A Jar of Pennies…Planning My Future Budget

At the end of every day I empty out my pockets for loose change and throw it into an old Poland Spring 3 Liter bottle.

At first the change hit the empty bottom of the container loudly, but as the months passed it has gotten quieter and quieter as I put more money in. This makes me happier & happier.

This lil jar of change is my Mad Money stash because I believe everyone should have a little something for that rainy day. However, from the holidays and definitely what Michelle here as described as Lifestyle Inflation I almost brought my lil jar to the bank and cashed it out.

The plan for this lil jar will be future vacation or maybe the wedding dress of my dreams fund. Luckily I resisted the urge to cash it and realized I didn’t need more money…I needed a budget & the self-control to remain on that budget.

Hi Everyone, I’m a Chloe, from the blog Ergo, a 27 year old homeowner, who escaped of college without student loans & has a mediocre job. 

Throughout the past 2 years though I have been carelessly living with a credit card swipe here & everywhere to the point where I have depleted my entire Checking account. I do have a savings account cushion that I WILL NEVER TOUCH so I’m not in debt yet.

However, if I continue on with my compulsive shopping habits and careless behaviors it will be the road I will be on. Now the Matter at hand is “How to build my Checking Account back up & Budget.”

I’m compiled a Mini List of a Few Rules & Tidbits I’m going to use to Start of my New Year w/ Saving Money & building back up my checking account:

  1. Confront my Inner Battle between Need vs Want…
  2. Shutting off my television at night. I sleep w/ the TV on…It’s not good for my TV or my electric bill. Also, I plan to not turn on every light in the house… Only if I’m in the room will I leave the light on.
  3. Identify my Biggest Spending Habits. Lunch-hour. If I stayed in on my lunch hour, it would really make a difference. My biggest money culprit is eating Lunch Out & Lunch-time shopping. If I stayed in and walked around the Office Complex where I work, I’d get an extra work-out in too. This would kill 3 birds with one stone. A) Save Money by Brown-Bagging it. B.) Save Money by NOT shopping at the Nearby Mall & C.) Save Gas, which in turn saves money.
  4. Date Night Every Other Week or Once a Month. If my boyfriend and I go out to eat it is at least $40. We eat out a lot. If I cut back to having a Date Night Once a Month after 2 & half years of dating I think that would be okay. There are MANY cheaper alternatives to the classic Dinner & a Movie Date…I can’t wait to find them!
  5. Creating a Master Excel Expenses Spreadsheet – I plan on laying out ALL of my Expenses & using the nifty formulas to calculate exactly how much I can spend or not each month.
  6. The most important thing I have to remember is just because I have a coupon, DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE TO USE IT! Additionally, if it is On Sale, IT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE TO BUY IT! I’m guilty of both…This ties into Need vs. Want.


With these as my starting point, I definitely need to visualize the reality of the situation and take off those rose colored glasses w/ my personal finances. I’m shaking my head & kicking myself that I let my checking account get in fact so low. But in any changing experience, identifying the problem is the first step.

What Are Some Changes You Are Going to Make in The New Year to Save Your Pennies?


  1. ashleenikol says

    One of my goals for 2013 is to stick to CASH ONLY, no more swiping the card {unless it's a home emergency & we don't have the funds to cover it yet}. Great post Chloe! :)
    My recent post High Five For Friday

  2. @danilee_13 says

    So I have one question for you, and anyone who cares to respond, actually. When anyone speaks of cash only, what does that mean to you exactly? Does it include your debit card, which is linked to the cash in your checking account? Or do you strictly carry cash bills in your wallet? One of my goals for 2013 is to reign in our spending and budget as well.
    My recent post I've Never Been More Ready For A New Year

  3. Hawaii Planner says

    Those are great goals! I too am guilty of the coupon/discount issue. :-) I have set myself a *very* tight budget in 2013 to hopefully compensate for that.

  4. Jon says

    The end of the year is always a great chance to look back at things that could be done better. I carry a small notebook in my pocket and write down every cent I spend. The total for the day goes on a spreadsheet. My wife and I also battle the coupon/discount issue. Cheap items that sit around forever or go to waste are a waste of money. Great post…and keep saving that pocket change it adds up fast.

  5. says

    It's great to hear from you. I'll be sure to check out Ergo.

    I too struggle with the work lunch hour. I haven't been able to quite cold turkey, but I have found some low cost options to keep my spending down. I definitely won't spend more than $5 and I only go once a week. However, it's hard to quit altogether. I find myself needing to get away at lunch to reclaim what sanity is left.
    My recent post My New Years Resolutions

  6. sunshineandseashellsblog says

    I can TOTALLY relate to #s 1 and 3! They are my problem areas. Ughh.

    However, #5 is a daily routine to me. I update my spreadsheet everyday-ish. It will literally be the best thing you ever do for your finances!! Good Luck!

  7. studentdebtsurvivor says

    So guilty of number 6. I seriously had a coupon addiction, that I've since kicked. I'm also going to try to bring my lunch to work each day. To make that easier I'm planning on cooking one new meal/dish per week so I can bring leftovers and not just sandwiches (that usually bore me and contribute to me going out for lunch).
    My recent post Our Son Is Clueless About Student Debt-Help!

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