Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why I Collect Pennies: 6 Reasons for Loving Petty Cash

In a world of high finance, my hunt for pennies seems petty. Even my children laugh when I make a big deal about finding a penny on the rug or under a cushion. But my petty cash pursuit is driven by high-finance dreams and lofty personal goals

Here are 6 reasons why I collect pennies

  • # 1 Household purge: I'm not looking to collect enough pennies to become a millionaire, but I am trying to cut through the clutter in my home. As I look for pennies in odd corners, I also tidy up. And while searching for pennies, I've found other valuables around the house: jewelry, important contact information and other useful items.

  • # 2 Small change adds up: My parents once collected $275 in nickles, which served as a handsome gift for my oldest son. Following their example, I've been stashing away loose change from random corners of my home. And while collecting copper pennies, I've also found lots of silver and a handful of bills.

  • # 3 Education: My penny pursuit also provides a personal finance lesson for my kids about the value of accumulation and organization. Related story: My Teenage Son Paid Me 16 Cents To Clean His Room

  • #4 Monetary mind games: Collecting pennies is like performing sit-ups: This financial maneuver warms up my monetary muscles for bigger endeavors. When I'm mindful about pennies, I'm more careful about dollars.

  • # 5 Easy goals: It's so easy to find and collect loose change around the home. Hitting an easy target provides momentum for other achievements.

  • # 6 Hope: It's so corny and it sounds like something from a "Pennies from Heaven" letter in a Dear Abby column. But when I'm feeling depressed about financial, personal, professional or creative goals, finding a penny feels like a rich serving of ice cream. Each penny reminds me that success comes in little steps. I remember that saving and achieving is a constant process and I realize that with each small coin, I'm really richer than I was before.
Previous Posts
Be Careful on Hotel & Public Computers: Criminal Busted for Major Fraud
Happy MLK Day! A News Roundup
Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is the author of The Frugal Duchess of South Beach: How to Live Well and Save Money... Anywhere!, which will be published in the Spring of 2008 by DPL Press.


Anonymous said...

I love picking up pennies... it always brings a smile to my face. It is just fun for some reason... probably some psychological flashback to childhood and the joy finding a penny brought at that age.
Anyway, I save all our change in a big pickle jar and cash it in usually once a year.
It usually accumulates to a few hundred dollars.
Can't beat that for and easy way to save...
In the past we would use it for some sort of splurge item, but now days we will throw it into our brokerage account.

Marcus Aurelius said...

I in no way consider picking up coins a trivial affair.

My wife and I keep four coffee cans, two large ones and two small ones. I place dollar bills in one large can and quarters and dimes in another.

Nickels and pennies each have their own small coffee can and we just started the dollar bill can. Pretty soon, I think I will take that in and make them into $20 bills and put them in our fire proof safe, it is a good idea have a little cash stash in the house.

I don't cash in annually (necessarily) but when the cans fill.

The last time we cashed our cans in (at that time I had a silver can & a penny can) was in late 2005 and while I forgot the exact amount it was in the $300-$500 range and came in great use during our trip to the Philippines. Furthermore, my wife surprised me with about $1,000 of $20 bills she had saved.

Right now the penny can is about ready to be turned in, I expect $13.00 or so in it (I will inspect each penny for wheats first, I usually find one or two that make it past my initial inspection). Not a whole lot of money but it is a bonus case of beer or a haircut.

Anonymous said...

I collect pennies when I was a kid until my teenage years..Well these reasons you share are good reasons to make a better savings. Thanks for sharing this post in your blog. :)

No Debt Plan said...

My wife always makes fun of me because I pick up pennies on the road and in parking lots.

A penny saved is a penny earned, right?

Suzanne said...

I love this post! I dump all of my wallet change into a glass gallon apple juice jar and still have envelopes filled with sorted change from a move a few years back when I emptied my last apple juice jar. I also tuck bills that I find in my pockets into special boxes and use that as a stash for future who knows what. All of this doesn't amount to a whole lot, but you're right, it does add up and gives me some sense of security.

When I find a coin on the the ground or a counter and there's someone nearby, I usually hand it to the other person and say "You're rich!"

Margo said...

Love the "my son paid me 16 cents to clean his room" comment.

My apartment is in an old house and 4 of us share the laundry. My neighbor pays me to move his laundry from the washer to the dryer! Usually 10 to 50 cents at a time.