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Throwing money away — literally

July 1, 2013 - Jodelle Greiner
Ping!... Ping!!... Ping! Ping!.... PING!!!

We quickly tracked the metal on metal sound to the desk in the corner. I can still see it: my sports editor’s blond head bent over the trash can and ping! ping! ping! as he threw each penny in the trash.

We all asked him why he was throwing pennies away. “They’re not worth anything,” he replied.

We all chided him, but it made no difference, he continued to throw pennies in the trash. I’ve often wondered if he learned the value of cold, hard change.

Ben Franklin said “A penny saved is a penny earned.” I say “A penny saved adds up.”

I forget where I heard this tip, but the suggestion was every time you pay for anything — a latte, newspaper, lunch — pay with folding money and pocket the change. At the end of the day, empty your pockets and purse and put all your change in a container. At the end of the month, take it to the bank and put it in a separate account. Don’t put anything else in that account, just your change; and don’t take anything out. At the end of 12 months, see how much it adds up.

I’ve heard of people doing this and saving enough to take a vacation. You can also label that account your child’s college fund, and just keep putting money into it until your child is ready to leave the nest.

If you don’t want to wait a year to spend it, you can use the monthly total to buy yourself a treat; maybe a nice bouquet of flowers or a gym membership. You can also use the stash to pay for necessary items, like the laundromat, toll fares or gas. Not as much fun, I admit, but then it’s like you’re paying the bills with “found” money.

No matter how you decide to spend it, it’s much better than throwing it away.


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