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Hip2Save This Holiday: Small Change Means BIG Savings

8:51 PM MST
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Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post Submitted By Reader Gill…

The holidays are all about giving and receiving but sometimes the money you saved throughout the year has vanished due to unexpected events. To provide you with a little perspective, I will share my personal story. Last year, my husband and I had to use our holiday savings to purchase furniture for our new apartment. I so desperately did not want to use it but we really had no choice. I’m a girl, so we are all about gifts, but for my husband, giving him a kiss and a hug would suffice as a gift. (I know, too cute!) I can’t help myself when the holidays approach, I mean who can? It’s once a year and all about making family and friends happy. I was on a mission to solve the problem of coming up empty handed so I had to think fast and smart.

I decided every night my husband and I would empty all our change into a jar and not touch any of it until the holiday season. It would surprise many the amount of change we carry and the amount we drop but might never pick up. We live in DC and dollar coins are everywhere but we never seem to use them.

It may seem small and not very substantial but when changing the coins into cash, it really puts a smile on one’s face. Roughly four months after doing this, my husband and I collected $275. To many it may not seem like a lot but think how much can be collected over a year’s time! It really is a great way to accumulate money for the holiday season without trying too hard to save or squeeze.

Plus, I sold a few textbooks/books online at The site is a subsidiary of eBay, where sellers can only sell books, movies, CDs, and video games with a UPC, ISBN, or SKU code. The best part is that there is no charge to post on their website, however they do take a nominal fee depending on the price the item is sold at. It really is a great website to sell items that we will never use again. So, by collecting coins and selling a few items our total rose to $600. Not bad, especially when we added our work bonuses. We really saved ourselves last year and we look forward to seeing what our coin collection has brought upon us this wonderful holiday season! I’m feelin’ lucky!

For more information on my Hip2Save This Holiday series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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  • Karen says:

    I’ve been checking out the deals for Coinstar, too, trying to turn my change into even more money. You’re right about those dollar coins. They do make cool jewelry though.

  • zaza says:

    I use my coins to lessen my out of pocket expense. i feel its wiser to use the coins instead of breaking a dollar to pay .35 cents for tax. that is how i save. just sharing! :) i would want to hear some opinion too :)

    • Sarah says:

      I do this, too. Tonight, my grocery store purchase was such and such and 14 cents, and I happened to have 14 cents, so I used it rather than breaking a dollar. Although, technically, it isn’t saving money. You come out the same in the end either way, as long as the change gets used.

  • Lacey says:

    That is awesome, Kimberly! Every year starting usually in August I put any extra quarters and paper money I have left over from a shopping trip or at the end of the week. This year we had $417.59 from change to go Christmas shopping on Black Friday. I highly recommend it! :)

  • Kenia says:

    I do the same thing and this year used it for Black Friday. I even had some money left over which I will use for the stocking stuffers for my girls. We already started gathering our change for next year!!!

  • Carol says:

    That’s great! I have one question though, the first thing that came to mind when I started reading was where did you buy new furniture? If it were me I would’ve gone to yard sales or the Goodwill if I had no furniture, instead of using all my Christmas money. I’m not judging, just curious if you bought brand new furniture because it is outrageously priced these days.

    • Rose says:

      furniture if it was couch and chairs for livingroom I would not buy used I have a fear of bringing bugs into the house.

    • Tara says:

      I would fear bed bugs, too.

    • Michelle M says:

      I also needed a new couch and mattresses this summer and could not buy used because bed bugs are rampant in my area. So we had to shell out extra money for brand new stuff.

    • Tonya says:

      yeah used furniture is great for wood or metal. Fabric stuff just seems too risky in the sanitary department. Can only clean a used couch cushion or mattress so wel!l And reupholstering is pricey now. We went like 6 months with no furniture and it was miserable. We finally saved up for a $200 couch and its so cheaply made that we hardly sit on it bc it hurts us lol. You do what you’ve got to do tho, right?! <3

    • Heather Nicosia says:

      I also wouldnt buy used furniture unless it was wood. To many things can happen in a used bed.. and thats all I would be thinking about. YIKES! Not to mention the scare of bed bugs or allergies to pet hair or smoke.

      • Kim says:

        Unfortunately, bed bugs can live on or lay eggs on wood or in the crevices of wood furniture. Be extra careful anytime you bring ANYTHING used home (clothes, linens, furniture, etc.). Since we unfortunately dealt with bed bugs two years ago I am extra careful about anything that comes into the house! They can even ride in on your shoes! And sadly, being clean doesn’t prevent an outbreak. In fact, the exterminator told us they prefer clean homes without a lot of clutter. Anyways, great post/idea with the loose change. I’ll definitely try this and see how much I can save!

    • Dawn says:

      There is NOTHING wrong with used furniture. I would not get a mattress or sofa, but there is a lot more furniture to fill an apartment than just a mattress and sofa. I’ve never had a problem with used furniture. BIG money saver, I would do that rather than take away my kids Christmas money and then HOPE I can come up with more.

  • JAX says:

    I’ve been doing something a little different this year – I’ve been picking up those single pennies left on sidewalks everywhere – and am putting them in a special jar — next week I’m going to go see how much $$ other people have left for me…

    • Susie says:

      We collected “found money” one year. It amounted to just over $21. We treated ourselves to ice cream on our trip to Disneyland (the rest of our snacks we brought in). It was a treat…and like you said…it was what “others” left for us!

  • Michelle M says:

    Saving change for Christmas is a wonderful story called “Christmas Jars” by Jason Wright. VERY UPLIFTING!! Love the message.

  • cindy says:

    That’s a great idea. Very smart.

  • Priya says:

    Aww, yay! This is amazing! Thanks for inspiring!

  • Sarah says:

    You can sell textbooks back on Amazon, too, for an Amazon gift card. Some books aren’t that great of a deal to sell back (only a few $) but others will get you a fair amount. Sometimes you can even break even because they are offering so much. That is the exception rather than the rule, but most of the time it works out to having paid about $20ish for each textbook, which isn’t bad considering it would be way more expensive to rent the book (usually).

    • tanja says:

      i always sell my school books back. I buy them used on a school website and sell them on amazon when I don’t need them anymore. last course I paid 68 dollars for a book shipped, and I sold it for 90 an amazon. Score! :)

  • Whitney says:

    My husband and I save our change for our vacation fund. We actually just cashed it in last week and it was $962!!!! We have a cruise booked for January (very cheap time of the year to cruise) so all of that extra money will come in handy for our excursions and shopping.

    • Nancy says:

      Can you tell me what website you book your cruise? I was thinking of finding a cheap deal so I can send my parents off on a cruise for Christmas. Thanks!

      • Sherri says:

        My husband and I went on a cruise for our 25th anniversary in June. We went through vacations to go (online) and got an amazing deal. The week of the cruise we got a phone call from Carnival that we were upgraded to a grand suite because they hadn’t booked all the rooms and we were past guest with them several times. We have also found sometimes going directly through the actual cruise line can save money if it is a last minute booking (leavin within 90 days or less). I know many who have used vacations to go and have found amazing deals as well, hope it helps.

    • Tonya says:

      Congrats! Great idea and I hope you two have fun!

  • MommySpendsLess says:

    My mom and stepdad have been doing something very similar. They don’t spend their change during the day (they always break bills to pay for things) and every evening they deposited it into a big jug. They saved over $500 in less than a year for a short vacation.

    I also made a pact to save one bill each week, at least a five, sometimes a ten or twenty. It’s been a very helpful fund for minor emergencies when otherwise the unexpected expense would really hurt the weekly budget.

    • Lauren says:

      I’ve been trying to do that too! Set aside $10-$20 each paycheck, we recently had our car break down 4 times in a row and the cost was over $4000 to repair, thankfully I had 2 years worth of that “extra” tucked away to cover most of it!

  • Jessy says:

    My husband and I save change…and I admit I will break a dollar even if it is a penny over because I know I am saving!!…and we roll it as a family. I take my 6yo daughter to the bank and we deposit it all into her savings account. She loves it, I love it, and it’s amazing that we have $100-200 every couple months that is completely unaccounted for! :)

    • Susie says:

      We had a “rolling party” when the kids were young. We had saved over $500 in change….(toward a Disney trip). We all guessed on the amount before we stated to roll….closest to the amount got $5 for spending money. It was fun. The kids are adults now…but both remember that.

    • S says:

      My parents did that when I was growing up and it was awesome. I’m 27, and they seriously did it until I was about 20!

  • Nicole says:

    I would have not gotten through college without it is a textbook search engine that checks every site (, textbooksrus etc) and gives you all the prices. It also has the sell back search engine where you can check to see which sites will give you the most back for your book. This site saved me tons of money and time while I was in school!

  • Karen says:

    I cash change in right before a vacation and that is what we use for an activity or special souvenier that would normally be out of budget.

  • Tonya says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Angela says:

    Here is a good deal at coinstar for any one that has 40 to cash in before christmas!
    Get a extra 10 and no fee good only for ITunes, Old Navy or Dell gift card. Not bad if you were planning on shopping there already!

  • Monique Rizzo says:

    Not only do I do the “Save the Change” idea, but I buy a $50 gift card on the 1st of every month to Target. On black friday I have $550 worth of gift cards to buy gifts with!

  • Laura says:

    I don’t use cash so this isn’t an option for me. I do, however, have a Chase card that I get 1% cash back on and I use my Chase for everything (my husband is a driver so it adds up!). They always have a few gift cards on sale for more than I can get back in cash. Although this year it will be going to everyday expenses after our second Chevy died before 130,000 miles. Luckily I have a few presents in the closet from after Christmas last year for my two year old and my nine month old will get presents from grandma and grandpa. As for others, our Christmas presents will be a chicken we raised, lunches that we’ve made for those who don’t like to cook, a Starbucks GC I got using Pampers points, and a few other little presents. When did Christmas become only about gifts anyways?

  • Mar says:

    I have been doing the collecting of change for a while but never reallysaved it. My kids go to the change box for $1.00 for lunch money and other little stuff they might need for school. Recently my husband told me to stop using the change box and saved it. So I moved the change box from the family living room to my room; Since than about the only one that touches the money is me. Im interested to see how much money I have collected as far for Christmas money. I also carry a small pocket change bag in my purse and it started at first as a little bag to collect change while vacationing but now I used to carry loose change and pay the little extra pennies at the grocery store so I always charge my credit card the exact amount without the cents. I wonder how much I will save if I just don’t use the change and wait and see how much I colllect? This is a great idea I believe I will try it since I already do it. Thanks.

  • Kathryn says:

    :( this becomes very difficult for the people who only use debit and credit cards. I wish I could do this, it seems like a great idea….

    • txhrc4 says:

      I hear you Kathryn, we only use, and rarely at that, debit cards.

    • Irene G says:

      My bank (BOA) has a save the change program. They round up and put the change into a savings account. They even do a match for a period of time.

      • Mar says:

        I used to bank with them and always manage to use the extra change they matched to pay a bill at the end of the month. However, since then I moved to my hubbys military bank. I love the fact with USAA that we can take out cash and they reimburse our ATM Charges. Other wise I would not be able to afford hauling cash around with all the surcharges that accumulate at regular banking

  • dana says:

    I used to whine that there was not enough money in my budget to save. I then read somewhere that if you only use paper money for your purchases and put away your change you would have at least $30-$35 a month for savings. I tried it and challenged some ladies in my church group to do the same—- it worked every time! For years I spent every dime and never set aside any for emergencies. I now know that having any amount stashed aside can give a sense of calm.Now, if you want to REALLY be calm take that savings and buy yourself a one hour massage!!! :)

  • Coleen says:

    I do this every year too. However, I use Coinstar, and opt for the egift card to ToysRUS, (no fee) I save those vouchers for Christmas shopping. This year I collected just over $600!

  • lrrotti says:

    Our family has always saved change!! Boy’s does it add up!!
    My dad had a big Butter Churn (we had to use a dolly to move it) that he put his change in for probebly 15yrs or so, Well he decided to give it to the Grandkids (3) for thier College Fund!! OK ready, it took Me, my Brother & SIL 3 days to roll it>>>> Couple Hundred shy of $5000.00!!!!! He gave me a Wine bucket full of coins a few months back and it came to over $550!! Boy did that help with Christmas this year!!

    • txhrc4 says:

      I’m imagining you going to the store and paying with rolled coins instead of dollars. I’m sure you didn’t do it that way, but it would sure be a giggle to the cashier if you did.

  • paula says:

    We saved our change for about 3 1/2 years. My husband won’t use his, if it’s 5. 05, he’ll give them 6.00 just to get the change. I’m not like that but my daughter was gonna go to Guinea, West Africa to homeschool missionary children and we wanted to take her so the tickets were 3440.00 and we had 3400.00 in change!! (And that’s only for 2 people!!)

  • Heather Nicosia says:

    I’m a girl too and my husband and I both dont do gifts. We never have. We just put our money into our children. Weve done a few big gifts for the house new TV, new computer.. etc. Maybe some year..but I’m more into the holidays for the kiddos.
    Great idea tho! I might have to try it out. Usually when I find change I stick it in the kiddos banks but maybe this coming year we will hold onto it for the holidays.

  • Alla says:

    We always collect change in a jar throughout the year and every year around May or June we have Buffalo’s Most photogenic baby contest in which my toddler participates every year. And once they have the photoshoot then we are supposed to collect donation till the award ceremony which is after a month and that donation goes to Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. So we take the money from the jar and take it to a store that has this machine that changes it to notes. Believe it or not we get between $200.00 and $300.00 every year in that jar. It’s an amazing way to save money and donate it to the hospital that is so dear to me. I gave birth to my baby there and they took very good care of us. So it’s well worth it. Plus my baby gets an award and professional photos after the award ceremony. So it’s a win win :)

  • Adrianna says:

    I’ve been saving my change in a jar since I was a kid and saw my mom doing it. I don’t carry cash either so I can’t really save too much change, but my fiancé is constantly leaving change and bills all over the house so I always just threw that money in a box. After 3 years of doing this we were able to save $1300, which helped pay for our honeymoon :)

  • Bobbie says:

    We are doing the same for the change do it will be a extra bonus for vacations. Ours is a crayon plastic bank my brother gave me as a kid, its tall and when we roll just a little bit it adds up. But I’ve heard that a 20 oz bottle holds $100.00 in dimes so we trying that theory now.

  • Lor says:

    What a great way to find money for presents. A couple years ago I began saving all the money I got from rebates over the year. I save it up and give it to my husband for his shopping. (I guess I am really giving him the money to buy for me and sometimes for the kids. LOL) He loves to get the chunk of money and doesn’t have to worry about how he is going to come up with the money from our budget. I usually buy throughout the year or score the deals with coupons and such to buy my gifts but he doesn’t do this but no worries, he has the money to spend however he wants! It works great for us.

  • Dorinne says:

    We have a “charity jar” at home and put our change in there. When it’s full, we empty it and donate the money to a charity that has meaning for us. The last time it was filled we counted out $60 in change and donated the money to the USO because when my boyfriend was in the Army he said that the things they do for our soldiers really meant a lot to him. The jar is almost full again and we’re excited to make another donation! :)

  • ella says:

    Coin star offer :)

    Pour $40, Get $50. No Fee!
    Get an extra $10 on your Old Navy eGift Card when you pour $40 or more. As always, there’s NO FEE when you cash in for eGift Cards.
    Offer good 11/26 -12/9/12.

  • Nicole says:

    If you have a PNC Bank near you some of them have a coin counter in their lobby (call first). It has no fee and almost all of them don’t require you to have an account to use it. But not all markets have them.

  • Courtney Kelley says: is the best site to sale used text books. They pay for the shipping and you know how much you are getting for the books right away. PLUS, the check arrives fast…all you have to do is find a box! MY FAVORITE!

  • txhrc4 says:

    This system unfortunately doesn’t work for my husband and as we don’t carry cash. But I had a friend who saved up for five years and was able to treat her family to a family vacation and Disney World for one week just from saving all of their loose change. She put it into one of those big 5 gallon water jugs.

  • Kristen says:

    This reminds me of the book The Christmas Jar. A couple started out doing this, but after a few years they decided to give the money to someone in need. A must read!

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