When my teen recently told us that her school was requiring laptop computers for school next year, my husband and I immediately devised a savings plan to fund this purchase. Instead of charging the laptop, all of us would begin saving our spare change as a way to jump start a special savings account.
Saving spare change used to be promoted as an easy way to save $50 or more a month. Since our family tends to use gift cards and debit cards instead of cash, I was reasonably sure that we wouldn't see this kind of savings. After two months of saving spare change, here are the results.
The rules. The basic rule of savings that we all followed was that all coins received in the course of a day would be dumped into a coin jar. For the days we were feeling generous, we'd toss a dollar bill in the jar as well. We also kept a close eye for change found on the ground, and even spent few hours one afternoon digging through seat cushions, the car, and coat jackets for more loose change.
The savings. After two months of saving coins along with the occasional dollar bill, we had built up our savings fund to about $35. While this isn't bad, it's nowhere near the estimated of $50 a month that money managers project. At at rate of savings of $17 a month, it would take 5 years to save up the money needed for the laptop.
The surprise. What I didn't count on were finding collectible coins which practically doubled our savings. As I sorted out the coins for rolling, I set aside older coins with mint dates prior to 1980 to check for value at Cointrackers.com. This site is a free online database that provides current values on coins from the 1880s-2011 and is a great way to determine if the coins you have are worth any money. To my surprise, I discovered a four collectible coins in the pile which I was able to sell on eBay for about $42. This brought our two month savings up to $75.
When it comes to jump starting a savings account, saving spare change is a good way to save between $10-15 a month. For even better savings however, we discovered that it's worth the time to examine the coins in the coin jar for value and selling the rarer ones on eBay.
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More by this contributor:
- Banking & Budgeting
- laptop computers
- savings account