Today I have a budgeting tip for you! Last time it was a few tips to help you get started using a cash based budget. This one tips is a great way to save just a little on the side with very little effort.

Using cash instead of credit cards or even debit cards has been happening in our family for roughly 11 years. I don’t really know if it would have happened had we not been forced to change our spending habits.

Forced? – you ask. Yep. See, here’s what happened. In 2004 my wonderful husband took a promotion that had us moving to Alberta, Canada. (Beautiful place, by the way!) Never having done the ex-pat thing before, and being given a rookie coordinator to handle our move, made for a few surprises before we even crossed the boarder.  Like…… having to have the titles to both of our vehicles.  Ouch!

Another surprise we found out a few months later was after a certain number of debit purchases, we were getting charged for each additional swipe. Eek!! While the charges weren’t huge individually, they really added up after awhile. Especially, for this young American couple who hadn’t had to think about something like that before. This was one of the biggest pushes to switch to a cash budgeting system.

Fast forward to 2016, our family is still using a mostly cash based budget. We keep our cash in our system of SpendVelopes, but there’s always been one little problem –

Where do you keep the change?

It used to be the change got put in the envelope with the paper cash. I’m sure you can see the issues that arose with this method. It all got very clunky and messy quickly.  (Not to mention heavy.)  And made for a couple of tense moments when we were in a hurry.

Here’s a simple, simple fix for the change situation in your life.

Too easy? Maybe.

Effective? Absolutely!

Oh, sure, you can upgrade your container from a jar to something prettier, but it will work just the same. The biggest thing to remember is to actually USE the jar.

Here are 3 tips to help keep you on track and make it even easier!

1) Have a Designated Spot

In our home there are actually four change spots, but the main change jar is located where we drop the mail, keys, purse and library books. This has been the set up for years in our previous home and carried over easily and perfectly to our new home here in Texas. It’s an automatic for all of us to go straight to the jar whenever there is change needing to be corralled.

The other three places we have jars are in the master closet, laundry room and a pocket in my purse. Every so often these smaller ‘jars’ are emptied into the main one.

2) Have a Purpose

Life is much better and easier with purpose, and that is never more true than with money.

Many people use this money toward paying some bills down the road, general savings, a special purchase or even to help with an upcoming vacation. I encourage you to have your purpose in mind for what this money will eventually be used toward. It helps keep the change in the jar when there is a goal instead of grabbing a handful out and spending it on fast food. {Yep, guilty!}

What do we use it for? Typically, we use it toward a fun family outing, now that we have all our debt paid. Something pretty simple – a movie, a bowling outing, or just something fun for the family to share at home. This really gets the kids motivated to put any extra change they find in the jar when they know we all get a more tangible benefit from it.

Kung Fu Panda 3 Family Outing

3) Have a FREE Exchange Location

This may not be possible, but I encourage you to not take it that kiosk at your local grocery store to convert your savings from coin to paper. Sure it’s convenient, but it also comes with an almost 10.9% fee! So, essentially, you get to pay them $11 for every $100 of your money. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep my money in my pocket. You could get around this fee by exchanging it for gift cards at some of these kiosks, but that limits you when your purpose may be something other than a dinner out.

Look to your local bank anytime you have money to exchange. We asked lots of questions when we opened our new account after moving. One of those questions was whether they had a change counter since we had two big bags of change. And it pays to ask!! I would have had no idea the bank charges to exchange on Mondays and Fridays – their busiest days. Obviously, I avoided those two days and was able to turn the saved change into paper cash for FREE.

$273 in change to bills!

While this is an unusual amount for us to have, I could have paid almost $30 in fees going somewhere else had I not done my homework!

Instead, there was enough money to buy one of the pieces of furniture we had on our ‘To Purchase’ list.

Do you save your change? Any other tips you have to share? Feel free to comment below or join the conversation over on Facebook!

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