Although most commerce takes place via cash bills or through digital transactions, small change — coins — still has a financial presence.
Over months and years, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters can add up to hundreds of dollars or more. That's why many smart savers have made a coin bank part of their financial practices.
Here are some ways you can turn your small change into big savings:
- Adult piggy bank: It’s easy to lose track of change in pockets and wallets. Many people have solved this problem by making it a point at the end of every day to place change in a money jar. A jar can be an effective visual cue for developing a sound savings habit. It can dovetail with other desirable changes in behavior, too. For example, some adults throw in a quarter when they swear, especially around their children. Others contribute the cost of their cigarette packs as they try to quit smoking, with the accumulated money serving as a reward when they stop completely.
- On the go: Keeping a coin purse or drawstring bag in your car is another way to corral the change you’re left with after passing through the tollbooth on your commute or leaving the drive-thru at lunch, and it’s also a convenient way to keep track of coins when you use public transportation. You can also start paying for smaller things, such as your morning coffee or your favorite magazines, with cash instead of your debit card while you’re out and about.
- Saving coins virtually: Considering how many more purchases these days are completed using debit cards or through online shopping, saving change in a jar is tough. However, certain banks and app developers have created programs that automatically round your purchases up to the next highest dollar, then put the difference into a savings account. If you buy something for $25.49, you’re charged $26 and the extra amount of 51 cents is automatically set aside. It’s a more modern way to put money aside before you realize it’s gone.
Now that you’ve saved...
- Take coins to the bank: A piggy bank won’t do you much good sitting on the kitchen counter. Every now and again, take those saving jars to the bank, have the coins counted and put the money in your account. That way, you can apply it toward your financial goals.
- Count coins at home: Some banks won’t accept loose coins anymore, but you can count and put them in paper rolls at your home and then bring them to the bank to deposit. This can be something that captures children’s attention while providing a math lesson and helping them better understand coins and the concept of spending. They count the coins; you put the money in their college funds. It’s a win for child and parent.
- Use the coin machine at a local retail store: You usually won’t be charged a fee if you have the value of the coins added to a gift card, which you can then use for back-to-school, grocery or holiday shopping.
No matter your saving preference, stocking up on change is a small way you can build your savings for the things you want and need. Even pennies and nickels can add up over time. To learn more ways to save, check out these budgeting tips from Nationwide.