Trouble Starting An Emergency Fund? Try A Change Jar!

eod_changejarpicThe emergency fund is one of the fundamental tools needed for financial freedom. Without an emergency fund, any unexpected expense results in a financial crisis that could require some extreme measures to recover from. I know this from personal experience all too well.

Once you have an emergency fund, keeping it going is easier because a person understands it’s true value. The problem is the initial startup of getting it going. It’s hard to change your spending habits to set aside money for those things that just pop up in life. It’s also hard to see money just sitting there untouched while you daydream about purchasing some new widget.

If you don’t have an emergency fund and are having trouble getting one going, I’ve got an idea that may just do the trick. It’s something that you may already have had in your home for years. It’s that change jar that you throw the loose change from your pocket into every night.

A change jar is a great way to get an emergency fund started.

When using a change jar to start your emergency fund, here are some suggestions that can help you be successful:

Opaque Container

You want to select a container that you cannot see through. If you can’t see the money, you’ll be less tempted to spend it.

Size Matters

Pick a medium sized container that will take awhile to fill, but not too long. If you select something too small, it will get filled up too quickly and it won’t seem worth using for an emergency fund base. Pick something too large and it will not seem like you’re making any progress. Personally, I use a 48oz soda mug I got from a theme park.

Dollars Too

The point of the change jar is to throw all your loose change into it. Don’t be afraid to throw a dollar bill in there from time to time as well. If I’ve got an excess of singles in my wallet, I’ll one or two will make it’s way into the jar.

Don’t Raid The Jar

It’s easy to go digging for quarters when you need some change for road tolls and parking meters. Don’t. Do. It. Once money goes into the jar, it stays there.

Deposit When Full

When the jar gets full, or after a predetermined length of time, take it to the bank and have it counted and put into your emergency fund account.

I usually empty my change jar every 3-4 months and most times collect around $100. While you’ll want to continue building it up, and gradually add funding to it from your budget, your change jar can be used as a foundation to jump start your emergency fund.

How about you, EOD Nation, have you ever used a change jar to fund your emergency fund, or to save for something?

About Travis

16 Responses to “Trouble Starting An Emergency Fund? Try A Change Jar!”

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  1. Money Beagle says:

    What a great idea. Sometimes starting off small can lead to big things.

  2. Rajkumar says:

    Great post mate!

    Everyone of us spends a lot of money in useless things like buying something which we don’t use more often. Instead of that we should definitely try this out and save few bucks every day and put it in a emergency fund.

    Of course no one can deny the use of emergency funds in accidental financial crisis. I will definitely try out this method and start saving money from today.

    Keep writing more posts,

    Have a good day!

  3. Yup! This is how I save my coins – in an old spaghetti sauce jar. Earlier this year, I used the funds saved up in the jar for a trip. It’s a life saver.

  4. ESI Money says:

    My parents do this. Not sure it works well for them as they allow my kids to take handfuls out every time we visit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Kathy says:

    We save our loose change in a true piggy bank. A couple of times a year we pump his stomach and take it to the bank to deposit in the savings account. It adds up to a couple hundred dollars each time. Easy way to get something into savings.

  6. Kurt says:

    I’ve never used the tried-and-true change jar, but sounds like a good idea to me for those who struggle to jump start an emergency fund. You’re right I think–without an E-Fund, it’s just a matter of time before we get caught up in the high-interest debt trap. That’s when things can really start to get ugly.

    • Travis says:

      Starting an EFUND is like anything else….you have to keep trying different methods until you find one that works. This might be the one that works for someone out there and keeps them out of the high interest debt trap you mention! thanks for stopping by, Kurt!

  7. Lottie says:

    I’ve done this for a trip to Miami. I saved all change and 1s. Im a server needless to say those $1 bills piled up fast. After 5 weeks I had over $200.

    My key was putting the jar out of everyday sight and Making it a pain to break into.

    • Travis says:

      Getting it out of your line of sight…or even gluing the lid shut (or duct taping it)…any kind of barrier to keep you from opening it up! Thanks for sharing, Lottie!

  8. Tim says:

    I rarely have more than $20 on my person… month in and month out..

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