Travel Tips

A Quick Way to Save Money for Travel or Treats (All You Need is an Empty Jar)

March 16, 2017

travel jar money

Travel jar money – The contents of this must strictly be used for adventures, only.

I don’t really publish a lot of (well, any) money saving tips on this blog. It’s a topic that has been done to death. Yet, I discovered a little gem last year that ended up saving me a tonne of pounds that I could use on travelling, a fancy meal, a new pair of shoes – essentially anything I wanted.

Having always been a fairly good saver at home in Australia, I was quite concerned (or, alarmed) at how much money I was going through in London.

In an effort to curtail my reckless spending on travel, I decided to allocate myself a wad of cash each week. This would cover groceries, meals I ate out and about, drinks at the pub, etc. Let’s say I’d allocate £100 to this cause each week. I DON’T REMEMBER THE SPECIFICS OF IT.

travel jar money

Spending it up big in Cuba.

At the end of the week, I’d roll over whatever I had left over into the next week’s funds, so this all worked fine. The problem was, I was accumulating stacks of coins, which became quite cumbersome to carry around town. Particularly the thick and heavy one and two pound coins.

We had a big, empty mayonnaise jar sitting on the kitchen counter, so one day I grabbed that and started putting my spare change into it. And that was all of my spare change. Not just my pennies, five and ten pence coins. Any change that I’d accumulated over the course of the day went into the jar.

In a couple of months, the jar filled to the brim. So, I took it to my local Metrobank branch. They’re a bank chain in the UK, who have money-sorting machines, available to the public.

I tossed my coins into the machine, which made some concerning noises and then spat out a receipt.

I grabbed the slip of paper, looked it over and gasped. Over the course of those few weeks, I managed to put aside £199.50. I was free to spend this on whatever I wanted.

So, I took my boyfriend on an all expenses paid day trip to Brighton and made him accompany me to a zero waste restaurant I’d been wanting to try there. The leftover money I spent on a ticket to see Groundhog Day: The Musical a few weeks later at the Old Vic.

travel jar money

Much ice cream was consumed in Brighton.

The next time I filled my jar, I took my fella’s along with me and pooled it. Despite the fact that he had socked away more silver coins than gold, we had over 400 quid. We went to a Michelin Star restaurant and had a lovely evening (also, lol at my past attempts to blog about food… will never be a food blogger, that’s for sure).

What I like most about this method of saving, is that you don’t notice it at all. I used to get very excited about growing my savings account (something I’m hoping to get back into, soon) but the temptation to spend the money was always there.

However, the coins are essentially forgotten money. As they were included in my weekly funds, I’d already allocated them elsewhere in my head. It was a bit like finding a twenty dollar note in the pocket of your winter coat when you put it on a year later. You’re like “flip yeah, I’m going to spend this on something fun! Like chocolate, or a brand new book!” I’m easily pleased.

So – do make sure you do spend it on something lovely! Use it to fund an adventure you were rather keen to take, but couldn’t quite justify the cost of.

Do you have any kooky money saving techniques that you swear by?

11 Comments

  • Reply James Long March 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Great tip here for saving money. I know friends who use this method as well. It definitely works wonders. Also love Metro bank. You know it won’t charge you for any transactions in the whole EU. Worth joining if you are going traveling across the continent.
    Thanks for the read.
    Cheers
    James

    • Reply LC March 20, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Thanks James. The lack of fees in the EU was why I initially joined them and then fell in love with their coin sorting machines from there! Wish the other banks in the UK were more like them.

  • Reply Cathy Merrifield March 26, 2017 at 3:55 am

    We save change too, the only problem here in the US is the biggest coin is 25 cents. $1 coins are not common here. I think we will have to throw in dollars to save faster:)

    • Reply LC March 26, 2017 at 4:21 am

      That’s one reason why I’m glad Australia and Britain have such large denominations to their coins! Saving pennies and quarters would be far more difficult, for sure. I’ve heard of people putting away a certain note anytime it pops into their wallet, like a tenner. Maybe that will help. 🙂

  • Reply Suzanne (PhilaTravelGirl) March 27, 2017 at 12:02 am

    I have a large water bottle they use at work and at only 1/4 full I had $1,200 US before my trip to Australia/NZ – I bought clothes for that trip and had spending money sorted for my three week adventure – all courtesy of emptying my handbag of coins daily
    when someone tells me they have no money to travel I say “get a jar” I’ll prove you wrong!

    • Reply LC March 27, 2017 at 1:25 am

      That’s amazing! Yes it’s such an easy method of saving. Outta mind, outta sight and you’re laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Reply Rhiannon March 27, 2017 at 1:15 am

    I thought I already commented on this? Apparently not!
    I have one of those tins (only £1 in the Pound Shop – bargain) that you have to open with a tin opener when it’s full and can’t reseal. I get one every year for Christmas but it never lasts past January. The idea this year was to put all my restaurant tips in there and come December hopefully will have enough put aside for a nice little trip somewhere! The problem is I’ve already put about £40 worth of pound coins in, and those will become obsolete in October! So I’ll have to open 3 months earlier than planned.
    I’m hesitant to chuck all my spare change in at the end of the day like you did because, as bloody great as it sounds, then I’d have to constantly pay for my bus ticket with notes and all the bus drivers will want to kill me!

    • Reply LC March 27, 2017 at 1:29 am

      Ah yeah, I like the jar for that reason, as you can dip into it when needed… I pull out $1 coins all the time for the laundromat. But then the whole point of those tins are to prevent one from dipping in! Didn’t know the old pounds were being phased out! Should have kept one as a momentum. Also didn’t think of the problem of paying for transport! Although I haven’t lived anywhere where coins have been accepted on buses since 2010… and I drove everywhere then anyway, as public transport in regional Australia is pretty much non-existent!

  • Reply Jay March 27, 2017 at 5:40 am

    We had a 5 year plan to quit our jobs in Los Angeles, sell all our stuff and travel. So we bought a glass water bottle (it was an old glass sparkletts water fountain bottle – about 2 foot high) from a flea market .. and kept it by our front door. So each night we came in, no matter what money was in our pockets we emptied it out into this bottle. Not just change, but notes too.

    Walking out of the house each morning, we saw our funds growing and our dream getting closer. We never did manage to fill that jar, but we had such fun emptying it out counting the notes and taking bags of money to the supermarket to cash in the coins. The psychology of watching those funds grow was inspiring, and a big part of planning for our departure.

  • Reply Karen DeCesare March 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    My family has been saving coins in an old peanut butter jar for several years. This has been our gelato money for our upcoming trip to Italy. It became full about a month ago, so we finally rolled the coins (our bank, unfortunately, does not have one of those sorting machines). Our total was $90 US, which is not a lot of money, but still more than we thought it would be. We are a family of five, so we will probably have to supplement this amount in order to purchase two weeks worth of gelato, 😉.

    • Reply LC March 29, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Ha! I’m sure that gelato will end up tasting extra sweet. Hope you have a great holiday.

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