…. and the pounds will take care of themselves! How many times have you heard this phrase? Growing up, my mum would always remind me and my siblings that if you make sure and look after your change, it all adds up to buy a bigger thing in time. Unlike my friends, I was never the guy that practiced hurling 10 pence pieces as far as I could – I was the guy saving them up! I can honestly say that I can’t remember a time where I ever threw away money because I couldn’t be bothered collecting it.
One of my friends growing up actually made a point of picking money up of the ground. Although this was not the best thing to be known for doing when making friends, he actually made himself a small fortune over the period of a year. I remember one Christmas he counted out a huge box of change to over £200! Not bad for picking up unwanted money! Despite his friends slagging him off as being cheap for picking up other people’s money, I think he had the last laugh on this one!
Taking Care of Foreign Currency
My job requires me to travel a lot. Although most of Europe uses a single currency – the Euro – I have traveled to a variety of countries over the last year where these are not acceptable; The US, Budapest, KL, Russia and Singapore. Combined with personal vacations to destinations such as Honduras, Mexico, Thailand, South Africa and other places, I end up with a lot of change left over that might not ever be any good to me!
My approach is as follows: If I think that I might visit the country again with work, I keep what change is left over and don’t bother paying the exchange fees to change the money back. If I don’t envision myself returning anytime soon and it is a small amount, I keep some for my travel jar and I change the rest back if it makes sense. Alternatively, given the opportunity, I will donate what is left to charity.
What to Do with Small Change?
For GBP – British Pounds Sterling – my own currency, I treat this a little bit differently. I save all of our spare change up in a massive jelly beans jar until Christmas time is near. Given the large quantity of (very) small change, it is too time consuming to take to the bank – sometimes they charge for conversion and it is a huge hassle sorting the money into bags – so I often use the coinstar machines in supermarkets. You can quite conveniently pour all your cash into the machine and it will sort and count it for you. Although the company takes a share of your money, it conveniently prints you out a voucher to redeem against your shopping in store. Furthermore, you can also donate your money to various charities from time to time; throughout November and December you have the option of donating to Children in Need which is always a good cause.
A Free Shop for Christmas
Come Christmas time, I am going to have a free shop! Between my clubcard points vouchers and a years worth of spare change, I have a few hundred quid in reserve for what is always the most expensive shop of the year!