Thrifty Thursday: Start a change jar

About a year ago, my husband and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class and it was life-changing for us. One of Dave’s big recommendations is that you use a “cash only” system for paying for things. At first this was an adjustment for us, but we quickly realized how much money we had LEFT at the end of the month when we started doing this. It was powerful.

Going to a “cash only” system meant that we did a “cash only” vacation last year (we used some of our cash to purchase gift cards beforehand so it was a bit “safer”) and that was the first vacation where we’ve ever come home with money left (it was $150 to be exact if I’m remembering correctly).

We also managed to do a “100% Cash Christmas” this year and I shared in my post here that we plan to do the same thing again this year. Planning for a 100% Cash Christmas means you need to start NOW. Some of you may be thinking “No big deal. We’ll set aside X amount of money each month and that’s how we can save for Christmas.” We tried that. But for us, I found that each month, Christmas seemed pretty far away and we needed that money from our monthly paychecks NOW for other things. Sound familiar? We decided that in saving up our cash for Christmas, we weren’t going to touch our monthly paychecks. We managed to do this last year and it worked and I’m hoping we’ll be able to do it again this year.

One of the things that we decided to do this year was to start a change jar. Using cash only to pay for things, we found out that sometimes we ended up with a lot of change at the end of the day. To be honest, I found myself leaving it in my car so that I could treat myself to a $.99 Sonic drink from time to time in the mornings or using it to buy a “treat” from the vending machine at work from time to time. With my new weight loss plan, I decided I don’t need to be doing those things anymore anyway. So, about a month ago, my husband and I decided to start a change jar.

I counted the change yesterday and I was surprised at how quickly those pennies, nickels, and dimes could add up! We had almost $30 in there already! Our plan is to just let the change accumulate throughout the year and then “cash it out” in early November so we have the money for our Christmas spending. I know several people who have found that they can easily save $200-300 throughout the year by doing this.

If you decide to take on this challenge, let me know how it goes!

Do you have your own Thrifty Thursday tip to share? Feel free to link up below!

For more thrifty ideas, check out The Coupon Teacher and Life as a Mom.


  1. We have a change jar, too! I think that's a great idea to save it for Christmas next year. I'll have to try to keep my husband out of it though!

  2. We have a change jar and are switching slowly to dave ramsey. I linked to my blog. I am still writing my entry for today but it is on saving for our kids. Lunch time so it will be up soon

  3. Coupon Teacher says:

    Thanks for the tip! I have several changes spots around my house! Thank you for linking up.

  4. This is a great idea. We save all of our change, but it all goes into our son's piggy bank. He turned a year old in December and he has at least a dollar for every day he has been alive.

  5. Great post!! Just wanted to let you know that I've included it (linked to it) on "This 'n That Thursday" at my blog.