• Like a bad penny, debt always turns up…

    unless we change how we interact with money, of course!

    The Bad Penny is dedicated to two pursuits: getting out of debt and staying out of debt! It recognizes that frugality and caring for our planet go hand in hand, and that our unsatiated need for stuff is hurting us in so many ways.

    Easier said than done!


    I am not a finance professional. I write about the world as I know it, and my advice may not be the best course of action for you! Please seek qualified advice for your particular situation.

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A Little Savings Can Go a Long Way

My son has discovered money.

Now, he’s only two, and he hasn’t figured out money will allow him to take all those toys home from the toy store. But he does know two things:

1. Coins can be put in a video game or crane machine for a bouncy ball.

2. Coins can be put in a bank (though I think the pleasure lies solely in the actual act of putting the coins in.)

In fact, we just went to Cici’s Pizza last night, where the all-you-can-eat salad and pizza buffet is only $5 a person. In the back, there’s a game room, and it’s been a tradition for us to go and spend a quarter to get a small bouncy ball. After this, my son is usually just as happy “driving” the race car simulation game as anything, and we just let him play on the introduction without putting money in!

But I’ve noticed that when we get home, my son really likes to put his coins in his bank. Once his coins are all deposited, he begs us for more. So I’ve taken to saving my change to give to him.

And while saving change seems like a small thing to do, it’s actually very effective, especially when you are saving for something! I actually have my own change bank, which I emptied out right before we moved. After just a few months, I had $40 when I emptied it!

This was effective, but it was so easy to raid my piggy bank when I knew I’d want a Pepsi from the church vending machine or when we were taking the toll highway. I didn’t have a goal to save for, so the change was available for every whim. I’m sure I would have saved more if I hadn’t been playing the Viking!

Giving the coins to my son changed that. It’s absolutely gratifying and terribly fun to see how excited he gets putting a few pennies and nickels into his bank. And I feel like when it’s in his bank, it’s his money, so I don’t dare take any!

I don’t know what we’ll do with the money – maybe we’ll save it up for something big he’ll need in the future, but because it’s his it will stay there – except for when we go to the bank and deposit it into his savings account.

I’m still using my coin bank, but I’m also still raiding it. What would motivate you not to spend the money? Where could you put your extra coins when the day is done so they actually add up? If you don’t have a child, would a picture of what you are saving for motivate you to keep your hands off? What about a bank you’d have to break to open?


One Response

  1. I used to have a big jar of change saved for a trip to Bora Bora. I put a picture on there and wrote, “Take me to Bora Bora” and I was amazing about not raiding it.

    Then it got stolen when we moved and left it in a not-very-smart place while we went out for pizza.

    Now I raid the little cup I have for diet coke …

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