Friday, November 6, 2009



It’s a word we’ve heard a lot lately in the news. Change in politics. In healthcare. In finances. In education.

When things aren’t going well – we want CHANGE! But preferably change for the better, right? Not just something different or worse.

But today I want to talk about a different kind of change. A monetary change. Literally – the change in your pocket.

You know the stuff. The pennies that get casually tossed into the bucket at the cash register or sucked up into the vacuum. You spend it without thinking. It’s casually dropped or lost without a care.

So I tried an experiment. I saved up the change I was getting and didn’t spend it for a month. Then, I poured it all into a gallon-size zip lock bag and ONLY used change for my daily purchases for one week.

Here is what I learned:

• Most people have never seen a 50 cent piece or Susan B Anthony dollar.

• Some have seen the Sacagawea dollar.
• It is much easier to shop with just change in Oregon where there is no sales tax

• It’s also easier when you know what you’re getting ahead of time and can count it out and show up prepared

• Many business are grateful when you give them change – because they are often running out

• The bus driver, however, will look at you a little annoyed when you drop 300 pennies in the counter for your bus fare

• This takes approximately 1:22 minutes.

• It makes me unrealistically happy to do it

• Again, count it out ahead of time so the bus driver won’t look COMPLETELY annoyed

• You actually think about what you’re buying a little bit more when it takes some effort to pay for the purchase

• Some people behind you in line act a little confused when you pay with change and may feel sorry for you, thinking you’re completely broke

• Cashier’s at drive-ups often don’t know how to add mixed change

• Some can only count in Spanish (or Russian)

• It’s not as convenient to carry change, and your pockets look funny

• Don’t try it at an airport

There are a couple of things I determined I would not pay for in change:

• Rent

• Gas

Overall, it was a fun experiment. It almost felt like I was getting everything for free this week, because it wasn’t coming out of my normal budget!

Next change experiment: Saving up enough that one day I can go into my utility company and pay the bill in change. I may roll it first, though.



  1. My dad paid for my Mom's Christmas presents by saving his change throughout the year. She was the bugeter--so by doing this, he was able to surprise her every year. ~Jena