Turn your spare change into something useful
When I was growing up, my father would tell me to save every bit of spare change, and that eventually it would add up to something. As a child, there was truth to that. While I didn’t have all that much money to spend (or make change with) in the first place, a year’s worth of collected change could buy me something that was valuable to a kid.
Today, that advice seems hopelessly old-fashioned. Even if spare change did add up to something, we hardly ever have an opportunity to keep it. Buying with a debit or credit card, you’re never going to have to make change after all.
However, don’t let that stop you. There are now apps which help you save money by keeping what would, in days gone by, count as change. Check out this Acorn app review made by Investor Junkie to see exactly how it works. Basically, it rounds what you spend up to the nearest dollar (or more, depending on your settings), and saves the difference.
It might not seem like much. But with the amount of purchases you make every month, it eventually does start adding up. And, more importantly, there are ways to use that “spare change” to actually make a difference in your life.
One option is to invest it. Chances are, you’re not going to miss the money you have saved in “spare change”. You can basically do whatever you want with it and it won’t come back to bite you. So, even if you’ve never invested before, this is the perfect way to dip your toe in.
With robo-advisors and brokers that require no minimum investment, you don’t have to have any experience to start investing. You don’t even need all that much time. An hour every so often will be enough to get you going with your very first investment. If it works out with the change you’ve saved, you can consider investing a more sizable amount.
On the flipside, you could save money by actually spending your spare change. We all have moments of impulsivity. I probably buy at least one item on impulse every month. It doesn’t seem like much in the moment, but afterwards I often regret it.
These days, instead of immediately giving into my impulsivity, I take an extra step. I check to see if I have enough “spare change” to pay for the item. If I do, I buy it, and feel satisfied with this outlet for my impulsive spending. If I don’t, I’ll leave it, knowing that something else will come along that will be just as satisfying.
It’s a good way of keeping my impulsivity in check and stopping myself from spending on one impulse buy after another. Basically, by saving my “spare change”, I’m effectively budgeting for impulse spending.
Incidentally, there is a whole field dedicated to financial and investment psychology. It’s our psychology that ultimately trips us up even when we’re doing a good job at budgeting, and you need to take it into account.
“Spare change” might not be a real thing anymore. But what is? With virtual spare change, you can actually make some improvements and increase your savings.