Don't lose your loose change
We all have some--in a jar on the dresser, in a desk drawer, in the car, maybe even in the cushions of the couch. Loose change accumulates in various locations of our household. It's money saved, but it is not working for us.
Did you know that the average family accumulates about $99 in loose change each year? The U.S. Treasury estimates that $15 billion dollars in loose change is sitting unproductively in homes and cars across America--and not a nickel of that money earns interest.
By gathering up that loose change and depositing it in a financial institution it can work by earning interest. Even if it seems the interest won't amount to much, the money will be safe and won't get spent on unnecessary purchases.
So, empty the change out of your pocket at the end of the day. When the coin container gets full, sort out the coins and wrap with the appropriate coin wrappers. Take the money to the bank and deposit it straight into your account, as opposed to trading for paper cash and spending it!
Be wary of the automatic coin counting machines at grocery stores and other locations. They typically keep 7-9 percent of your money -- that's $7.00 to $9.00 of the approximately $100 it took you a year to accumulate.
It all starts one coin at a time. Saving 50 cents a day in loose change adds up to $15 a month. Cut soda pop consumption by one liter a week -- that's $6 a month. Take food from home for lunch at work -- that's $60 a month. Eat out two fewer times a month--you might save $30 or more. Bounce one less check -- that's $20. Pay credit card bills on time to avoid a late fee of $25.
For more great ideas on saving money, check out "http://www.feedthepig.org" www.feedthepig.org. It's a website sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The Advertising Council. There you'll meet Benjamin, the pig, and find many useful and practical tips for stretching and saving money.
Also, you can become a Kansas Saver at "http://www.americasaves.org/kansas" www.americasaves.org/kansas. Savers can enroll via the Internet and receive periodic newsletters and information. Savers can determine the purpose for which they need to save and develop a plan for meeting their goal. Kansas Saves is a part of America Saves, a national campaign involving more than 1,000 non-profit, government, and corporate groups that encourages individuals and families to save and build personal wealth. It provides resources to help people who want to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, save for a home, save for an education, or save for retirement.
Wealth isn't necessarily made by a salary. People can be broke on any income level. Even in tough economic times, small changes made today can mean big bucks in the future.
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Bourbon County. She may be reached at (620) 223-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.