Monday, October 15, 2007

Change Is Good

Today I stopped for gasoline and when stepped out of the van I thought I heard change falling. When I looked down, I saw a bunch of pennies. Hell yeah, I bent over and picked them up. All 24 of them.

Now, why would someone toss them out intentionally? Just because they were pennies and practically "worthless"? I wonder if they'd have thrown a quarter away as carelessly.

And if not intentionally, how could they not notice they'd accidentally dropped them? That many pennies make a bit of noise when they hit the ground. Did they just not care to take the time to pick them back up? Could they have lost a couple of bills along with change? I didn't find any, but maybe someone else did.

So, somebody lost some change. You might be thinking that it's no big deal. But I think it is. Tossing coins around carelessly or shoving wadded up bills into whatever pocket is handy shows a deep disrespect for money. Those who treat their money this way obviously don't care how much money they have or where it goes. It's likely they handle their bank accounts and credit accounts with the same apathetic attitude.

Have a compartment in your billfold for paper money, and another one for coins. If you can't abide carrying change around, toss it in the (hopefully clean) ashtray of your car. Then every chance you get, dump your coins into a larger container at home. When it gets full, deposit the change into either your regular bank account or a special one set up just for coin deposits. You'll be surprised how quickly your change adds up, even when it's mostly pennies.

Be sure to check with your bank before showing up with a sack load of coins, though. Some banks require you roll them first, while others won't take them if they are rolled. My own bank will only take up to $30 in unrolled coins without charging a percentage to "spin" them for me. Another bank here will spin as much as I have for free, although I don't even have an account with them. If all else fails, check your local grocery store. Some have coin counting machines. For a small percentage, you can pour your coins into the machine, have them counted and take the resulting receipt to the customer service department to receive your cash.

Money, like anything else in your possession, deserves good stewardship. When you have a place designated for your change and folding money, chances are you're keeping close track of ALL of your assets, not just those in your wallet.


Gay said...

Bank of America has an option called "Keep The Change." Every time we use a debit card, the amount of the purchase is rounded UP to the nearest dollar and the difference is transferred into the savings account. The Bank matches a percentage at the end of the year. It's amazing how those few pennies add up!

Tug said...

My brother had some friends that put their change in a big water jug (5 gallon maybe?)...they cash it in every year or 2, depending, and go on a NICE vacation - Hawaii, Mexico, they've had some pretty nice vacations paid for with 'change'!

Green Panda said...

I definately agree that how you treat your small change is a sign of how you view your money. I put the change in the jar at home or in my 'snack bag' at work. Little things do add up. THanks for the post.

Annie Jones said...

Gay: I think that's a great idea. I wish more banks would offer it.

Tug: That's a good chunk o' change! Since the advent of debit cards we don't have nearly as much loose change in our pockets, but it still adds up.

Green Panda: I'd be curious to see how making that one change of habit...showing respect for physical money...would change someone's financial outlook overall. I'm sure it would only improve. Thanks for stopping by!