Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Power of the $2 Jar

Call it the $2 Jar, the Piggy Bank for the shrapnel you have lying around in your pocket or purse, The Swear Box or the mattress stuffed full of cash... It might sound basic, but there's saving power in a jar in the cupboard for $2 coins. 

It's also something that's saved a few budgets! I was minded of it this morning when, having spent our all our very tight budget for the fortnight, my little daughter woke up with a major case of conjunctivitis. I was at my parents' house so Mum could babysit for the day, and, quite aside from Cara's comfort, which was pretty low at that point, I needed her eyes to be better in time for daycare on Thursday so we could get by for another two weeks.

Never fear: Out came the tin from the back of the larder. The spot where Mum chucks all her excess coins when her purse gets too heavy. I've lost count of the number of times it's saved the day! I was able to dash out to the chemist, get the necessary bits, and get on to work without too much disruption to my day.

Driving in to work, I remembered the story of a man who went from living on the streets to owning a multinational company with the simple decision one day that he would save every $2 coin he got in a jar and put it into starting his own business. It truly was an inspiring story of how one simple change rippled out and changed a man's life completely. He wrote a book about it, but I can't seem to find it for sale anywhere now. (Does anyone know where to get it?)

I think the point of this story is, there are always little things you can do which, over time, can change a great deal. It doesn't really matter what you keep that jar or money box for, making the decision to put all your 5c pieces in it, or all or some of any denomination of coin, you can actually save a surprising amount - for Christmas gifts, an education fund, emergencies or for starting your own business. 

I started a business once on nothing more than the $300 I'd put together with $2 coins in a money box, and my collection of hobby tools I'd gathered through my University years. It went on to do alright...

I also remember being horrified, many years ago, when my first boyfriend, who'd spent around five years collecting all his 5c pieces in an ice cream tub, decided he couldn't be bothered counting them or even taking them to the bank for counting by machine. He tossed the lot (which sort of describes the guy, really... ahh the benefit of 20/20 hindsight...) into the bin! I nearly had a heart attack. Just looking at the volume of the tub, there must've been between $50-$100 in there. Just dumped in a savings account, that could have earned some decent compound interest! Oh well. Some people have more money than sense...

Make a decision today: to start putting something away in a jar for a rainy day. Have a goal. What is it for? When can you open the jar to use it? Christmas? Birthdays? 

It doesn't matter if they're the smallest denomination coins your country has. It will still make a difference.

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