Welcome to Bossy’s Poverty Party, an online support group for reining in spending, getting your finances in order, and climbing out of debt. Everyone basically knows what steps to take, but it is nearly impossible to climb that mountain alone.
So nearly every day since September, Bossy has used this space to report her spending and missteps, along with cheap recipes, savings tips, and suggested tricks and goals. Click here for the first post.
When Bossy was first married, she and her husband moved in with Bossy’s father in Bossy’s childhood home which wasn’t a home at all but an apartment on the 19th floor.
This is distinctly different from the time Bossy lived with her dad while attending college, just like it was distinctly different from the time, one year after this scene, Bossy moved in with her dad in order to enroll in art school. In other words, Bossy can’t stop living with her dad. Which isn’t, in fact, what today’s Poverty Post is about, so we’re off to a blazing start!
Anyway. One day while passing the bedroom that used to belong to Kid Bossy but at that moment belonged to Grown Bossy and her husband and newborn baby, Bossy’s dad spied a mountain of discarded change on a bureau. “I never could understand that,” Bossy’s dad said. “Every morning I line my pocket with the change from the day before and I use it to pay for stuff. It’s amazing what change will buy.” And maybe he even added something along the lines of No wonder you’re so broke, fecking chuckleheads.
This bit of wisdom made sense to Bossy, and every day since she has made it a point to consider her change and use it up first when paying for something.
And you should too because you see how well things worked out for the Bossy family.
What’s funny, though, is the passion Bossy stirs whenever she speaks about her theory that change should be spent on a daily basis. Because suddenly thousands of change hoarders come out from under rocks to school Bossy on the benefits of sticking coins in a large jar until those coins accrue into the hundreds and then said change can be spent on Jimmy Choo shoes because = found money!
What say you?
acher saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:23 am
Hoard the change! My husband somehow has change pouring out of every orifice when he gets home from work, and it ends up all over the house- on the floor, on the sink in the bathroom, on my dresser… Anyway, we dump it into a decorative box and take it to the bank about once a year. It’s sometimes as much as $150, but always at least $75 or so. We use it as extra spending cash for a long weekend trip somewhere. (Since that is all we can afford in the way of a vacation)
Cat saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:24 am
Although I like the whole saving it up idea, it’s getting more difficult to exchange it for hard currency, and I would never consider using one of those money exchange machines that charge you 7%. This is why I’m like Bossy and Bossy’s dad in that I spend all of my change.
dgm saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:30 am
My change always falls to the bottom of my purse, so I’m inadvertently hoarding it there. Also, whenever my kids owe me money, they pay me in change so I just leave it on my dresser. My daughter just paid me $13.15 in change. We’re talking lots of dimes, with some quarters to round it all out.
S :) saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:34 am
We save in a gallon milk jug and when full take it to the bank and deposit it in our vacation saviings account. Luckily our bank has one of those coin machines that we can dump it in and it counts it and sorts it and we don’t have to pay a fee like you do at some places. Last year we saved over $250 with loose change.
krg saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:38 am
I save it and it;s about the only money I save! maybe I should convert everything into change so I would save more?
The Domestic Goddess saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:42 am
We save our change daily. Husband takes it to the bank once a month. It IS amazing…isn’t it? Nowadays, though, we line the kids’ piggy banks with our daily pocket change. So far, our eight-year-old has $400 in his account in ONE YEAR. It’s his when he graduates from college. I figure by then it will be a nice down payment.
courtneyryan saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:50 am
If it’s in my change purse, I’ll spend it, once the change purse gets full though it gets emptied into a jar in my bathroom and when that gets full, it goes to the bank for savings!
Except quarters, they go in a different jar for laundry money.
Lovelyn saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:58 am
We keep our change in stacks on the dining room table which I neatly re-stack during meals because they always get knocked down during the day. We just moved to the UK and I’m still not familiar enough with the coins here to get them out of my purse quickly enough to pay for anything. I’ll try paying with change at the grocery store today. The people behind me in line will just have to wait.
Kristi saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:00 am
Our large jar is called our BOAT FUND. Right now we couldn’t even afford a raft. A long time ago, though, and after about 3 years of making deposits into the jar, we saved over $400. Because we were moving at the time, we decided to take it to the bank instead of risk losing it in the move. Since then (about 10 years), we’ve gone and had 4 kids and our jar has been pretty neglected but we still make modest deposits into it. We’ve had to empty it and cash it out one other time when we moved to Korea. I can’t remember how much was in it that time. Right now, after about 4 years of saving, it has maybe a hundred bucks in it. Yep, that boat is sure to be a yacht one day.
hollygee saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:13 am
Pennies go into large plastic calcium supplement jars from Costco that I have cut a coin slot into. Our second one is almost full. I started saving them for pie weights (to blind bake a pie crust without puffed up sections) and then we kept going.
The partner saves his dimes and nickels for his daily coffee. I save the quarters for the laundromat.
Those pennies better keep on mounting up, it’s our only savings so far.
all things BD saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:18 am
We only save quarters, which turn into allowance money for the girls. I spend change daily, trying to come up with exact change whenever possible. It’s turned into some kind of challenge for me, so that I get noticeably upset if I don’t have correct change. What’s THAT about?
pkzcass saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:27 am
I’m a big fan of the “exact change” theory too. I hate holding up the line in Wawa looking for that nickel, but I’d rather do that than break a dollar. Makes me feel wealthier to have bills in my wallet instead of change. My husband, however, saves all his change and it does add up to a couple hundred dollars each time it’s full. He had a college roomate who wouldn’t pay for anything with change; says it made him feel like he was poor.
Cheri @ Blog This Mom! saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:37 am
I spend my change too. So unlike me, huh?
Cindy Z saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:41 am
I love my big change jar! It is currently empty becasue last year it was cashed in for vacation (between $200.00 and $300.00) and now we are so broke we have no change to save!
Kristine saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:46 am
We are change hoarders. We bought milk in glass bottles a few times and use those to save the change. A full one nets us between $75 and $100, and we generally reach that every 2 or 3 months.
Half Assed Kitchen saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:49 am
Oooh, I’m going to start this. Maybe I can use it for my wardrobe budget, so I don’t have to feel so guilty about buying clothes.
Dorrie saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:50 am
I do both. If the change amount is under .50, then I usually give exact change. I still end up with excess change in my purse, which is added to an old cookie jar. It takes about a year to fill up between me and my husband, who treats change the same way I do. When it is full, we take turns getting the money – one time him, the next me – and we get to do whatever we want with the money. When we cashed it in last year, we decided to put it in to savings.
corrie saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 10:57 am
I was thinking while reading your post about how you should save your change and keep it in a big bottle!!!
THEN you mentioned the passion your stir up with this conversation of spend change vs hoard… and there I was firmly in the HOARD column.
Though, not for shoes or anything else except that when we cash in our change the amount is always so surprisingly large, it’s fun! So to add some fun to your life, save your change and cash it in for $200 and pay down a card with a substantial check.
Maybe my threshold for fun is too low…
🙂 I voted today.
wendy saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:07 am
I’m a hoarder. Always have been. I keep loose change in an old candy dish above the kitchen sink. Once a year I take it to the bank and usually come out with $30 – $50. My kids bedroom floors are goldmines of loose change (and I say finders-keepers). Quarters are put aside for laundry tho.
blackbird saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:14 am
We end up with about $300 a year from our change can – of course my KIDS have no problem spending change first. MY CHANGE, FROM MY CHANGE CAN.
kdr saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:16 am
We have a hybrid system. We have change in the cubbies in each car and of course, all over the bottom of my purse. If the total of purchase comes out to xx.01 or xx.06 or something easy, I’ll dig the correct change out. Otherwise, pay with bills and chuck the change in the cubby or the bottom of my purse. Once the cubby is spilling coins into floor with every turn or my purse gets too heavy to lift, we put the change in our change jar. Once IT gets too heavy to lift, we tote it to the bank and have it counted. They don’t accept rolled coins but have a change counter that they don’t charge to use. Then that money goes into my savings acount, usually for spending money on vacation should we be so lucky as to get one of those. (Every once in a while it becomes a secret Amazon purchase. I have a very low Amazon control threshold.)
I have a friend who will puchase something and if the total comes out to xx.98, she will sit there and dig out 98 cents from her billfold. Makes me want to scream. Just get out the extra buck and take your 2 cents and get out of the way!!!
It’s a personal problem.
Laura saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:28 am
I hoard my change, then take it to the coinstar machine at a certain grocery store where you can use it to get e-certificates for Amazon or iTunes (other places too…those are just the only ones I get). If you get e-certificates they do NOT charge you the 8% counting fee. Then I can feel like I am getting free books or free music. 🙂
BH saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:40 am
Hey! I was a hoarder (to spend), then, at Bossy’s bossy urging, a spender. Then I woke up one day and realized we have no SAVINGS! So now I believe hoarding to save (IRA) is the way to go.
BH saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:43 am
Some of the quarters go in the car for the parking meters!
Julie saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:48 am
I was a waitress through college and so I know for sure – change is money, just like my credit card is money. (kidding) I’ve never understood people who don’t use it up for daily expenses or hoard it away for something fun. With those Coinstar machines in most grocery stores, it really couldn’t be easier.
Kelly at The Glass Dragonfly saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm
I’m a hoarder. My change is collected and then spent every so often on something fun. Something that isn’t in my normal budget.
Naomi saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:04 pm
we save it in a cute jar in the kitchen. When it’s full, cash it in and do something fun. I also use the change that collects in my car to get a soda at a drive through.
steph saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm
I have a hybrid system. Quarters and dimes stay in my wallet for use in vending machines. I keep no more than 4 pennies and 1 nickel in my wallet to be used for exact change (more than that would be redundant, you could use the next denomination up, 1 nickel for 5 pennies, 2 nickels for 1 dime). The rest of the pennies and nickels go into a jar to be cashed in when the money is really tight and I need my bananas or whatever at the grocery store. Sadly, I’m not kidding.
Martha in Kansas saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:18 pm
A guy at work got one of those change bottles that counts the money. The whole work gang checks the meters in the big parking garage for change. In one year we’ve accumulated $36, which we’re going to spend on pizza. This is money people simply left behind instead of taking time to check. Their loss is our pizza!
A friend and I were admiring those new flat wallets and I asked her what she thought one does with change, as there’s no change pocket. She reported that a young woman ahead of her in the check-out line simply tossed the change over her shoulder. Now see, I could never do that.
Renee in Seattle saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:29 pm
I do what you do, but I’m not sure the person at the Starbucks counter likes it when I hold up the line to dole out my nickels and pennies to round up from the 2 washingtons to the $4.80 my drink actually costs….
For the family, we use a change jar, but not to save, to spend on “treats” and the kids pilfer it on a daily basis to pay for things like popcorn day at school, pop from the vending machine, etc.
Renee in Seattle saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:34 pm
I just have to mention something here… my parents had NO MONEY, but they saved their change for years, and when I was a teenager we all sat down and rolled it and came up with $300, which was a LOT back then. They used it to open an account for me and gave me the money. It was the start-up money for my adulthood, and I will never forget it. It made all the difference.
MariaV saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:46 pm
My grandmother told me that you can tell if a person spends their money wisely by how much change they have/use. I’m not sure how true that is, but I find that I have been spending less since I started using my change. I break fewer of the large bills. I can’t explain it.
David saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm
I hoard it and take it to the Coin Plus machine at the supermarket every few months, and even though they do charge the 7%, I still end up with between $20 and $40 which goes towards groceries or pays for a month of laundry. It makes me very happy.
Debs saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm
I never, ever spend my change. Even if I have change and I have to pay for something that is 36 cents, I will pull out a dollar and use that, then save the change. The change eventually (after it gets kind of heavy in my purse) ends up in a big jar (or two). Then, eventually, I roll that money up and take it to the bank for paper money. I rolled up close to $400 once and that was sufficient to help out a lot on a vacation. It’s kind of like getting free money. I say save it, save it, save it. Then roll it.
Lora saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm
I like having a handful of change in my purse. Something about the weight of it makes me feel like I have a lot of money, when in reality it’s just a handful of pennies weighing me down. And recently, I discovered that not a single bank around here has a coin-counter anymore. I’m not going to pay 8% to the stupid Coinstar machine and I sure as hell am not going to start rolling my own quarters so I have started spending the change. And, yes, it is quite amazing what you can get for a handful of pennies.
liza saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm
I save the quarters. For laundry. So, I guess I don’t save it. I spend it.
Meredith saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 2:07 pm
We save it in a big Costco-sized coffee can. When full, we take it to the bank with the free coin counting machine and it yields between $200 and $250. I used this year’s stash to help pad the Christmas fund and keep it off the credit cards.
rockle saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 2:26 pm
i am of two minds on this. on the one hand, i do empty my wallet of change at least once per business day when it is time to buy a mountain dew from the vending machine. on the other hand, i should just buy 2-liters of soda and keep it at my desk instead of buying from the vending machine — and i could still buy those bottles with change! on yet another hand (yes, i am zaphod beeblebrox), it’s a lot of fun to save MY HUSBAND’s change in a giant can and then drink wine out of a box when the miss america pageant is on and heckle the contestants and wrap our quarters and then go to the bank and make a deposit.
so i guess it all depends on if you are talking about your personal change or your husband’s change, and whether you like wine out of a box.
Liz saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm
My roommate in my college years and I were always so poor we often scraped together nickels and pennies to go buy a hamburger when we couldn’t afford to eat. When we finally parted ways, he gave me a ceramic bowl and wrote “So you’ll always remember to save those pennies!” on the bottom.
Thus, I became a hoarder. But the saved coins always go into my (tiny) savings account. It’s really all I can spare to put in there, but at least it’s something.
cynthiagirl saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm
I don’t go to the bank for more spending money until I have spent every penny, nickel and dime in my wallet. Can’t believe how many hoarders there are out there. Wow.
tamela saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm
I’ve been hoarding change since college and my days waiting tables. I never turned my change in for dollars. Ahem….20 years later…you don’t want to know.
Stephanie saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 3:09 pm
Here’s the deal with the change machines…they only charge you if you get cash…if you trade the change for gift cards, you don’t have to pay the nutty % exchange fee; it’s free!!!
We have often traded the change for Lowe’s gift cards or JC Penney Gift cards, knowing full well in the next year, we’re going to need some new jeans or socks, or supplies from the hardware store, and when we do, bonus! We have a gift card to spend!!!
Philly saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm
I love my change can. It’s not huge, big enough to fit in my kitchen cabinet. When it gets full I cash in.
Last time, there was $70 in it, thank you very much.
Enough for a Cut and Color job.
janet saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm
My husband and I both used to put our change into the kids piggy banks each day. When they turned 18, they could crack the bank and have the change. Now that they are grown and gone, I rarely shop and so there isn’t much change. I spend my change, because I really LOVE that rare “free” diet coke that I can get just by DRIVING THRU! Three treats – drive thru, Diet Coke, and free!
Jen saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm
I have a vacation jar at work into which I throw my extra change from my pockets. The first time it got full, I took it home and rolled it up and found that I had $60 in there. I just emptied it again, but haven’t had the chance to roll it, so I can’t report on the amount this time, but I can tell you that the money saved is going to go toward a vacation.
Julie saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm
I was a waitress in college at a family ice cream place, so I’d often end up with change for tips. Some nights I’d come home with $10+ in change. I’d save some of the quarters for laundry/meters and deposit the rest into checking with the cash; so hoarding was not a habit for me.
In the last 6 years we almost never used cash so no change.
Now I try to use debit and get a bit of cash for non-plastic-friendly places so I do have change. I tend to spend every bit of it before breaking the next big bill.
caleal saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm
Uhm, I always attempt to save change. But then I always pick out the quarters because, well, a girl’s gotta have clean clothes. And, without quarters, it takes a long time for the change to matter.
So, for a while, I did that thing that all the banks are doing, except without a savings account. I rounded up all of the purchases I made with my debit card, and kept meticulous track in my checkbook. I didn’t ever, ever look at my statement (I think I would have someone else look at it to catch problems- most likely, my mom) and after six months or so I had over 100 dollars.
But then I needed all my money when I had my money, and became addicted to online banking, so it’s harder to try and do that now.
Rory saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm
We’re change hoarders. When we have a whole big passel of change Miss Carol rolls it and when we have a whole big bunch of rolls we do something fun like get a hotel room and play rock star.
Naomi saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm
We are semi-hoarders. Not yet full converts yet.
I have been trying to save ALL of my dimes as a part of my 101 in 1001 days and have failed miserably. Maybe I’ll start that again. (I’ll never spend a DIME … when I come across a DIME, I save it in a jar)
A friend of mine though saves her change for a year and then ONLY uses what has accumulated for her immediate family’s christmas gifts. Cool eh?
so NOT cool saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm
Umm, Bossy? This post is totally BLOWING MY MIND.
You see, I’ve been doing this for the past ten years: I never use change to pay for ANYTHING unless the product is in a vending machine. This forces us to accumulate LOTS of change, all of which we take to the bank when whatever receptacle we are using at the moment to collect it is full.
All this time, I’ve thought it a clever way to save money as my husband and I have probably stowed away close to $1000 each year. (It’s grown to $1000/year, starting out MUCH LESS.)
janny226 saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm
I love spending change, since things feel free, but usually we save it up and take it to the bank periodically. Right now it’s our primary way of saving for our son’s college. He’s only 6, but we’ve been talking up the benefits of our local community college. And part-time jobs.
From time to time I raid the quarters for parking meters, which reduces the value somewhat. We used to need the quarters for laundry but now our laundry room is so expensive it would be far too onerous for the workmen to empty the machines every day so it runs on cards. Which must be loaded with 5s, 10s, or 20s.
abby saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:31 pm
We always had one of those water cooler bottles in our house when I was a kid, and all of the change went into there. It had been around for probably 20 years when I was born. At one point my parents cashed it out and used it as a down payment on a house. They had to take a lot of the coins to a dealer because they were worth more than their face value ..
As an adult, I still have one, and even got one for my daughter for her 3rd birthday. She’s probably got $30-40 in there right now, including bills(who can resist a little kid asking for change to make her piggy bank go kathunk?). Mine has been emptied 4 times in 8 years, totaling about $800 … found money for new toys!
Kerry saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:00 pm
I started saving change in a jar a few years ago and typically save several hundred dollars in just a few months. Once you get into it, you’ll find it quite addictive 🙂
caro saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:04 pm
I got a giant plastic crayon piggy bank when I was 8 and always dreamed of filling it all the way to the top with change (it’s about 3 feet tall). I’ve never been able to fill it even to the middle of the crayon, but I’ve counted $60 every couple of years.
Laurel saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Everything in Canada less than a $5 bill is change so it grows rapidly in the wallet When you started your life in the role of a cashier you find it hard not to give the store some change so that you don’t end up with even more pennies (blech) Bottom line hoard a bit spend the small crap. Ya that’s me. PS voted twice today (shhh)
anne marie in philly saysJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:17 pm
change from spouse and I goes into a “vacation fund” bank pouch every evening.
the week before vacation, we take the pouch to the bank and run it through the coin counter.
we then use that money for tips, taxis, souvenirs.
Helen+ilana+Hi saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 2:27 am
Here in The Great White North change can run into k-ching really fast what with there being coins that are worth actual dollars, some of them even more than one in fact.
I spend mine.
The Mench collects dust on his dresser with his…… until eventually there’s enough there to accrue interest………..
and I take it for a walk …………….
to the store
— oops sorry did I say store….
— I meant bank
— really bank
Cynthia saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 9:36 am
Once a week I empty most of my change into a large jar. When a lot of change accumulates, I let my son tally it up and put it in wrappers. We then take it to the bank and deposit it into his account. Last year he had accumulated enough to open up a CD making sure to get the best interest rate available.
angie a saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 9:59 am
I hoard. My bank has a change machine that is free for bank customers to use ( they charge three dollars for non-bank customers ). We have separate containers for pennies and ‘silver’. We typically don’t spend change throughout the year. The last couple of years, we have accumulated between 200 and 400 dollars worth of change and use it for Christmas money.
halfdime saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 10:03 am
I do what Bossy does and spend my change. That prevents me from spending more by using my debt card and I am able to save more that way.
Angel in KY saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm
We throw the change in a jar……It never gets past about $100; as I take it to one of those machines in the grocery and use it to buy food…we lose a penny for every dime I think…..
Bridget saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm
I used to throw away pennies, but then my fiance and I started taking our change jar very seriously and started making goals for ourselves and then at the beginning of every summer we dump out our jar and use all our coins to help us buy tickets to Bonnaroo.
Also, my commitment to the Daily Poverty Party is probably causing future dementia: http://tinyurl.com/9ns3nq
the cheap chick saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm
As a former cashier/waitress/other-jobs-that-required-me-to-make-change, I am ALL ABOUT giving exact change. Because math is hard and hurts everyone’s heads.
Carla saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm
Wow! Reading some of these comments, maybe I should try saving my change. In reality, I’m a spender. It piles up in my change purse, and I spend it to cover the change before breaking larger bills.
My latest, or maybe I should say my only poverty post so far is at
Alissa saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 9:24 pm
Its money. I spend it.
Here’s an idea we are working on, though http://www.penniesforpeace.org/home.html
DebbyABQ saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 9:36 pm
My son has been hoarding change for over a year. While he was home for Christmas break, he rolled all of his coins and deposited over $193.00 in his bank account. I, on the other hand tend to collect it in my coin purse until it becomes very heavy and I spend it, just like regular money!!!
Amanda saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 10:27 pm
We do both. My hubby saved nickels, dimes, and pennies throughout college, and we counted it after we got engaged. It was over $400- enough to pay for my wedding ring! (He got lucky on the engagement ring, it was my great grandmother’s and he just gave it back to me!) Now we spend it if we need it, if not we save it for a while and periodically splurge on a really nice dinner, weekend trip, etc.
Kelly saysJanuary 8, 2009 at 10:38 pm
I spend change daily! My boyfriend is one of those people who never ever ever spend change and ends up with $2-$3 dollars in change like everyday which is just dumb because HELLO that’s a cup of coffee. So that’s what I do with that change 🙂
Erin saysJanuary 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm
We keep our change bucket in the laundry room, since I usually pull it from my husband’s pockets.
Here’s another poverty post:
The Dark Side of Coupons