The Saving Strategy

I have always been a good saver. I like to hold onto my money. I like the way the positive balance looks in my bank book (or at the bottom of my monthly statement because, let’s face it, who uses bank books anymore?) I like the way looking at the increasingly climbing number makes me feel. I am comforted and encouraged by the line after line of deposits visible on my screen when I log into my bank account.

This feeling is in sharp contrast to the panic and anxiety I feel when there are more withdrawals in a month than there should be for regular expenses. I don’t like those feelings at all. And that’s even with maintaining a decent positive balance. I just don’t like to see my money leave the safety and comfort of my bank account. I miss it when it leaves.

Even when I have been saving for something specific and I reach that goal, I have a hard time letting go of the money to purchase the thing for which I have been saving. And on several occasions in my life, I have changed my mind about purchasing something because, after taking the time to save for it, I decided that I didn’t need want it anymore. (This in itself is a good saving strategy, by the way. It’s called delaying gratification.) Looking back on those occasions though, I think I still wanted said item, but it was more likely that I was unwilling to part with my money. (Perhaps I’m a bit of a scrooge.)

Recently, my husband and I started using a more cash-friendly approach to our finances. We have always been good savers, but we’re not terribly good goal setters (in life and in money).

In brief, what we’re doing is instead of budgeting an amount for our spending money each month and keeping track of each purchase in a spreadsheet (by “spending money,” I mean our fun money), we’re withdrawing the budgeted amount in cash from our bank account and using that until it is spent without tracking it. And basically, we have to make that last all month because once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s no going back to the bank for more.

So we’ve been doing this since January and we’re doing really well with it. It’s true what they say, if you only have cash to spend and no plastic, you make better decisions about your purchases.

Well, this little exercise has led me to a new way to hoard money.

I have a “piggy” bank. Actually, it’s a giant Smartie bank that originally came chock-full of the other thing that I hoard—chocolate. (Ok, I do eat some of it 😉 )

Smartie bank

So, what I’ve started doing at the end of the month is I lay out all of the bills and coins I have left over. I tuck the bills back in my wallet in a secret compartment (just in case I need more money in the coming month. You know how it goes; if you don’t spend the money that’s budgeted, you might end up losing it when the next budget is drawn up. So far, I still have the left over money from January. I didn’t manage to end up with any left over bills in February, but I did manage not to touch my January left overs.)

And now here’s the money hoarding saving part: I take the coins, all of them, toonies, loonies, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies and I put them in my Smartie bank.

I always end up with about $5-$10 in coins in my wallet. So dumping them in a bank saves the money and saves my good leather wallet from an earlier demise.

And that’s it. The feeling I get from dumping those coins in my Smartie bank is right up there with how I feel when I see my ever-growing bank account balance.

Money is technically a rational, black and white kind of thing. But I challenge anyone to remove their emotions from the equation and actually handle it that way. More realistically, money is an emotional thing. And I don’t know too many people who handle it any other way.

So, now that you’ve seen the Smartie bank, how much do you think I’ll accumulate in it?

How many months do you think it will take me to fill it?

Leave your guesses in the comments! The closest person to the dollar amount and the number of months wins…

The satisfaction of having the most educated guess!

(Sorry if you thought you might win an actual prize. I’d give a prize if I had something to give away, but I don’t, so personal satisfaction will have to do 😉 )

5 thoughts on “The Saving Strategy

  1. Isabel

    I have a Smartie bank too but I was using it to put U.S. change in when I found it. Not such a good idea now with the Cdn. Dollar worth more than the U.S. Dollar.

  2. canadianmommytime

    Neat idea! We do the same thing, we get an allowance in cash that lasts the whole month. I don’t like to have too many coins hanging around so… I now take a small portion of my allowance ($20.00 for three months and $50.00 this month – I accidently took out 50s- very annoying because nobody wants them) to fill a Tim Horton’s refillable card and that is what I use if we do go out for a bagel or something so I don’t have any change hanging around!

    I cannot tell how big that smartie container is but by the sounds of it, you’ll have it filled up by then end of July. Remember to let me know if I win! I need that satisfaction feeling! 😉

  3. shoes

    I will give you a random guess of 7.5 months. I have to say I had a hard time focusing on the words in your post after seeing your Smarties container. My mom is from Canada and I remember visiting relatives up there when I was a little girl and eating those lovely sweets by the handful. I don’t think I can get them in the states. It is bad enough I order my Roger’s syrup online but perhaps I need to look into ordering Smarties too.

    And now I will be singing the jingle “when you eat your smarties do you eat the red ones last? Do you suck them very slowly or chew them very fast. When you eat your smarties, please tell me when I ask, oh, when you eat your smarties do you eat the red ones last?” or something like that, no?

    1. Nancy Post author

      Thanks for the guess! I’ll post the results when I hit the top of the bank. Really? You can’t get Smarties in the States? They are my favourite! I guess I’m going to have to stay in Canada. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Update on Smartie Coin Bank Savings « Life Takes Over

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