Monday, February 8, 2010

Pennies, Nickels, and Dimes, Oh My!

I'm thinking of vacations again and couldn't afford even a weekend getaway so I will tell you how I managed to take my family on a weekend trip using one simple saving strategy. My eldest daughter was about to have a birthday and instead of presents she wanted to have a beach trip. It was all she talked about. I had to make it happen.

I made a bit more money then but it still wasn't much. We were still leading pretty much a hand to mouth existence. Was I going to get my credit card and rent an expensive room, and eat out every day, and pay for it for years? Nope, not me. I called around and did some research and places were very high and we had a dog who had to come with. (The dog story will come eventually in another post.) We had to save a lot in about six months for this to happen and we would definitely have to economize.

I already had a change jar but we decided to really kick it into high gear and start saving a lot more. We got into the habit of not using exact change ever. All change was placed in a pocket or change purse which was emptied into the jar every night. If we found a penny we picked it up. It may be too much of a bother for some but they really do add up eventually. When the jar was full instead of taking them to a coin machine which charges almost ten percent of your money (a real rip-off) we rolled them ourselves and took them to the bank.

We didn't collect enough for a fabulous beach hotel and all the trimmings but we did manage a few small presents, a dog friendly camping spot right on the beach, food for the whole weekend, gas for the vehicle, and we managed not to short any household bills to make this happen. We had our three kids and our dog and my daughters two friends with us. It may not have been perfect. We had three tents instead of two hotel rooms, and we had to grill ribs and chicken and eat salad instead of having fast food burgers.

I think we did pretty well taking a weekend trip using money gathered solely from our spare change. Its a great way to save and anyone can do it. Some people just have to get past their dislike of pennies. This is some "change" we can all agree to embrace.


  1. WP: I have been doing this for a couple years now. All spare change goes into the current jar. I too am a penny picker-upper when I see one on a pavement. I am proud of it!

    I love your vacation comments. So you "had to" grill ribs and chicken instead of eating fast food, huh? Ooooh, that's roughing it!! I bet everyone had a great time.

  2. LOL! You know, it's bad luck to leave a penny laying on the ground, it's a gift for you from the Penny Fairy ;)

    We very VERY rarely go to hotels for our vacations, we live in a part of the country where there are countless lakes and camp grounds and soo many of them are beautiful, especially when you consider the most expensive of them are $14.00/night - for 5 people! And, camp fire food is the best!!