Saturday, March 25, 2017

4 Stupid Things We Do With Our Coins

The typical American gets some change back once, maybe twice a week if they use cash to make purchases.  I use my debit card as often as I can but still, I have spare change to deal with at least once a week.  And just how do most Americans deal with their spare change?  That's what I'll be discussing in this post which by the way, was inspired by my visit to the grocery store today.  You see, on the spur of the moment I decided to grab the coin jar I had sitting atop a closet shelf gathering dust, and go dump my coins into a Coinstar machine.

After feeding a machine exactly like this one above, I got a voucher for $17.44.  I agreed to the 10.9% charge for this service because frankly I didn't want to spend my valuable time putting coins of each denomination into coin sleeves.  Doing some quick math, I must have had around $19.57 in my jar.  That seems just right because any more money sitting idle is money losing purchasing power to inflation.  After cashing in my voucher, I went to the pump and got three-quarters of my gas tank (I drive a 2007 Honda Civic Ex) filled up.  Now that's how you're supposed to use cash you got lying around.

When it comes to coins, we make some serious mistakes.  I'm personally just becoming conscious of some of these.  Here are four that need to be rectified immediately.

Image result for coin jar
This is dumb!!

1) Keeping coins in your car.  The change in our consoles or cup holders has got to be some of the grimiest possessions we have.  We tell ourselves that one day we'll need spare change when we're driving around so we hoard it in our cars.  Meanwhile, we're spilling juice, protein shake, and soda all over it.  Dirt and dust gathers on it making it gross to even pick up.  Why do we do this?  To hand it to the poor guy asking for money on the corner of the street.  Geesh.  We're better off taking our spare change inside the house, and dropping it in our coin jar...but not to be kept there forever.

Image result for filthy coins in the car cup holders

2)  Letting our spare change drop in between couch cushions.  Again, we are so lazy sometimes that we'll plop on the couch and forget we have loose things in our pockets.  We take that sweet nap and our coins go to rest in the kingdom of the underneath.  Then one day we get to cleaning like a fool and lift them cushions, finding all sorts of junk and coins.  Unfortunately, over time, those coins, just like the dollar bill, have lost purchasing power.

3)  Waiting until our coin jars are full to do something about it.  This is what I've just learned after today: there is a specific volume (or height on the jar) of coins that amounts to about $20.  I've marked it.  So now, I save only until my coins reach this level.  Then on a visit to the grocery store, I empty my jar out and put that cash to work immediately.  Why are you leaving so much change in your jar?  Does it give you a sense of accomplishment to have saved so much spare change over time?  Don't be foolish.  Inflation will eat up the value of your money as you wait to put a lid on it.

4)  Let our kids keep them in their piggy banks all year long.  Just like our own coin jar, as soon as our kids have enough money saved to make a visit to the bank worthwhile, that spare change should be deposited.  You'll need coin sleeves this time, but if your kids are old enough, you can teach them once and they can take care of it in the future.  Transferring that money into a custodial money-market account may not be enough to keep up with inflation (depends on the interest rate you can get), but it's a whole lot better than keeping it in a savings account.

The moral of this story is that you need to take spare change seriously.  Ignoring or forgetting about it does impact your finances.  If you pride yourself on being a great saver, and have many spare change jars around the house filled to the brim, you're hurting your ability to buy things in the future, and being stupid with your money.  Alright, I'm outta here!  If you liked this post and want to receive more like them in your inbox, don't forget to subscribe to this blog by submitting your email below.  Thanks!
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