The Hubs’ Change Jar

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single penny.” Unknown

More often than not, I’m in bed each night by 9pm. Recently there was a rare occasion where I stayed up past my bedtime talking to the Hubs about my need to think of something to write about. He said I should write about his change jar. Great idea, so here it is…

When the Hubs and I were first married he had a side job as a bartender at the all-ranks club on the base where we were stationed. Many a night the security police flight working the swing shift would make it worth his while to keep the club open past closing time, so they could unwind a bit after getting off their shift. One of my favorite memories of those days was sitting on the living room floor with him rolling his tips into coin wrappers. We lived in Belgium at the time, so the tip money would be both American and Belgian currency. It was amazing to me how much accumulated in a short period of time. A lot of the time, that money was my grocery money. These days I don’t need rolled tips for my grocery money, but the Hubs still sets aside his coins for fun money.

His change jar is nothing fancy. He took an empty jar that once had pretzels from Sam’s Club in it, cut a hole in the top, and put the lid back on. Every day when he comes home from work any change in his pockets, along with the occasional 1-dollar bill and the coins he finds lying on the ground that he CAN’T pass up,  goes into the jar. I can’t tell you how many times I thought he was going to be hit by a car because he couldn’t leave a stray penny lie… About once a quarter he’ll sit on the floor and roll the coins into change wrappers and count up the bills, so he knows how much he has. Sometimes he’ll take some of the dollar bills with him to a motorcycle swap meet or a gun show. It’s funny-his brother calls the dollar bills his “stripper money”. LOL!!

Back in the days pre-Older Wiser Money Miser, I would dip into the change jar (usually when we were on vacation) and hit the outlet mall. One of my personal favorites is the Dooney & Bourke outlet in Destin, FL. I’m glad those things hold up as well as they do because it’ll be a long time before I need to buy a new bag! The last trip we took the change jar money was our eating out money. We had vacation money set aside but the change jar money was a nice added extra that helped stretch our vacation funds.

Saving money this way is painless! It’s done slowly so you don’t miss it, and it really adds up. One thing the Hubs wanted me to tell y’all is to actually wrap the coins yourself. DON’T take them to the Coinstar machine and have the store take 7% (or more!) of your money! You can usually get coin wrappers for free from your bank or you can find them cheap at your local dollar store. Some banks require you to put your name on the wrapper just in case the count is wrong. If you receive pre-printed return address labels from charities soliciting donations those are perfect for slapping on a coin wrapper. Put the wrapped coins back in your change jar until you’re ready to spend them-it’s much easier to spend paper money than it is coins so you’re more likely to save the money for its intended purpose if you make it hard to spend!

So, do you have a change jar? I’d love to hear some of your strategies for saving a little fun money for yourself!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Author: olderwisermoneymiser

I’m a 50-something wife, mom, and full time accounting administrator sharing my journey from work to retirement.

10 thoughts on “The Hubs’ Change Jar”

  1. We too have a change jar! Years ago an Officer’s wife gave a talk at our squadrons wives group about “retiring millionaires.” She was a self taught miser. 💰She suggested an easy way to save was to pay with bills and put the change in a jar every night. Take that change and put it in your savings. If you use coupons, put the money saved into savings,etc. I won’t be a millionaire, but I remember that tip!
    Our change jar saved us many times when money ran low. The girls would cringe when I’d count out change to pay for groceries or gas. The ice cream truck would be coming down the street and they would beg to raid the change jar. Ha! And I know they helped themselves to the silver before heading to 7-11 with friends.😁
    In Germany we also had our German Mark change bowl. When the bakery lady would ring her bell, we would hurriedly dig for pastry money! Like an ice cream truck for adults. 🤗
    Wow, you’re change jar story triggered lots of memories of ours. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a change jar and it has provided many vacations over the years, and even helped us through a few tight financial times. It is a great way to save!


  3. When I go grocery shopping I often get $5- $10 cash back and tuck it away in a little box I have. One year it was Christmas money, another it bought new tires. And our change jar paid for the fun going ashore money on our Alaska CRUISE and our extras on a trip to Vegas. It really does add up and it isn’t missed like it is when you transfer larger amounts to savings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have a change jar too! I just toss in leftover change and have often chagrined over all those dang pennies. After looking online (just as a lark at the time), we found some wheat pennies that were valuable! Some were worth 10 cents…not an astronomical amount, but when I took a pile to the coin shop I got about 5 cents for each penny. It paid for dinner that night.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Does anyone NOT have a change jar? Unthinkable! Our first change jar paid for a vacation, in really tough times the change jar paid for necessities, and just last week we gathered the various change jars that have popped up around the house and we now have an almost full large flavored-popcorn bucket. We thankfully, no longer need to rely on these coins to survive so when the bucket actually gets full we’ll get to decide! Thanks for sharing a story that is both ‘mundane’ and ‘universally comforting’!

    Liked by 1 person

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