I’ve started keeping a change jar on my desk. It’s mostly filled with nickels and pennies, with the occasional dime. I put it there because our vending machines just suffered a price increase – sodas are now $1.35. People are more likely to have a dollar and a quarter than they are to have 35 cents rolling around. After a couple of coworkers borrowed quarters and then returned with 15 cents, I just started a “give a penny, take a penny” style jar, only designed for those errant nickels and dimes that we can so rarely find.
Well, it’s become a penny jar. Sure, it’s got other change in it, but a number of people have just started dropping their pennies in after lunch because they don’t want to carry all that “useless” change around.
I’ve decided to start an experiment. I’m going to see how much money ends up in this jar by the end of the year. It’s unguarded, so someone could come in and take a handful of pennies (or the whole jar). But it’s also out in the open for anyone to drop their change in. No one’s asked me what I’m going to do with it – in fact, I haven’t said that it’s for anything other than shared vending machine change.
I’m wondering how many pennies are going to be in the jar by the end of the year. As I don’t feel like it’s my money, I’ll either use the money to buy candy or something for the office or maybe just exchange it for nickels and dimes and help out the vending machine change scroungers.
They’re only pennies, but they add up. I don’t use that much cash in my life and I still see my change jar slowly filling. Of course, I end up dumping that into a Coinstar machine and getting Amazon.com gift certificates a couple of times a year. This time, I’m going to see what we can manage to save.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.