If there’s one thing I can get behind, it’s always having a bit of cash to set aside. Whether it be shopping cheaply at discount stores and thrift shops, or choosing to eat at home rather than dining out, I always seem to find a way to add to our change jar at home. Recently, another little idea popped into my head, and it has resulted in a substantial increase in my little nest egg, without cutting into my expenses.
That “Extreme Couponing” show on TLC hit a spot within me, and while I won’t delegate 60 hours a week so I can spend $2 bucks at the checkout line with 8 carts loaded with items, it did spur in me a new way to save money. What if I took the exact amount I saved in grocery shopping and applied said savings, in cash, to my change jar? I figured quickly that the idea would work- after all, if I’m planning on spending say, $50 on groceries, find a great deal on most items, and save money with a few coupons and my members’ card at the store, then it’s money that I saved without really thinking about it.
Just last night, I purchased $43 worth of groceries, and without coupons, saved $11.18 since I had a member card at my local grocery store. After paying less than $32 at checkout, I took the cash left over and placed it in the change jar. Since we shop at our local grocery store due to the deals we often get based upon our member card, we always save at least 25% of retail costs, just buying things we would have bought anyhow. In the past, we just giggled in delight over the $7, $21, $35 in discounts off our purchases, but we never thought of taking the cash equivalent of our savings and actually applying it toward the change jar. Instead, we’d just think that our next trip to Wal-Mart to buy boot socks would be like getting them for free, or that now we can reward ourselves by going out to dinner.
But last night got me thinking, what if we acted like we spent the $43 instead of acting like we had $11 left over? That way, we would “spend” like we normally do while building up our change jar at the same time. Beyond that, the placement of the saved money into a change jar we don’t touch makes us less likely to take that extra dough left over and buy unneeded stuff just because we could. Into the change jar that money went, and we didn’t think about what else we could buy for that extra $11.
See how this works? Since we grocery shop twice a week, with an average savings of about $50, I can imagine that soon that change jar will be worthy of an ample savings’ account that will be great for a rainy day. Instead of blowing our savings, I’m going to print coupons to go with the stuff we buy anyhow to save even more money at the register and add to that discount we get at checkout already, simply to watch the funds in that change jar grow.
I’ll likely never end up like an extreme couponer, but I think doing this little thing will definitely turn that change jar (where we just toss any ones and change into daily from paying bills, buying gas and little things) into a real nest egg. I love finding new ways to add to money that we forget we have, which will eventually be money that we really need to use. If we keep it up, we may be pleasantly surprised by the cash we’ve stacked up, without cutting into our budget.