Before we got engaged, Mike started collecting his change in one of those giant plastic pretzel jars. He would come home from work, empty out his pockets and any loose change would get thrown into the jar. Pretty soon, whenever I was over his place, I started throwing my change in too.
Ok, so that’s not true at all.
What really happened is Mike would throw his loose change in every day, and I would go in every morning and fish out bus fare. Keepin’ it real, folks.
Anyway, when Mike proposed to me, he made a little sign that he stuck on the change jar that read “Honeymoon Fund.” Of course, the change in the jar wouldn’t be enough to cover the whole honeymoon, but he thought it would be a nice stash of spending money for the trip. I thought it was super cute that the change now had a purpose, and it certainly kept me from pulling out any quarters for laundry.
Over the next 15 months during our engagement, we both continued to contribute to the jar and about a week before our wedding we took our little savings to our local bank that had one of those coin-counting machines. People were actually staring, that’s how bad-ass our jar of change was. Most people in front of us had little bags or Tupperware containers of change, but with our pretty freakin’ heavy jar of coins we looked like the rock stars of change collecting.
You had to put in a guess as to how much change you thought you had before you dumped it into the machine. I think if you got the amount right, you won a pen with the bank’s name on it, or something like that. We put in a tentative guess, neither of us wanting to be too bold, and “go over” like on the Price Is Right. We watched as all the change ran through the machine and when it was done and counted we found out that we had saved…in CHANGE…are you ready? ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS AND NINETY-SIX CENTS. Can you believe it? Of course, that was about three years of change collecting by the time we cashed it in, but STILL.
We were pretty giddy when we left the bank. Especially because it felt like “found money”, money we hadn’t counted on and money we didn’t even notice was missing while we were stashing it away.
Since then, we’ve kept up with our little practice of giving the change jar a purpose and collecting towards it. When I got pregnant, we decided the change jar would become our baby’s christening party fund. It was all sweet to think, every time we tossed a handful of change into the jar, that it was for a special party for our future daughter or son.
As you can tell, I’m a fully converted, big-time fan of the change jar. One, it’s a super easy way to save up some extra money, and giving the collection a purpose…a trip…a party…a big purchase for the house…makes the collecting more fun. And two, it prevents your loose change from ending up in random messy places, like squished between the sofa cushions, or in little piles on your nightstand. I like it so much that I even manage to resist raiding it for parking meter money. Most of the time.
So do you have a central place where you collect all of your family’s change? Is your change jar collection for anything specific?