

    This made me laugh because we just turned ours in too! My husband took the kids and off they went. We had $76!!

    Just goes to show that the little things do add up :)

  3. arussell says

    I honestly am not the best at setting money aside. I think you have to come up with ways – such as this – that make it easy and no-thought required!

  4. Roni says

    My husband only uses cash when he spends money, all the loose change is placed in a change jar. He will cash it in whenever it gets full and place it in a savings account. Over the years we have accumulated well over $2,000.00!

  5. Keri says

    I’m not good at setting money aside either! But, we do use cash only, and that helps a lot. My Mom actually recommended that I set aside some of the cash at the beginning of the month as an extra savings. I just need to find a place to “hide it” from myself.

  6. Stacey says

    I have a small jelly jar that I keep in my kitchen, I empty and cash in every 4 – 6 weeks, when it is full. I always have between $30 and $50! It is great. We use this money usually for a treat for the family, out for dinner , drive in movie or ice cream. Kind of our rainy day fund.

  7. Patricia says

    For years whenever I used coupons I wrote the check for the amount prior to the coupons so that I’d get the coupon money back in change. I put this in a dedicated savings account along with can refunds and rebates and saved hundreds of dollars each year. Now that I use my ATM card for groceries I don’t do this but still save my can refunds and rebates in a separate account. We use this account for vacations.

  8. Nicole says

    We just turned ours in also! I cashed in $70. We ran low on our montly budget this month due to some unexpected expenses, so this really helped. I was saving for a kitchen aid mixer, but my wonderful husband and kids already got me one for Mother’s Day.

  9. Sara says

    I had a large one sitting on the back of my dresser. I say HAD because my kids tried to use it as an anchor while building a fort, and it ended badly for the coin jar. I scooped up the coins and to my surprise filled 2 pint jars (looked like a lot less coins in the oversized glass container). I have yet to cash them in- my goal was to fill up the large jar first. No idea how much I have, but now I am curious to find out.

  10. Jamie says

    A number of years ago I picked up a ceramic jar labeled “vacation money”. It sits on the dresser in my room and anytime I clean out or change purses I drop the change I’ve collected into it. I cash it in every couple of months and it almost always nets between $30-50. A few times, when I’ve had a big trip planned, I will not only drop change in there but loose money I’ve found lying around. $1 here or $5 there and I don’t even miss it in my day to day but when I go to cash it in it turns $30 into $80 or $100! Another tip is that instead of taking it to Coinstar and paying the fee I take it to my credit union. They have a coin sorting machine there, it’s free for members and I can put the money directly into my account!

  11. libby says

    Has anyone in the western states used one of those change sorter machines over @ Fred Meyer?

    Evidently they charge a small fee, but I guess the convenience of it is worthwhile because at my local Freddies, there always seems to be someone dumping mass amounts of change into the machine. :-O

    I haven’t tried it yet… but when I go over there today I’m going to check the details of it out and see if it’s worth it. I have gallon size ziplocks full of dimes, nickles, and quarters and a jar too heavy to lift of pennies.. I do have one of those plastic change roller devices at home that I bought from my neighbor at their garage sale, but it is incredibly time consuming loading the paper roller situated and getting the coins down the shoot just right.

    If I wind up using the machine @ Freddies, I’ll let you know if it was worth it or not. 😀

  12. libby says

    Wow. Just after I sent that, I noticed that Jamie said her credit union has a free coin sorter machine! :-O (That’ll teach me to read all the comments before I post again) 😉

    Anyway.. I think I’ll call my credit union and see if any of their branches have one before I go to Freds! 😀

  13. says

    We’ve been doing it for years. If you make a rule to put all your change in it each day, it adds up to quite a nice sum each year. We usually end up with three or four hundred dollars in coins. No fun to sort and count, but it’s “free” money.

  14. Jack Vermicelli says

    Or you just just put those few coins back in your pocket each day, and spend them like normal people. You have the same amount of money either way, so why go for the path of least efficiency? Instead of having $100 in coins that you could’ve been using (and keeping them in circulation, which is nice for retailers and banks), you could just put aside (either physically or mentally) a $100 bill. Certainly takes less space.


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