Where does your loose change go?

Fat Cat Savings PotLast weekend I revised my budget after being inspired by Claire’s post over at Ready for Zero on Finding Your Best Budgeting Strategy – And Sticking With It. My old budget was vague at best – it had more than a few holes in it!

I now have a format I’m happy with and I’m going to track every penny I spend and create a new budget each month taking into account any changing costs. It might be a tedious task but I’m going to have to do it because this month, I really want to hit the debts where it hurts and try to shave off even more pennies from our already squeezed expenditure.

Basically, I need to stop frittering away money which I have been doing a lot of according to my last bank statement. Frittering it away by doing small shops – you know those trips where you go out for milk and you come back with a loaf of bread, an apple pie, eggs, kitchen cleaner, dishcloths and some roasted peanuts just because they were on offer? Yes, I’ve been frittering (sigh).

Last month, I even went into my overdraft slightly, which I quickly rectified by transferring some money over from the emergency fund. Despite all the debt my hubby and I have together, we absolutely can’t be in the red with our bank account. We feel like we need a tiny credit or even zero balance ready for the start of the next month. It’s kind of like having a clean slate.

So, after I sat back and proudly admired my colour-coded spreadsheet complete with the correct formulas in all the right places to add up all our hard working cash, it dawned on me that I had plans Saturday morning which would involve spending part of the ‘socialising’ budget. The socialising budget is very small, basically I use it for trips to playgroups with my daughter and the odd coffee and cake out with friends.

However, I was already thinking about spending money in this area before the month even started! FYI, the hubby gets paid on 28th of each month and I get paid on the 1st, so there was money in our account, but we don’t usually have anything going out of the bank until I get paid.

Loose change all adds up!

Then I suddenly remembered our dusty old loose change pot sitting stoutly on my dressing table in the form of a fat cat which has the words ‘holiday fund’ stretched across it’s tummy. Whenever the hubby and I have any spare change, we dump it in there. There’s no way the contents would ever fund a holiday seeing as it’s only ever loose change that goes into it, but I wondered if I’d have enough to get me through Saturday morning’s social engagement without delving into the budget.

Yippee! Sure enough, when I emptied our ‘fat cat pot’, I found that there was around £8 in change hiding away in there. I did a victory dance around my little girl and off we went to enjoy our cake and coffee (diluted juice for her) with our friends at a local cafe. I felt really pleased with myself that I hadn’t touched the budget just yet.

When you’re paying debts off, every penny does count and I must admit, I’ve used the contents of the change pot to actually pay off debts before now. I’ve taken a little loose change to the bank before and paid it into my account over the counter (whilst trying not to make eye contact with the amused cashier). I’m so glad I can’t see the faces of my creditors when I make these seemingly tiny payments online towards my debts! But I’m always grinning at my end! :) Take that debts!

Making the most of your loose change

Rather than spending whatever change is in your pocket on a newspaper or snack from the petrol station, why not find somewhere to save it up for a while? The great thing is that it can be used for all sorts of things outside of your main budget.

If you need a cab urgently or change for a car park, you can delve into your change tin. You could donate to charity using your change, use it as a savings pot to go towards gifts or even as another way to save up for debt repayments. Your loose change can come in handy when you really need it the most!

Do you save your loose change? What do you use it for?

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Image © A Disease Called Debt

Young Finances


    • 6


      It’s easy to scatter loose change here, there and everywhere! I found a money pot I really liked which helped and by keeping it in my bedroom, it’s always there when I’m emptying my jeans pockets.

  1. 9


    I have the cutest little poalr-bear-piggy bank that gets most of my change. It’s been a while since I checked to see if I have enough to roll it. Maybe I’ll do that soon to see how “rich” I am :)
    Amanda recently posted…Where Did The Time Go?My Profile

  2. 11


    This isn’t very frugal of me, but I took all the left over change that has been sitting in a jar and put it on my Starbucks card.

    I felt a little bad about how much change I brought in for the poor barista to count!
    Steve recently posted…What Rabbit Do You Chase?My Profile

    • 12


      Sounds like a good idea to me. At least you know that if you ever want a Starbucks, you don’t have to worry about how much cash you have on you at the time!

  3. 15


    We definitely save our loose change too. It adds up over time and comes in handy for those times when you do need loose change or to buy something small. I have to tell you though that I’ve spoken with other Moms who admit that they just toss out a lot of their loose change. I was shocked. Yes, sometimes it can be an annoyance but I would never throw out money. What kind of message does that send?

    • 16


      I have witnessed this before too Shannon. I don’t get it! Why would someone throw away their money even if it is only pennies? They could give it to charity if they really don’t want it.

    • 18


      Good idea about saving it in the car ready for parking fees. I’ve had no cash on me several times now and had to go to the bank, draw out the minimum of £10 and then get it changed for the car park. Tedious!

    • 20


      Aww that’s lovely, what a great way to spend the change – and so nice of J to give you his! I like the idea of saving loose change for the odd night out that you don’t have to worry about budgeting for!

  4. 21


    Fun post Hayley and cute pic of your fat cat pot :)

    I used to do this with an old and thankfully, empty peanut butter jar…but haven’t done so in years :( I really should pick up that habit again because I used to be able to save quite a bit that way.

    In Canada our one dollar and two dollar currency are coins, so it’s really easy to rack up a small fortune if you do it religiously!

    Thanks for the recommendation and consider it done on my end :)

    Take care and all the best.

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted…My First Guest Blog Post And My First Reader Q & A :)My Profile

    • 22


      Glad you liked the post Lyle and hope it spurs you on to save your coins! I could try this with our £1 coins here – I’m sure I could save quite a bit that way. But I’ll probably stick to pennies for now whilst I’m paying off debt. :)

  5. 23


    My parents always saved their loose change up and cashed it in, usually using it for groceries or something they were going to spend on anyway. The few times I have cashed mine in is before a vacation. Ever since I started using my credit card for most of my purchases, though, I don’t have as much change as I used to! I have some sitting at home but it doesn’t seem like enough to bother with right now. That’s so great you found a way to avoid touching your budget though! I don’t like spending right off the bat, either.
    E.M. recently posted…The Path I Took to CollegeMy Profile

    • 24


      It’s a great way to add a little extra cash to a budget that’s for sure. I don’t have that much change these days since I used my debit card for a lot of purchases so I know what you mean. But we still have some so it’s worth us saving it!

  6. 25


    I used to save change but then I realized:
    – If I was squirreling away the coins, I wasn’t tracking my spending to the penny,
    – When the container got too full, I didn’t want to roll it and was tempted to go to one of those coin machines that takes a hefty percentage of your stash (wish I had thought of that business model…they rake in millions!), and
    – Using “found” money to bail me out of an “emergency” was bad planning on my part.

    For those reasons, and also now that I see Michelle had a thief in her house, I try to spend the coins I get. That keeps me accountable for tracking to the penny. And, since I have a “Future Capital Expense” account where I save for planned expenses (like property tax and vacations) and have an emergency fund, I’m usually covered.

    There are many right ways, this is just my way :)
    Ree Klein recently posted…When Good Advice Turns Bad…My Profile

    • 26


      Hi Ree, thanks for stopping by! That’s a good point about not being able to track spending exactly to the penny. I will definitely have to bear that in mind as tracking my expenses to the penny is exactly what I’m trying to achieve this month. Maybe I should add my fat cat pot as an income field in my spreadsheet and tally it up that way!

  7. 31


    I remember one trip to the mall a few years back and walking by a vehicle and the ground was littered in change. There were pennies, quarters, dimes etc and I first thought, OH I’ll have that. Then I thought to myself even if someone dropped their purse why didn’t they pick it up. To some people spare change is just small amounts of nothing but to others it’s money in the bank. If we all started thinking about money as money rather than just cents that don’t mean anything if it’s not in large quantities then we’d all be further ahead. Great post.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…Grocery budget: Our kids are eating us out of house and homeMy Profile

    • 32


      Lol! I wish I’d passed that vehicle! I always look out for change on the ground – see a penny, pick it up. :) One day, I came across a £20 note. Happy days! I don’t get how some people choose to leave their change if they notice it being dropped.

    • 34


      I think lots of people are using less cash these days, preferring to use debit (or credit) cards. The hubby used to keep a gigantic bottle of change when I first met him. It was full of coppers, 10ps and even £1 coins. That paid for Christmas presents one year!

  8. 37


    Hi Hayley! What a happy ending! I love saving extra change almost as much as CJ. We throw it in the container – Cha-ching! Cha-ching! Oh boy, it’s fun. And it really is Fun. We call it Funny Money, and we only use it to fund Fun activities like going away for the weekend. We don’t have to take money out of our accounts to pay for weekend getaways.
    Tammy R recently posted…Checking Accounts Made Fun and EasyMy Profile

    • 38


      That sounds great Tammy! Every time you put more change in your container, it’s like a little reward because you know you’ll use it for something fun or nice! Great way of spending it. :)

    • 44


      Great idea and it’s really important to educate kids early on I think. That’s what I intend to do with my little girl. Even now she handles change and pays the cashier at the shop!

  9. 47


    I don’t have much loose change as I usually pay with a credit card to get reward points. I do have a jar of coins which probably adds up to a good amount. I’ve been meaning to exchange it but I’ve been too lazy to wrap them up and bring it to the bank. Coinstar does take 8% or you can redeem it for a gift card to various stores. I guess if there’s a store that I intend to go to anyway, I might do that. TD Bank here supposedly will also do the same thing but I’m not a customer so I don’t know if they’ll exchange it for me.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Broke? It Might Not Be Your FaultMy Profile

    • 50


      Thanks for including the link to the free coffee voucher Eva! Great idea to print it off more than once too, might as well make the most of it!:)

    • 52


      It’s so easy for the little things to add up isn’t it! I’m sure your bank will take the coins. Some banks of glad of them I believe.

  10. 54


    I love my piggy bank!! I think the key to saving a ton is putting dollar bills/pound coins/or the random large bill into your piggy bank. Then, don’t cash it in too often. I only cash out my change twice a year. Last year I cashed out around $350 at the end of the year. I also pick up change and put it in my piggy bank. I am using this change to help fund Christmas.

  11. 56


    My boyfriend and I have a loose change pig, when we went overseas for my cousins wedding we cashed it out and had over $250 in there, which paid for parking my car at the airport as well as a tv tablet for him on the plane which made the plane trip so much easier.
    I’ve also used it to pay for takeout chinese food (got a good laugh for that one) and parking.
    charlie recently posted…Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, or why sometimes I don’t blog.My Profile


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