Saturday, August 16, 2008

Change Challenge

I am not normally one for "challenges," but the need has actually arisen. Since P has been back from Brazil, he has consistently enticed me with stories of delicious and exotic foods, many of which cannot be locally replicated (fruits and such, and other things where freshness is key). As a result, I must go to Brazil now. I mean, not now, but now I have the inclination to do so. That costs a lot of money, though.

Traditionally, P and I take two vacations per year. We take a winter vacation at some arbitrary location, which P treats me to, and we go to Flipside each May, which I treat him to. We want to go to Brazil next summer, though. It's cheaper to go during their winter. Even if we skipped our winter vacation (which is simply not going to happen, since I need it badly), it'd still be tough to finance an international trip. So we're both saving up.

Part of my "saving up" is going to be to properly utilise my change. I used to save up all my change in a vase, which would be separated into coin-specific jars once the vase was full, and when my jars (I have one jar per type of coin) were too heavy, I'd take them to the bank and have some sort of luxury event - nice dinner, new clothes, whatever I needed that I normally might not get myself. For the last couple years, however, I have been in the habit of paying for everything in exact change. There's just something inherently satisfying in paying exact change. Anyway, when I'm counting my cash to see how much I have, I don't count my change in that. So now, I'm going to keep leaving my change uncounted, except now I won't be using it anymore. Even at the laundromat. Instead of saving my quarters for the laundromat, I'm simply going to use dollars to get quarters. If there are any left over, into the quarters jar they'll go.

Since my current bank doesn't let you bring in a pile of change unless you've rolled it, I went to my dusty jars (which really I just used to toss P's change into when I emptied his pockets each night) and got them all out. Then I got a small, hard-plastic cooler and wiped it out.

Then I rolled the change. Anything that didn't fit properly into a roll went back into its respective jar, and the rolled coins now live in the cooler. I was unable to make even a single roll of quarters, but I still had $61.00 rolled up and stuffed in the cooler. When the cooler is full, I will take it to the bank, get paper money, and put that money in the vacation-savings-envelop. And this is how I think I will pay for Flipside, so we can still save normally in order to go to Brazil (and just spend less money than we normally do to go to Flipside).

So here's the challenge: Save all your coins, from now until May 15th. Let's see how much we can save. If you want to participate, roll up what you can, and post a comment telling us how much you're starting with and what, if anything, you'd like to use your change to save up for. I will post an update each time I do another rolling session (probably once per month, or every other month), and we can update each other to make it easier to NOT spend the change on little incidentals and on giving exact change for a purchase.

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