Counting out the pennies

I have been completely useless at the penny challenge. I don’t find it a convenient way to save money systematically at all. I don’t remember to put the pennies in or, if I do, I don’t have the cash available. It is far easier for me to simply transfer money from my current account into my savings when I get paid, so that is what I am focussing on doing. 

We have been throwing our coppers in a jar in a less organised way, however, and today I took about half of them to Asda to use their Coin Star counting machine. You just feed them in and get a voucher out to take to the tills. It’s not free though -there is a 10% charge – but it saves having to count them up and finding time to get to the bank. I had almost £15 worth today and I think there is more silver in the next lot so I expect at least £20 when I take that in. I will put it towards this week’s shop!

I am still spending very little on anything except essentials so February is proving another extremely frugal month. The emergency and birthday/ Christmas/holiday funds are a bit less empty. It hasn’t been quite no spend month but it has been low spend. I did buy a new electric kettle in B&M as our lodger was struggling with the stove kettle. Too strange and old-fashioned!

Are you saving pennies? What are you saving for?

17 thoughts on “Counting out the pennies

  1. Katt

    Where as you could do your shopping, go to one of the serve yourself type tills and pay for your goods by feeding the coins directly into the machine, saving the so called “service fee”. I tend to do this early in the morning so I’m not holding anyone else up at the till point waiting for me to feed in my change.

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  2. Gillian

    I empty my odd coins into a sheep(!) piggy bank at end of most weeks – let it accumulate for a while and then raid it for bus fares! I tried to do the penny challenge too, but couldn’t be bothered trying to remember (and find change) every day. So I use the ‘skint dad’s’ weekly £ challenge: each week I try to put the stated £amount into my savings – I think last week it was £22-something. (Mind you, was treated to a pizza-express last night with friends and paid for the wine, so it’ll be £17 down this week! But what’s the point of saving if you can’t splurge sometimes?!)

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  3. Chris

    I put any loose change into an old baby milk formula tub. I put in 20ps, 2ps a1ps. Eventually it builds up then once sorted I take them to the building society I’m in. I have an account with Nationwide and recently we stopped our joint account to this bank. I recommend my husband and so the gave us £100 for each account. I also opened a savings account with them online over Christmas but when I went to pay some change in the lovely lady on the desk said I could change to an account with 5% annual interest . I was thrilled. I also save £2 coins in a pig and then pay them into that account. I don’t get very many but it’s surprising how it builds up. I have only recently been able to do this as I used to dip into it for emergency cash. We live quite frugally although having a 19 year old son who eats for England means we go over our food budget regularly. He is at college and has a part time job so he pays for all his car bills like tax and insurance etc.

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    1. Chris

      Sorry we didn’t stop our joint account to Nationwide, it should read we swopped our account to them. Sorry, predictive text. Not sure how to turn it off on my iPad.

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  4. Sam

    I’m not doing well with formal challenge, but have started a few envelopes for December, and have a new found money container. I plan to leave the found money alone until I decide the best use, nothing frivolous, and then count and see what my budget for said expense will be.

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  5. Sue Cuthbert

    I would really object to paying the machine to count my money, afraid I don’t understand that at all. So have never done this even when we had lots of change from selling veg at the gate. Although given the rate banks are closing it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a bank where you can pay in cash. Although cash bags are free so I would choose this way every time and find a bank or building society to take the cash in to my account. I often pay at small shops with all loose change from my purse as long as there is no one waiting.

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    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      I agree really but can’t get to a bank to cash it up as I work their hours! Still it was quicker than counting it myself

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    2. Katt

      Same here Sue, that £1.48 fee is the cost of a home made pasta dish for four. I either pay at the self service tills but know that small shop keepers are always grateful for small change. So no coin star for me.

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  6. Jessica

    I have a current account with the Bank of Scotland also a savings account and they have a Save the Change you can join. Every time I use my switch card the amount I have switched is rounded up to the nearest pound and the odd pence added to my savings.
    It may not seem a lot but it is adds up over the months.

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  7. Kelley B

    I save my spare coins in a small bank, when full I go to the Coinstar machine too…but here in the states we have the option to choose a gift card…I always get one for Amazon…and you don’t have to pay a fee…I can purchase my vitamins at a great discount from Amazon…and am always buying puzzles that Mom (93) and I can do together…

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  8. Bob

    Try the NatWest on a Saturday, our branch has a machine that works exactly like the Coinstar without the charge. It pays directly into you account by using you debit card. Love your blog

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  9. Julia

    My kids took their coins to NatWest recently to deposit into their accounts – fee free. One had £31 saved!!

    I was in the branch one time when someone seemed to be depositing an awful lot of coins. I was waiting in the queue for the cashier so had plenty of time to notice. Anyway when the rattling finally stopped I glanced over and saw that her total on the screen was almost £350!!!

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  10. Mrs G

    I use the self service tills at our local Tesco at any time of day with my coinage – I refuse to pay for my money to be counted by a machine! 🙂

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  11. Eloise

    Think I am with you on this one, Jane. I use Coinstar too. I don’t bank with Natwest and my bank doesn’t offer the facility. I save 1,2 and 5p coins and take them to Coinstar when my tin is full. It yields around £20 each time.

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  12. Margaret Powling

    Our small change, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p goes into a change pot (a Royal Doulton bowl which we don’t particularly like but it’s ideal for the job.) This sits on our desk in the study and is useful if we need 20ps for our wallets/purse as the loo in the village where we sometimes shop requires a 20p piece to open the door, and for no other reason. Talk about spending a penny, har, har! But that’s inflation for you!

    But we don’t do anything special with the change that grows over a matter of months. When there looks rather a lot we ‘cash up’ and put the coins into plastic bank bags, take it to our bank and exchange it for paper money.
    Actually, we find 1p and 2p and even 5p pieces a nuisance. Most things end in 99p or 95p and the 1p. and 5p change is just a nuisance. I usually put that into charity boxes on counters. I’m sure the reason behind this pricing game is because things which cost £4.99, say, sound so much cheaper than £5, otherwise all things would be rounded up to 1p or 5p, would the not?

    And just think how much it would actually save the economy if the royal mint didn’t have to produce all those small-value coins, most of which end up in change pots, down the back of the sofa, or when out, down the drain (literally, I mean.) I’d like to see these small denomination coins done away with in this day and age, just as we got rid of the farthing when I was a child, the silver three-penny bit (yes I remember those!) and in more recent times, the half-penny.
    Margaret P

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