Saving spare change isn’t just for kids. For many adults it’s a necessity, especially in this daunting economic climate. But the practice is hard to keep up. All too often, strapped savers must pry open their coffee cans or glass jars full of coins in order to feed parking meters, laundromats, and vending machines. For “jar raiders” who want to get serious about saving loose change, here’s a workable system.
Materials and items needed:
- Four separate containers ranging in size from, say, a gallon milk jug to a small jam jar – with lids
- Electrical tape
- Hammer and flathead screwdriver
- A dark pencil or marker
Lines of Defense
Penitent jar-breakers should adopt the attitude of a ruthless military commander, with each value of coin a specific rank of soldier. Look over the “troops” and decide which are the most expendable – or, in this case, “spendable.” It doesn’t take a genius to realize that a 25-cent coin is more tempting to pull out of savings than its lesser compatriots. The ideal coin-bank system should reflect that.
Quarters: The Easy Target
Begin with the small jam jar. Place a quarter flat on the lid and trace a circle around it. If the lid is metal, punch the circle out with the hammer and screwdriver. With the lid fastened, the jar now becomes a “Quarters Only” container – which, if raided, can simply be turned upside down and shaken. This way, a few quarters are more likely to remain in the jar after the needed amount of loot falls out.
Dimes: Second in Line
Designate the next largest size of vessel for dimes. The same “trace and punch-out” procedure used on the quarters jar should occur here. The result: effective storage for the ten-centers with easy access if they’re really needed. But remember: having a quarters jar to raid first creates a better chance of saving up those dimes.
Nickels and Pennies: Protect the Little Guys
It’s a harsh reality: cents and nickels don’t carry much spending power these days. Hence, they form the core of this coin-saving program. Let the big-shots go to the front line for a change!
Use the second-largest jar for nickels and the biggest for pennies. As for the lids, punch out slots rather than circles, and seal the edges with electrical tape to deter raiding as much as possible. Once again, desperate cash hunters should break into the larger denomination first.
Overall Strategy: Be Realistic
Assigning the largest, most secure “vault” to pennies might be counter-intuitive, but in light of the average person’s daily habits, it makes sense. The main idea is to enable reasonable long-term saving while accepting that some degree of raiding will take place. Hoarders who take particular pride in their work will make each jar successively hard to locate. Quarters should be the easiest to get at – on the nightstand, perhaps – while the penny jug can hide under the kitchen sink.
After all, there’s no use saving coins if it means getting a parking ticket.