The transcriptionist started her first Penny Jar Challenge in January 2016 as a New Year’s resolution. To simplify the math, Good created a calendar that told her exactly how much she needed to deposit each day. (If you don’t want to do the math yourself, you can find free printable charts online for download.)
“I was like ‘Alright, I’m going to do this, I’m going to stick with it every day,’ and I did,” she recalls.
The challenge for Good was remembering to make deposits, but she turned it into a habit by tossing money in at the same exact time every day.
“I would just say to stay consistent with it every day because if you get behind it does kind of feel like a pain in the rear to get caught up,” she says.
The more money she saved, the more excited she was to put money in. Sometimes she’d even tossed in extra.
“I was like ‘I’m going to make it, I got a whole jar full, I am going to make it!’ So it just got to be more exciting at the end to see the jar get fuller and seeing that I’m really going to do this and I’m going have this nice little chunk of money,” she says.
On the last day of the challenge, Good lugged $700 worth of change — more than she anticipated — to the bank. She put it towards a Los Vegas vacation with her husband.
“I didn’t use any credit cards on our trip because I had that $700 — it was more than enough,” she says.
If you use a small jar to store your change, it will get full faster, which may tempt you to cash it in too soon, according to the 45-year-old.
“One of my friends manages a convenience store so she saved me one of the huge containers that their pickle relish comes in,” says Good. “And I actually had that container and another container half full.”
Good recommends never having more than $10 worth of cash in your jar or you might be tempted to pilfer your savings. At that point, it’s a good idea to exchange dollar bills for quarters, she says.
“It doesn’t seem like that much if you have to take a couple dollar bills out, but if you have to count out quarters you’re less [likely] to raid your jar,” she explains.
Every day for a year, throw spare pennies in a jar. The number of pennies should be equivalent to the number of days you are on in the challenge (Day 1 = 1 penny; Day 2 = 2 pennies; Day 3 = 3 pennies, and so on).
The amounts will get larger as the days go by. Keep a calendar or chart that tells you exactly how much to put in your jar each day.
Stay consistent. By putting the change in your jar at the same time each day, you’ll turn it into a habit.
Use a large jar or container and avoid using bills. You won’t be as tempted to spend your money or cash it in early.
Post your progress on social media. It’s a great way to encourage yourself and others to keep saving.
Julie Compton is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her @julieallmighty