Ever since I can remember, my family always kept a jar of coins stashed away in the house. I use to love rummaging through them for the big, shinny quarters so that I could get a cookie or a drink at school during lunch break. I never took into account how smart my parent's were for having a hidden change jar; that is until I began working and created a money jar of my own. Starting out in the restaurant industry, I always had change and small bills available. Therefore, my jar started to grow fairly quickly. Every so often (mainly when I wanted a few extra bucks for a movie ticket or to go out with some friends) I would dump the jar into a local coin-star and begin my gradual fill once again.
A few years later, after moving back from a semester of college, I then moved out of my dad's house into a place of my own with my boyfriend. After being in this one hundred-plus year old home for about two years, my boyfriend decided that he wanted to buy a house. At the time he was about twenty-six and felt like this was the next step for him to take. We both got excited about all the things we could do to a house of our own, one in which we did not have any land lords telling us what we can and cannot do to it. But we soon came to realize how much money we were going to need before we could even start looking at homes. At first we freaked out and thought negatively about the situation, assuming that it would take us at least 3 more years to have the money we would need. I decided to bring some positive energy to our situation though; I said that we could only do the best that we can and shoot for our goal of a downpayment amount. With that said, we came up with a few things that we could do to save money (like not going out to eat as much or not buying things that were a want and not a necessity).
Other than saving on the few odds and ends, I brought up the coin jar strategy. Not only would we throw singles and change from our pockets into the jar, but we would also put big bills in whenever we had the extra money to do so. We said the we would not touch the jar until my boyfriend's credit at good standing and we had at least a few thousand in the bank. After about three or four months, we decided to dump out the water jug full of our "house-savings" stash and see how much we had accumulated. We could not believe how much we had saved just by throwing a few bucks and coins in the jar here and there. Over that short few month span, we had managed to save over five hundred dollars that we could now use to help buy a home; this way more than we expected!
We are now happily closed on our house and continuing to throw our change and extra cash into our water jug savings. People don't realize how much they can truly save just by putting away a small amount every week. Even if you are living pay check to pay check, just as we do most of the time, you can still put away at least a dollar ever other day and have enough saved up to do something enjoyable with it. Now that we are in our home, that jar has now become a "vacation-savings" stash. I can't wait to count it up at the end of the year to figure out where we will take our trip!
Even if you aren't in the market for buying a home or taking a big vacation, start a jar savings stash so that when you do need the money for something bigger than your paycheck, you already have a head start!