Keep the Change
Its finally Friday everyone and to kick off the end of the work week, we have a new Financial Tip Friday for you guys!
For the average college student or graduate, managing or expanding one’s budget can be a slowly developed process. Unsurprisingly, loose change is often overlooked as an additional source of income. According to the America Saves Week website,
Approximately $15 billion dollars in loose change lies unused in and around our households.
When you think about how many coins there would have to be to account for that many dollars, it seems a little crazy that people don’t save their change.
A few years ago the Humphreys family created an online blog called the Change Pot to keep track of and allow other bloggers to show how much money in spare change they had collected and saved every week. According to this family, they had raised over $1,000 in one year, which breaks down to approximately $83 per month of additional income from loose change alone. While it might seem trifling, an additional $83 per month is worth almost 2 tanks of gas or 8 Chipotle burritos. Not so trivial anymore, right? Here are a few tips to help you turn your pocket change into another source of income for your personal finances.
Keep your change.
While this might seem a bit obvious, many people tend to see pocket change as a burden to carry. As much as the jingling of coins in our pockets can be a hassle, those few coins you get back when you use cash can add up, and letting your change fall into the corners of your couch or tumble away in your laundry machine is letting part of the income you earn go to waste. Considering that there are stocks that could be purchased with the change you forget about, all that change that you let go to waste is a lost opportunity to prepare for your future.
Use a piggy bank
While a few nickels and dimes scattered on your table or in your pockets may seem expendable, taking the time to put your loose change in a piggy bank, cup or whatever vessel that tickles your fancy keeps your change in a centralized location that not only makes it easier to keep track of, but that growing pile of coins will seem like a lot more money than having your coins spread out underneath your couch cushions. Setting up a schedule to determine when it is time to open your piggy bank and utilize your coin savings will help keep you motivated to continue saving up.
Deposit/convert your change.
It is not only important to collect and centralize all the loose change you find, but also it’s prudent to convert your change into more than just a large pile of coins. Banks will allow you to deposit coins, but if you show up with a large pile of various coins, they probably won’t be too enthusiastic, as they have to count each individual coin that you deposit. For those of you who don’t mind a little manual labor, organizing your coins into coin rolls will facilitate the process of depositing them at a bank and save you some time and scrutiny from the bank teller and the people waiting in line behind you. Machines that automatically count your coins are available at some banks, but it varies depending on location and which bank you use. There are also third party Coinstar machines that offer these services. These machines may take a percentage out of the change you put into it, although you can circumvent these charges somewhat if you decide to convert the change into a gift card from places such as Amazon or Starbucks.
Regardless of what method you choose, collecting and converting your change into more manageable currency will help you turn you pocket change into extra income for your monthly utilities or go into a rainy day savings fund. All those coins you get throughout thre course of your day may seem insignificant, but they do add up and can be a source of income that can expand your financial flexibility and create a little more breathing room for your budget.