Sunday, October 25, 2009

Counting pennies

I feel a combination of pride and sheepishness over the contents of this blog entry.  To some, this might be a pain-in-the-ass endeavor, but admittedly, the tactics I'm about to (and happy to) share have set me and Steve on a fun path and monetary method of travel.

For years, Steve and I, well....counted pennies.  Yes, we were "those people" who never have the extra 11 cents to help out the cashier at the used book store - "And your total comes to $8.11", "Sorry, I only have a 10."  "Okay, here's your $1.89 back."  Why?  Because we have always rounded up and....saved the extra pennies!  I think American Express or some bank was doing this for a while to help people save, but we were doing it naturally whenever we used cash to pay for anything.  After each day's spendings, we would drop the loose change in a glass jar and every few months or so, count it up, roll it up, and use that for travel.
We got a boost in our savings when moving to Canada thanks to the loonies and toonies phenomenom.  It's amazing how those little pocket busters can add up to hundreds of dollars in just a few months (after getting our laundry done, of course).  It also turned into a little household game - I (Sarah) have become slightly obsessive about this simple method of saving and because Steve knows how much I (admittedly) enjoy the sound of the "clink!" as coins are dropped into the glass jar, adding to our possibility of adventure - he now leaves little piles of coins around the house for me to find.  Needless to say, finding piles of "trip fund" coins never gets looking for Easter eggs (I think) or the Afikomen. :)

To prove how this OCD method of saving has paid off in the past, before we pinched all of these pennies for our big-ass trip, we used our couple hundreds of dollars every few months to adventure in the following places:

Montauk, NY (two lovely nights at the big swanky hotel)
  (Sorry - no photo as this was pre-digital for us.)
US Southwest (a nifty $-saving hybrid, 3 nights at Zion Nat'l Park, a 2006 Nat'l Park Pass, etc.)

Provincetown during Halloween (think bunches of life-size bananas roaming the streets of P-town)
  (Sorry - no photo as this was pre-digital for us.)
Yosemite National Park
(Sorry - no photo as this was pre-digital for us.)
Montreal, Quebec 
(Sorry - no photo as this was pre-digital for us.)

To name a few...
Mind you, our money saving habits were not able to pay for the entirety of each of these trips, but having worked so hard to save to make even a portion of these trips happen, one has a real sense of pride when instead of swiping that credit card and paying it back when the pay check comes in, you know how you earned that money to buy that nice dinner, purchase that ticket to the botanical garden, get the ticket for the Long Island Railroad train, etc.  We would have made these trips happen one way or another, but the few pinches and cinches and loonies (both monetary and human form) certainly helped along the way.

I've passed onto some friends, whether they've found their own glass jars or wicker boxes (see below) to throw their change into and/or stick their tourist pins into with pride or just laughed it off as a "Oh Steve and Sarah are so silly sometimes" moment - ladies and gents, I'm proud to say I Am A Penny Counter and in addition to more traditional forms of saving, this maniacal sense of saving is contributing to our ability to take on the world in 2010!

So there's my two cents.


  1. Is it just me or does Steve look more and more like Silent Bob in every picture?

  2. we just got back from Souther Utah (including Zion). While this is not particularly relevant to the theme of your post, it does have some connection and I thought I'd share. aaaand, done.

  3. Noah - Zion is amazing. You got photos up?

    Mike - them's fighting words.