Want to save money? Start a savings jar.

A guy in the US just cashed in several years of coin savings – worth more than $5,000. There’s a valuable lesson in here for all of us.

By Julie Nipperess.

Businessman saving money with putting coins in glass

There’s a great news story doing the media rounds this week, about Jim, a father of four and painting contractor in the US, who has been collecting coins for years, just by throwing the left over ‘shrapnel’ from his pockets into a jar at the end of every day.

His plan was to save the money and use it to do something nice for his wife once all of their children had graduated high school.

But since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, people in the US (and also in Australia) have abandoned cash and have been paying mostly by card or via other cashless options.

Not only is this pushing forward the digital banking and ‘cashless’ revolution more quickly than originally anticipated, but right now, in the US, it’s causing a serious coin shortage.

A lot of coins have not been put back into circulation over the past several months and so recently the U.S. Mint, which manufactures coins, sent out a call for people to cash in their savings jars. Or to start spending coins again.

Little kid eating pizza

Cashed up


As a result, Jim decided the time was right for him to haul his coins to the bank. To his surprise, he cashed in more than $5,000 (about $7,000 Australian dollars).

Ahem.

In spare change.

Now, here’s the thing… In the US, coins are valued at no more than 50 cents.

So Jim’s small fortune was amassed mostly from nickels and dimes and quarters, thrown into a jar and forgotten about.

Can you see where I am going with this?

Let’s just say you did the same thing with Aussie one and two dollar coins as well as other loose change. Imagine how much money you might be able to save!

Young couple drinking wine

Saving coins is easy


Right now, when we’re all thinking about innovative ways to save, this might not be a bad strategy.

A lot of people are doing it tough while the economy runs in slow-motion, and figuring out how to save money when the household budget doesn’t have a lot of lee-way can be daunting.

With that in mind, why not start a coin jar?

Jar of english money with rainy day background

Take the pressure off your household spending


You don’t necessarily have to ‘save’ the money for the long-term or for a specific purpose, although you can. It might be that you decide to use only this money for buying coffees, or for the kid’s canteen lunches, or take away family pizza and ice creams on the weekend. Maybe it’s the ‘fine wine’ kitty. Whatever works for you.

Using the coin jar cash can take a little pressure off the weekly spending.

There are other advantages too – coins just clog up your wallet and your pocket, or your desk drawer … or your car ashtray … But, over time, they can really start to add up, giving you a nice little fund to play with.

Plus, coins are money that you don’t really miss. Let’s face it, you can’t buy much with one dollar or even two, so why not get yourself a savings jar and let them start adding up to a sum that’s worthwhile? And If you have a clear jar, you can actually start to see the money accumulating right before your eyes, which has the added psychological benefit of motivating you to save more.

It’s actually a fun way to save and the whole family can be involved. In fact, I bet right now that if you did a ‘coin hunt’ around the house you’d probably find at least five dollars.

There’s your starting point.

And don’t forget that if you need help with your other, more serious savings, or any financial advice, contact us.

This is general advice and should not be treated as personal advice. Julie Nipperess is an authorised representative of Step Up Financial Group Pty Ltd ASFL No: 512509.

Need more information? Get in touch with Step Up Financial