Financial Challenge #3: Save the Change

Financial Challenge Series:

We are excited to present to you our 2018 Financial Challenge Series! Each month, one of our employees will complete a financial challenge and then blog about it right here on our Blue Chip FCU News Blog! Be sure to let us know your favorite challenges, suggest future challenges and share your own challenge results! This month’s challenge:


Financial Challenge #3: Save the Change

What is it:

The “Save the Change” challenge, encourages you to save the change given back to you after a purchase. You can choose to save just the coins or make it a little more lucrative by saving the $1.00, $5.00 or even $10.00 bills.

How long did we do it:

We did the Save the Change Challenge for one year.

Here’s how it went…

We are always looking for ways to save money. This is a pretty straight forward concept. The reason this works is because you don’t really miss the change given back to you after a purchase. Most of us don’t even know exactly how much change we received back after a purchase. We see lots of non-profit groups take advantage of this mentality. At the checkout counter, you see a jar where you can drop your change. Or, at McDonalds, they have a small fixture under the drive-thru window where you can donate to their charity of choice. These small donations all add up after an extended period of time.

That’s exactly what happened when we tried the Save the Change Challenge. We were looking to save money to visit out-of-state family and friends. Our goal was to save around $1,000.00 over a 12-month period. Rather than savings the coins we received, we chose to save all $5 bills that crossed our path. For the most part, we kept this pretty random. We didn’t request that cashiers give us $5 bills. Near the end of the challenge, when we were really close to our goal, we did start to make that specific request.

At the end of the year, here is what we discovered:

Pro’s List

  • It’s easy: This challenge does not require a whole lot of planning. At the end of the day, you empty your wallet/pockets/change purse and set aside the $5 bills (or whatever denomination you chose to save).
  • It adds up: It really does work. Even if you are just saving the coins that are left at the end of the day… you will, on average, save over $50 per month.
  • No bad feelings: Have you ever gone on a crazy diet where you deprived yourself of something wonderful like all of the sugar or carbs in this world? You know that feeling like you are depriving yourself of the all of the good things in life? The best part of this challenge is that you don’t have THAT emotion! We honestly did not miss the money. It was a great way to save without feeling deprived of the extras.


Con’s List

  • Self-Control: Needless to say, this challenge does require some self-control. It’s pretty tempting to borrow from your stash. One way to help control your urge to borrow is to deposit the money into your savings account at the end of every week or month.
  • No Specific Goal: ’s hard to know (until you get closer to end) if you are really going to hit that goal. You aren’t specifically planning to save $84.00 per month. This is left up to chance and the number of $5 bills you happen to get. If you have a specific goal in mind (that you HAVE to hit), we would recommend setting up a real savings plan for that goal. Check out Balance, our financial education tool, for more ideas.


Is this Right for you?

For us… it was super successful! At the end of the year, we saved a total of $1,100.00 for vacation! We are actually doing this challenge again right now to save for a trip to Minnesota. It was a great, positive way to save money. There was never that feeling of depriving ourselves. We could spend money and stick to our normal budget. Just save the change…