Save The Change: A Simple Coin Jar for Simple Savings

Some of the simplest ideas have endured because they work so well.

The wheel. A hammer and nails. A lever. Hugs.

One of my favorites is the humble change jar.

At the end of every day, where do you throw your change?

Sometimes simple ideas beat more complicated ones - use a change jar for small time savings!Try a change jar.

Use it as a way to save up some cash to buy something small that you might need. Maybe treat you or a loved one to a little treat.

We throw our change into a little change box in our detritus drawer (my lovely wife doesn't like calling it a junk drawer :)).

When it gets kinda full, we bring it to a local Coinstar machine (kiosk finder) and turn it into an Amazon.com gift card. From time to time there are promotions, like an extra $5 if you pour $20 in coins, and we'll sometimes wait for those promotions before cashing them in. They'll count your change for free if you turn it into a gift card.

If you want cash, skip Coinstar and their 10.9% fee. Call your bank and ask if they will count coins for you. Some will do it for free, others will charge you a fee. Call to find out what your bank will do.

Then spend it! (or save it, whatever!)

Not everything has to be complicated. It's nice to keep things simple. 🙂

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Miss Mazuma says

    Ohhhh – I never knew Coinstar offers promos for gift cards. I have to add this one to my list! I have been saving my coins in the same mini Carlos Rossi jug for the past 10 years! I usually just take it to the bank for free, I never saw the point of paying someone else to count my change, but now I’m going to hold out for a promo. Thanks!!

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