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  • Felice Cohen

Common Cents

“Ever since I bought sweatpants with no pockets.” My yoga instructor rubbed his hands over his pocketless sweats. “I’ve filled a jar at home with change.”

Many people like to fill jars with change, yet how come each time they take it to the bank and cash it into bills, they’re still astonished at the amount? It’s like they forgot those heavy coins that weigh down pocketbooks and fill jars hi

Many people nowadays see change as almost disposable. Except for the homeless guy on the corner of Bleecker Street and Laguardia Place in Greenwich Village last weekend who specifically asked for, “Pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters, it’s all good to me,” how many times have you walked past a coin on the ground, or your waiter didn’t bother to give you coins back?

I think I’m one of the few who doesn’t save her change, but actually spends it. I have a small change purse that I use to buy fruit and vegetables from street vendors, and my weekly oatmeal raisin cookie at the farmer’s market. And in stores, in the rare instances I use cash, I love handing over the exact change. It’s like I’ve solved a puzzle or something. And cashiers are either surprised to get exact change or annoyed to wait. Sure it might take a few extra seconds to count the coins, but it feels like I’m clearing out clutter and somehow saving money at the same time since I’m not using bills.

Many folks like to keep loose dollars in their pocket, as it makes purchases quicker. But unfortunately it might make your instinct to buy quicker too. When your money is in your wallet, those few extra moments it takes to retrieve it might make you think twice about making that impulse purchase. And while it’s only a few dollars, again, it adds up faster than you think.

My dad started his own special savings account years ago. Each night he empties his wallet of one and five dollar bills and puts them in a box. Then every few months he takes the box to the bank. His last visit netted him $978. But this “savings plan’” doesn’t just apply to money. Whether it’s ten sit-ups every morning, tossing one piece of paper a day, or clearing out one drawer a week, after awhile your small efforts will net you greater results.

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