Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keep the Change, Throw Out the Junk

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~Elise Boulding

I'm always interested and amused by the type of customers that come into Hallmark. The population varies depending on the time and day of the week. Often during the weekday afternoon time there usually is a trend of elderly people, mothers with their children and some single individuals (those that come in by themselves- not sure how to classify that group). Among these shoppers today, there was a pattern that made me a little concerned.

When customers were paying for their purchases today, many of them wanted to give me exact change. It was very nice of them to do so because it made the transaction easy for me. However, I was bothered when people kept saying they wanted to use their coins because their "purse was getting heavy," or "they were taking up so much room." Basically, the coins were an imposition to the customer. Yes, coins are the heavier part of our currency but they also have a lot of value.

Whenever people used phrases like that today all I could think about was: "Why not save them then? Take them out of your purse or pocket and store them up." Those little coins can add up quickly!

Think about this (yes, this is common knowledge for those of us in the U.S. but I think it is good to look at this again):

1 dollar =
100 pennies
20 nickles
10 dimes
4 quarters

I know there are many other combinations to make a dollar, but I don't want to get into those minute details. My main point is that every coin matters when it comes to saving money. And it all adds up into something much greater! You can't see the savings grow overnight but yet in time it can be quite spectacular.

One of my favorite ways save my coins is to put them into separate glass bottles (I have been putting coins into old Starbucks Frappicino bottles). I have a special bottle that I use for the quarters that have a state design on them, I call them my "special coins." When I checked awhile back, I had about 40 dollars in that bottle. Though I have quite a bit of money in that bottle I am not going to take it to the bank until it is all full.

For the other bottle, I just save all the regular coins-- that is what I do when my wallet gets too stuffed. Now that bottle is completely full. I also put regular coins into my other piggy banks.

I credit my mother on my habit of saving coins. She has been very deligent over the years in saving her coins. Usually every week or every other week, she will take the coins from her wallet and save them in different places. She always puts some coins in my sister's and my piggy banks (she divides the amount she has). Since she's been so good about this; she is actually more of the reason why my one bottle is so full! :) Thanks Mom!

I also want to add that my mom also tries to save certain paper bills. If she gets a new ten and five dollar bills she puts them into separate envelopes. I think this is a neat idea.

Though there are many other ways I would like my family to save, I am thankful that my mom has set a good example of these savings techniques. These little coin savings have added up and been worth it. So, I am encouraging you to do the same-- every penny does matter.

On another note, I want to also mention that I have motivated my mom to massively de-clutter the house! A couple of weeks ago I started going through everything in my room and was able to create four giveaway bags. I am still convinced I could clear out more-- need to check once again. I absolutely LOVE getting rid of stuff I don't need. I feel like stuff just weighs me down and gets in the way. What is the use of having things that I don't need, want or use anymore? Plus, things like that could be used for a better purpose. Perhaps someone who is less fortunate than I am could get more use of out of my unwanted items. I would rather have my unwanted old shirts and sweaters clothe the body of someone who needs them.

Anyway, back to the "Great Giveaway" (that's what I call it in my head). My mom has been motivated to go through numerous items in the attic and on the side of the house. We have piles of items to give away sitting by the doorway. Union Gospel is coming tomorrow to pick the items up! We love giving our items away to that organization-- our next door neighbors, who told us about them, are always giving away items to UG. Funny enough, our next door neighbor has items set out to give to UG tomorrow too.

We're also going through boxes and boxes of cards that we have recieved throughout the years. We're recycling all of the cards that we don't want to keep. I am being selective in the ones I keep though it is a challenge sometimes. There are some that aren't worth keeping: like the ones that were given to people that I don't know. And some cards I am keeping to upcycle them; not keeping many for that though. Feels good to downsize my boxes. Less is more.

I hope that I can encourage you to store up those little coins when you can and to give away what you don't need. :)

*might add some pictures to illustate this tomorrow... I don't like using the flash on my camera when I don't have to... love the natural light. lol


Nikki said...

Very cool! I love being frugal too and I think its so cool that you believe in frugality!! Saving coins is so important, when we were little we would have a big jug and at the end of the year it added up to almost 800$ and we could use it go on a vacation! It was a great idea, and me and my husband do that now. Very awesome that your mom is decluttering! Thanks for the inspiring post!

Tigard said...

I saw the bags full of cards in the living room on Thursday. Were you able to RECYCLE most of those? I keep one small box of special cards that people have given me over the years. Keep up the FALL cleaning. Love you guys!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I like the idea of putting the coins into seperate jars. I think my boys would like that too. A good way to show the difference in coins as well for both of them. Great idea!