Have you ever heard the stories about people saving change and then use it to buy something big like a boat? I recently heard about a guy from Indiana who bought a 2008 Dodge Ram with change he saved for thirteen years, worth $26,670. These stories always inspire me, I guess because I once saved pennies when I was little to buy my beloved Timey Tell doll. For some reason the amount of $11.00 sticks in my head. I don’t know if that was the actual price, or if that’s what I paid towards it. Like I said, I was saving pennies, which I probably earned by doing little things around the house. I was probably about 4 or 5 when I bought Timey Tell. She was great. I was pretty much a tomboy when I was little, not much into baby dolls. But Timey Tell was different. She had this cool watch to set the time, then I pulled the string on her back, and she told me what time it was and what I was supposed to do. “It’s 8:00, it’s time for bed.” Come to think of it she was real bossy, always telling me what to do and reminding me of what time it was. Maybe that’s why I struggle with schedules and time restraints now. I have that little voice in my head saying, “It’s 9:00, it’s time to….it’s 10:00, it’s time to…come on, move, move, MOVE!!” Oh…sorry. Anniehow.
I did see first hand how saving a little over time can add up. But when I think about saving change now, it’s nearly impossible since I don’t use cash anymore. I like the convenience of my debit card. But then, I saw the commercial for the credit card that rounds your purchase up and deposits change into a savings account. Where do I get one of those?!?!? What a great idea!! But…I don’t use credit cards. So I came up with a plan. I could do this using my debit card!!
OK, before I explain this to you, I need to let you know something else about myself. About 10 years ago, I took some college classes and two of them were accounting. I’m really not a math/numbers kinda person, but I really caught on to this and I just love the concept of bookkeeping. Everything balances at the end and if it doesn’t you have to go back and search for that penny, dime or thousands of dollars that’s throwing you off. Anniehow…my little “virtual change” plan kind of brings out that geeky side of me. If you don’t like to balance your checkbook, you might want to stop here. Go check out my blog about how you can get free jewelry. 😉
So here’s what I do. I use my debit card for everything. I also then track all my purchases on Microsoft Money. When I enter in each purchase, I round it up to the next dollar. I code the actual purchase for what it is, and then code the “change” in a category I call rounded savings. It’s really good for when I pump gas. I could never stop the pump right on the dollar, so now every time I pump gas, I’m saving money. So at the end of the month I run a report of my “rounded savings” category and see how much I need to transfer into my savings account. The way I actually do this is at the end of the month I credit the rounded savings category and then debit it. This is then transferred to my savings account and the rounded savings category is back to $0 for the next month, and now I can actually balance the account. (OK, you’re now thinking you should of checked out that free jewelry) I know, it seems confusing, but I have saved about $25 dollars or more each month doing this, and I don’t miss it. This was very exciting to me, because it was a way to put money into savings very easily. Plus I looked forward to the end of the month, just to see how much I actually saved. Every little bit helps. I don’t have specific plans for my virtual change, it’s just nice to have a way to save easily.
photo courtesy of morguefile.com – author: cohdra