Save Loose Change, Roll into Savings
Save Loose Change, Roll into Savings
October 15, 2003
The Plain Dealer
by Regina Brett
Everyone knows that a penny saved is a penny earned, but those pennies aren't earning anything stuck under couch cushions and car floor mats.
How many coins do you have sitting around? You would be surprised.
My husband keeps a plastic 5-gallon bottle, the kind that fits on an office water cooler, next to our dresser. He's the kind of guy who gets excited over finding a dime on the sidewalk. When we had a sidewalk block replaced in front of our house, he wanted to push a quarter into the wet cement just to see how many people like him would try to grab it.
Every night he empties his pocket change into the bottle. I used to roll my eyes, but as I saw the growing mountain of coins, I started adding to it.
Six years later, he rolled the full bottle onto our bathroom scale. Boing! It weighed 85 pounds. Those store machines that turn your coins into dollars take 9 percent of the money, so we found a bank willing to wrap and count it for $15.
The grand total?
I share this because next week is Roll Your Change Week, sponsored by Cleveland Saves. Why not get a head start?
Most of us fritter away a dollar here, $5 there, adding up to hundreds or thousands every year. I've watched Dr. Phil enough to know that when you have money problems, it's not about money. It's how you think about money.
Jay Seaton, executive vice president of Consumer Credit Counseling, will tell you it's how you behave with it.
"People think building wealth means winning the lottery," he said. "It's about what you do every day to add to your wealth."
It takes a change in your thinking and your behavior to get out of debt and create wealth. He recommends packing your lunch, borrowing movies and books from the library and paying $10 more on your minimum credit card payment.
George Barany, executive director of WEKO Fund, came up with the Roll Your Change Week when he heard there is $10.5 billion in loose change floating around America.
Barany and Seaton oversee Cleveland Saves, a nonprofit that receives money from the Cleveland, Gund and Ford foundations to help people save money and build wealth.
It's free to join, and here's what you get: Newsletters on how to save, free seminars, meetings with a savings coach, a celebration party for savers, a free 30-minute phone consultation with a financial planner.
The top four goals are to create an emergency fund, reduce debt, buy a home and save for retirement.
It all starts one coin at a time. And it doesn't matter what you earn. You can be broke on any income level. How do you find money to save? Cleveland Saves offers these tips:
Saving 50 cents a day in loose change adds up to $15 a month. Cut soda pop consumption by one liter a week; that's $6 a month. Bring lunch to work; that's $60 a month. Eat out two fewer times a month; you save $30. Bounce one less check; that's $20. Pay credit card bills on time to avoid a late fee of $25.
Start small. All next week, area banks and credit unions will gladly accept rolled coins. So take your change to the bank and send me any tips you have on saving.
I'll share your wealth of ideas in a future column.
To participate in Cleveland Saves, call 216-781-8090, or log onto www.clevelandsaves.org.
Primary Press Contact
The Consumer Federation of America
Attn: America Saves Campaign
1620 Eye St NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
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