Screaming Into The Abyss

Keep The Change
By Ben Zvan
On January 17, 2010 at 13:05
General News

Spare ChangeI'm not one to keep a large number of coins in my pocket so that I can have exact change when I buy something. In fact, I like to have empty pockets whenever I can. This is, oddly, not in conflict with my desire to see the $1 bill be completely replaced by the $1 coin. I'll have to consider why that is at some other time.

For more years than I can count, I've been emptying my pockets of change every day and putting the coins into a quart jar that sits in my bedroom. I remember my father used to do the same thing; I don't know if that's related. At some point, I decided to save this change to spend on things that I wanted to buy but didn't have the money for. It started with camera gear and, when I started to buy that gear out of the business fund, it moved on to whatever about $100 can buy me.

It's worked out well and I get a nice bonus every once in a while, but recently I realized that it has a fatal flaw. This method of "saving" money actually encourrages me to make cash purchases. Cash purchases are impossible to track from a budgeting standpoint and even if you track cash as a budget item, saving the change like this still means that spending more now means getting more later.

In November, I pretty much stopped spending cash and at the same time, my change jar pretty much stopped growing. Actually saving money meant not "saving" any money.

I still have the jar. I'll still put my change into it every day. I still won't really think about it until I need quarters for parking meters or I take it to the bank to cash it out. But I'm going to think more about actually saving money and knowing where my money is going.

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