Stockpiling spare change, whether it’s in a ceramic pig, a beer stein or your desk drawer, is a simple way to save without really thinking about it.
And all that shrapnel can add up quickly: think about the drinker’s pocket you end up with after a few rounds on a Friday night, or the couple of bucks you get back each morning when you pick up a coffee.
So don’t write off the humble piggy bank as a gimmick to teach kids about money. Here are some slightly more adult uses for those coins that you may not have considered.
Paying off debt is a great option for the money in your piggy bank.
It can be tempting to blow it all on something fun, especially once you’ve lugged the coins down to the bank, wrestled with the coin counting machine and waited patiently in the queue for the teller.
But if you’ve got a credit card, car loan or mortgage that could do with a bit of breathing space, then a better idea could be to put the balance towards paying off your debts.
Even a couple of hundred dollars extra can save on interest over the life of the loan and bring forward that magic day when you’ll be debt free.
Alternatively, you could tuck it away into a high interest savings account or even invest the proceeds.
While coin jars are a simple and fun way to save, over time you’re missing out on interest or potential returns by keeping your money in the dark.
A pseudo-joint bank account
No matter how infatuated you are with someone, the idea of opening a joint bank account can be a little scary at first. Particularly if you’re bad with money and/or relationships.
But what if you want to save up for something nice together without the hassle or responsibility of a romance-killing trip to the local bank branch?
Enter the common coin jar.
Pick a container that can’t be raided for bus money at desperate moments, and for extra-fun make sure it can only be smashed open with a hammer.
Then choose a goal to work towards, set a date to bust it open and start dumping coins in there at every opportunity. Do it together if you’re worried that only one of you will actually contribute.
Step it up a notch
Sure, saving your coins is a great start. But why stop there?
If you want to seriously commit, try stashing away every five dollar note in addition to all that loose change. High rollers can try this with tens.
This is great for bigger goals as it accelerates the saving process, plus watching that pile of notes stack up is great fun.
Image courtesy andrewmjiana, via Flickr