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SMART COOKIES

The coin-jar approach to saving Add to ...

Every spring, the women in Stacy Benmore’s family head over to Vancouver Island for a spa weekend. All year, the Vancouver woman saves her toonies in a bucket specifically for this trip. For the past three years, she’s saved an average of $350, more than half the cost of the weekend.

“Anyone who saves their change will be really surprised how fast it adds up,” says Barb Stark, of Lora Bay, Ont. She started putting away loonies and toonies years ago as a way to save up for Christmas with two small children.

The first year, she collected close to $1,000 – more than enough for the season. She was hooked on this method of saving for special goals, and earmarks her coin collection for something different every year. One year, it funded the purchase of the family dog. This year it’s a weekend getaway with her husband.

Ms. Stark goes to the bank once a month to take out a set amount of cash for everyday spending. When she gets change from a purchase, it goes straight into the glass jar on her desk. It feels good to watch your savings grow, she says, and makes you think more about what you’re spending your money on. When you’re handed change, you can either drop the $2 on a bag of pretzels, or move one small step closer to your goal.

Inspired by these two women, I’ve started a little coin jar of my own. It may take some time to grow my change pile, since I only use cash for smaller purchases, but in less than two weeks I’m already $12 closer to a spa getaway of my own.



Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at globeinvestor.com.

 

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