So, since January 1st I’ve been saving pennies in a jar. Yes, you read that correctly, Pennies. In. A. Jar. (Not to be confused with http://www.penniesinthejar.com/ which is an amazing blog and I thoroughly recommend it)
The idea is, that on January the first you put 1 penny (or whichever the smallest denomination of your country is), January second, you put in 2 pence. Eventually this builds up so you’re putting more and more in each day. I figured this would work out cheaper than the 52 weeks challenge, which is similar except week one you put in £1, week 2 £2 etc.
As some of you may have figured out by now, my main source of income is from teaching, more specifically supply teaching. Due to the shortage of teachers in England I’ve managed to find work, even though I needed two days a week which was initially quite difficult to find. The main issue with supply teaching is, if you don’t put money aside during the plentiful periods, you have no source of income over the holidays because you don’t get paid. You’re a contractor, and unless you have a very, strangely, generous school that you work for you only get paid for what you work.
This means that whatever challenge I take, I’m going to find it difficult over the summer, 6 weeks definitely without pay, and probably a very slow September/October as schools tighten their finances.
Anyways, let’s see what I’ve got so far.
I like excel spreadsheets, if you like you can download the dated and undated versions of this one. For those without this software I’ve included a PDF tick list (you might also be able to open it in open office as I use an older version of excel). This is the traditional penny a day challenge going from 1st January to 31st December, note it’s 266 days as it was a leap year this year. I tend to add and remove the date columns when I want and colour in dark grey when I’ve put the money in. Those looking carefully may note that I’ve made a start putting coins in for mid-July and I’ll try and do that from now on until July, August and September are complete. When done you would have £671.61, not bad going.
This is my coin jar
You’ll need a big jar for this challenge, this is an olive jar from Lidl, the lids are a nightmare to get off initially but my partner appreciated the olives.
If you’re not sure you’ll have the cash in December you can always try doing the challenge backwards (dated, undated, use the same pdf as the normal challenge) or alternating the money you put in (dated, undated, pdf).
As I mentioned I did once initially start doing the £1 a week challenge (although the sheet was in dollars) I bottled out after 4 weeks, good job I’ve matured this year! If you managed to do challenge that you would have saved up £1,378 by the end of the year. Here are some tracking sheets Normal (undated, pdf) backwards (undated, pdf) or alternating the money you put in (undated, pdf). I think if I had a steady job that I’d be tempted by this one.
The Skint dad blog has some other ideas for money saving challenges, his £12.50 a week one is quite good; that would get you about £650 by the year’s end. He also has lots of downloads if you don’t like mine.
As I was typing this I was thinking, hmmm, some of these aren’t really do-able for someone who doesn’t make very much income, say for example a child with pocket money who still wants to save. I also thought it might need to be simple.
I am not a parent; though I have nieces and nephews, according to my knowledge of them and research on the internet pocket money can be anything from £3 to £7. With this in mind I’ve put together a sheet that is a simple £1.50 a week (excel, PDF), £5 a month (excel, PDF) as well as a blank version of both (weekly, pdf, monthly, pdf) in case it’s a differing amount each week/month.
Oh my goodness, making all those spreadsheets and putting them into this post has killed my back! Twenty-seven files were harmed in the making of this post (the PDF’s have their excel equivalents)
There are loads of ways to store your coins as well, as I mentioned I have an old olive jar from Lidl. You may not also know, but I also collect money boxes, I’m not sure if that’s an odd hobby or not. I’ll make sure to do a post about them another time J
I think with challenges like this you get three types of people.
1) People who like to watch the coins grow, this might mean they use a see through jar like this Plastic Coca Cola Savings – Money Box / Bottle 60cm Fancy Money Box / Novelty Money Box or, if you don’t like to count your own coins… Gift House Int Digital UK Coin Counting Money Jar
2) People who don’t want to be tempted. You might get these types of jar: Tin Money Box
3) Terra Mundi enthusiasts. Oh yeah, I hear you. I have a serious love of these coin jars; I have one that I put £2 coins in when I’m not using them for challenges. Alas I know the secret of getting coins out without smashing them (which is good because they’re beautiful) but also bad…as it means I can get the coins out! I would love to own one of the large disney versions
(like this one: Deluxe Large Terramundi Money Pot : Disney Fund written in Yellow and Whitebut at over £50 that’s unlikely to happen!
I hope you enjoyed this post, happy savings!