The Power of the Pocket Change Jar

A change jarI have a little jar that sits on my dresser. Inside it is my pocket change from the last several days.

It seems like such a simple idea, but it can be quite powerful if you keep up with it. Instead of dumping excess pocket change into a vending machine, I keep it in my pocket. If I see money on the ground, even if it is just a penny, I pick it up and toss it in my pocket.

At the end of each day, I take that change and put it in the jar, where it remains for a while. I usually let it build up until the last Friday of the month, which is when I usually stop by my bank branch anyway to do business. I just take the jar with me and deposit the contents in the jar into my account. Most banks (not all, but most) will accept this relatively small amount of change as a deposit (they won’t give you cash directly, but they’ll usually accept it if it is a straight deposit into an account), so I just take the change jar up with my other business and ask them if I can deposit this into my checking account. From there, I usually deposit it into a high yield savings account that will earn interest on my accumulated change.

It’s also useful to keep an eye out for change where you can. Some of the best places to look are at drive-through windows and coin return slots in vending machines and pay phones. If you happen to be near one, check and see if there’s any change and if there is, drop it in your pocket and put it in the jar. Every little bit helps and it takes almost no effort at all.

On an average day, I have about 75 cents in pocket change; I used to have much more, but my habits have subtly changed (less vending machine, mostly). This means that I usually have a hair over twenty dollars in the jar at the end of each month, which often feels like “free money.”

It’s a simple and nearly effortless way to build up your personal savings.

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

Loading Disqus Comments ...