You Can Save Money Faster by Turbocharging Your Change Jar

Loose change can really add up. But what about loose bills? Here’s an easy way to save money without even thinking about it.

About a month ago, I wrote about a recent supermarket misadventure where I had the misfortune of getting behind a nice lady who paid for her groceries with a giant bag of quarters.

I used that little episode to talk about about the benefits of Coinstar and why I have no problem paying their 9.8-percent fee. Needless to say, I was more than just a bit surprised when I got beat up by a lot of you out there for expressing such an opinion. In fact, most of you who cared enough to leave a comment thought that was the dumbest idea since Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta’s boneheaded decision to reformulate the world’s most popular soft drink.

OK, you got me – actually, most of you thought it was dumber. And that’s why, dear readers, today I’m going to attempt to get back in your good graces, at least with respect to the world of loose change.

Change jars are a fairly popular way for folks to save money. You know the drill: When you come home, you’re supposed to empty your pockets or change purse and then put the spare coins in the jar. Of course, a big drawback of this savings method is that it usually takes an excruciatingly…long…time…before…you…see…significant…results. Luckily, there is a solution for this.

If you want to turbocharge your change jar savings rate, when you are out during the day, don’t spend any dollar bills you get as change. Then, after you come home and are ready to make contributions to your jar, be sure to include all of those unspent dollar bills along with your coins – and if you have no singles, then pull out a fiver and drop it in the jar.

By using this turbocharged method, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how much quicker your savings will grow. And if you’re not, well, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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  • same idea but I use smarty pig to set up a variety of small savings accounts. automatically deduct $20 or so from my paychecks so I don’t feel it every 2 weeks and before I know it a decent amount has accumalated!

  • One small problem, If I see a $5 bill in the jar and I’m in need of late night pizza, that jar is going to be hijacked!!!

  • I do this every night.  I love Queen’s comment about seeing the fiver and grabbing it for a late night pizza run!  I would do the same thing.  So for Christmas last year, my sister bought me a rather large Piggy Bank.  Ceramic, painted, can’t see inside it.  She made the initial deposit, with some spare change and a couple of bills (I don’t know what the denominations were).  I’ve kept it going by depositing spare change into it from my purse or pockets every night, and every couple of days a single or five dollar bill go in there as well.  I’ve lost track at this point of what I’ve put into it, so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised when I actually have it filled, and I get to see what I’ve managed to save!

  • Anonymous

    I’m doing what Maria Dean Curran is doing only I’m having $150.00 directly deposited from my payroll check each month. The other thing I’m doing is having the money deposited into an account that is not easy to access the Credit Union I use closes at 5:00pm M-F, I get off at 4:30, it’s about a 25 minute ride to get there not to mention I have to find parking and they’re not open on Saturdays.  The plan is to use the money to go to an all inclusive resort in Mexico next year.  I’ll be able to pay for the entire trip by my departure date Sept 2012.  Margarita Por Favor!

  • Anonymous

    Here in Canada we have $1 and $2 coins, and yes, it adds up quickly.  We have been doing this for a while and we even have a dedicated savings account.  Then, when we take a vacation, most of our spending money is already there in the account.  It works great!

  • Anonymous

    This works well!  We have done this for several years.  We take the rolled coins and deposit them each month into a dedicated savings account, and when we go on vacation, we convert the amount we need into travellers cheques, and this way going on vacation does not wreck our budget.

  • This is a great bit on how to save those extra bucks.
    Another tip:  Stop leaving change in your desk at work. So many times at work I have bought chips,soda, etc. because I was “just spending change”. Now I save a little over $20 a month just from doing that. My pockets and my waistline appreciate carrying a little less change.

  • Anonymous

    For the past few years, I have been saving whatever change I have left.  In November of every year, I take my coin jar to my bank and use the coin machine there which does not charge me a fee.  I take the slip the coin machine spits out with my total to the teller who then gives me dollar bills; at least $175.  I use this money towards Christmas shopping!  And I immediately start all over again for the following year!  

  • Where I am (Canada) we’ve been “turbo-saving” for the better part of 25 years. That’s when our $1 bills became coins. We now also have $2 coins. They debuted in 1996.

    I have been “pleasantly surprised”. My jars, that would usually yield about $80-$100 now come in at around $500 or more! I thought that I might feel a little ‘squeezed’ by putting in large denomination coins, but it hasn’t felt that way yet.

    I’ve been change jarring since 1973 :~)

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