Months ago I realized my 2008 Sony laptop was not long for this world. It would overheat. The screen kept freezing. Sheer inertia prevented me from replacing it. When Valerie at Val's Quilting Studio announced the annual piggy bank challenge I realized this was an opportunity to upgrade the computer.
The challenge: save spare change and at the end of the year use it for a special purchase.
My backstory: I have played my own version of "the change game" for years. I began when I lived in Brenham, Texas, in the 1970's. I wrote checks or paid cash in those days (the only credit card I had was for Sears, with a $160 credit limit). When I got change back from a purchase there were usually nickels rather than dimes. I asked the assistant librarian about that. She laughed and said it was because the local farmers felt that nickels were more substantial than dimes. When she and her husband owned a restaurant and they learned to stock up on nickels.
I put those nickels, and other change, in an orange papier-mache piggy bank that looked a lot like this one. I used it for many years until the rubber plug in the bottom finally crumbled. I emptied the piggy bank periodically and deposited the coins into a passbook savings account.
The years went on, I moved and married and moved again. I kept on saving change. I established a routine that I still follow. At the end of each day I empty my change purse, keeping only four quarters and five pennies. All the rest goes into the piggy bank and then into passbook savings. When I got my first computer I began recording the piggy bank savings. (I am not so detailed that I have kept all the old spreadsheets, though.)
A few years ago I watched as a friend sorted $1 bills from his wallet. He kept out all those with the Federal Reserve Bank "B" and "C," the initials of his wife's first name and their last name. He said his wife saved them for vacation spending. That gave me an idea. Since then I've saved $1 bills with "B" and "H." Soon after I added $5 bills to that savings. I usually pay with a credit card (for frequent flyer miles or cash back) so the $1/$5 savings don't empty my wallet.
This week it turned out that I had saved enough coins and enough $1/$5 bills to pay for a new computer (17" HP plus MS Office, virus protection, Geek Squad setup, etc.) [Bonus: I will get gift cards from Best Buy and, because I used my Discover card I will get cash back. (I will make a savings withdrawal to pay the credit card bill when it arrives.)]
I keep change in this pottery jar, a souvenir from the 2014 P.E.O. convention.
Now I can begin Valerie 's Challenge with a clean slate!