Separate Change Jars GameBy Wixx
Everyone knows that if they save their change it can add up quickly, or at least they should. Is putting your change into a jar fun? Let's take another look at this and make a game or two out of it.
You unwind in the evening and empty your pockets. Instead of putting all of your change into a single jar, what if you put it into several jars? You could put all quarters in one jar and the rest of your change into another jar.
When the quarters' jar is full, you wrap them and take them to the bank to deposit the money into your savings account. The jar with the other coins is yours to do with as you see fit.
Perhaps you can buy a new board game for your games night. You are having games nights where your friends come over to play games instead of going out to overpriced bars or spending money to see a movie, right? I think I may talk more about hosting games night in my next article.
Maybe you can use the money in the other jar to pay for dinner at the restaurant chosen by the winner of the dollar dinner game, or the money could be used to purchase the groceries used for the next few weeks' dollar dinners. It could also be saved up through several coin wrappings to give you a larger total.
The coins could be rolled and "cashed in" so to speak, in a number of ways. A certain amount can be set aside each time the change is wrapped. This helps with saving up towards a specific goal. You could take the first $5 or $10 of non-quarters every time you wrap the change in your jars, and set it aside. At the end of the year you would then have this money to use for after Christmas sales.
Instead of a finite number, you could simply designate a percentage. If you wrap $10 you could and designate that 20% from the jar joins the quarters into savings, you'd deposit all the quarters plus $2 from the other jar.
You could also designate a percentage toward a specific goal which would allow you to save the money for a few months for such items as tickets to a summer concert or a new game for your favorite console. Maybe you are saving up to have some spending money for an upcoming event.
I am using this method for the renaissance festival this year. I will round down the total of dimes, nickels, and pennies to the nearest $5 and save this all year. Then I will use this money to purchase a shirt from the pirate stand, or maybe a ring or something for my wife's Christmas stocking, while continuing to add to my savings as well.
As for the quarters, they are going straight to my ING account. This is of course because I have paid off my credit card, and my car loan is at 0% interest. If I had revolving debt over my head I would use the quarters for debt reduction.
Every other month or so I would wrap the quarters and add the total to the payment I send on my highest interest loan or credit card. This allowed me to pay it off sooner and receive savings on interest charges. No matter what you choose to do with your lower denomination coin jar, the quarters at least should be used for savings or debt reduction.
Alternatives to this multiple jar game would include separating the coins further into separate jars for each denomination. Another possible option would be "racing the jars" with whichever coin jar reaches the top fastest determining part of the use of the change (ie: of the penny jar reaches the top first, the money goes to the entertainment fund, if the nickel jar reaches first, the money goes to a family ice-cream night, etc).
You could also put a predetermined amount each day into one jar for a specific goal - say a quarter or $0.50 - and any remaining coins into the other jar. At a quarter per day, you would save $7.50 - $7.75 every month of the year except February.
If you elect to separate each type of coin, you could determine a set usage for each coin. For example, the nickels could be used for a special treat with the dimes being used for even tickets, etc. Since we are playing towards the goal of saving, however, the quarters should still be set aside into your savings account or to pay down debt.