Change Your Thoughts on Change

by David Bakke

changeBack when I was mired in debt, I tried to think of any way that I could do dig my way out. What I especially tried to do was to think of the easiest ways to save my money without really knowing that I was doing it. For most of that time, a 401k plan was available to me and I participated as much as I could. I think this is the best way to save money without really knowing your saving it.

However, that’s money you can’t really touch till your retirement. I was always looking for other ways. And I was looking for other ways that I could give my finances a boost and give my morale a boost at the same time.

Believe it or not, I found one answer in change. Change meaning the metal stuff you get back from a dollar bill. I had done enough of the other kind of “change”. Anyways, I developed a nifty little system that would allow me to save a decent amount of money, not really know that I was doing it, and give myself quite a mental boost every so often.

This is what I did. I had no credit cards at the time, and didn’t even have a checking account. Therefore, I had to pay for everything with cash. If you’re digging your way out of any sort of financial mess, I would suggest doing the same till you get back on your feet. So, by paying for everything with cash, I always had a lot of change around. Change in my car, change at home, change stuck inside the couch, etc. For the longest time, it was just an annoyance to me.

Then I decided to make plan out of it. I started to NEVER pay with change when I was out, and always paid with dollar bills. I consciously tried to start generating more change. I started to keep it all in one place. I actually found an old apple cider glass jug that I had and I kept it there. I tried not to think about it-I just tossed all of my change in there as I got it.

Every three months or so (or when the jug got full) I would bust out my coin roll wrappers, and make a quick evening of it. Please, do not ever use those machines at the grocery store that processes your change for you. What a complete waste of money. I’d roll up all my change, and usually, the next day, I‘d give myself a fifty to sixty, sometimes as much as seventy-five dollar boost to my monthly budget. Not only did this help with that month’s bills, it really served as a mental boost as well.
It turned out to be one of the best ideas that I came up with during the time I was digging myself out of the financial hole I had created. It served a dual purpose, and I never really noticed it.

I’ve heard of variations of this idea that seem to work well too, and I think they’re all great.

What unique ideas or systems do you have in place to deal with change?


1 Robert J. Fischer January 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm

That’s a great idea. Another thought I had was that every $5 bill you get is unspendable. Or every $20 that has an odd serial number. You can have some fun with it and change it every week or day. That way you don’t know when you pay for something if the change will be spendable or dedicated to debt reduction. Cool idea.

2 David Bakke January 12, 2010 at 1:08 am


I love those kinds of ideas–anything to take our minds off of the fact that were actually saving money! It seems to be a stigma to some.


3 Lana-DreamFollowers Blog January 12, 2010 at 6:12 am

Loved this post, very creative. Doing small things but I can totally see how it can create a big momentum for someone trying to get out of debt.
.-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..My 2010 Goals and 2 Awesome Techniques I Used to Set Them. =-.

4 Lana - DreamFollowers Blog January 12, 2010 at 10:32 am

Yes, Lana, even the small stuff counts.

Thanks for commenting.
.-= Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..My 2010 Goals and 2 Awesome Techniques I Used to Set Them. =-.

5 Jackie January 13, 2010 at 1:02 am

I’m a big fan of saving without having to think about it, but I hadn’t thought about doing it with change. That’s probably because I rarely spend cash at all. But when I do get cash (which is almost never) I’ve started putting all or part of it into a little fund that I call my emergency fund for my emergency fund. It makes me feel a little better knowing that if the power went out or something I’d have a little bit of spending money. But it is also a way to painless save a little money.
.-= Jackie´s last blog ..Starting a Business on a Shoestring =-.

6 Lana - DreamFollowers Blog January 13, 2010 at 2:35 am


Back when I was first trying to save, I’d do it any way that I could–especially the ways you didn’t have to think about.

Thanks for commenting!
.-= Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..My 2010 Goals and 2 Awesome Techniques I Used to Set Them. =-.

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