Don’t forget to check those coupon codes. I found a good one by California Pizza Kitchen. If you fill out a little form online to register for their newsletter, you get a $5 coupon to use on your next visit.

Whenever you know you are going to go out to dinner or buy something online, or even in a store, be sure and check their coupon codes. Why not? If you save $5 ten times a year, that is $50. Now that is some serious change.

Speaking of change. Always pay for merchandise with paper money. You will get a lot of change this way. Never use a quarter and a penny, when the bill is $4.26. No, instead use a five dollar bill. Now you will have 74 cents in change.

I always throw this in my purse, and every week or so I dump my purse on the bed and Voila, I have a few dollars in change. I have a great bank that says ‘Trip Money’ and all the quarters go in there.

All the pennies, nickels and dimes go in a crystal vase. Every time I am about to go on a trip, I empty the bank and the vase into a zip lock bag and take it to my nearest Coin Star machine.

If you haven’t used one of these, they are great. Usually they are in markets or drugstores. All you do is dump your coins in the hopper and they go through the machine. The machine takes a cut of about 10%, which seems fair and you get a voucher for whatever the amount of coins you put in.

For me it is usually around $40. Amazing how it adds up, and a very painless way to ‘save’. You will never miss it.

When my son went off to college, his big ‘expense’ was getting a real haircut. In 1977/78 this was $20. I taught him the ‘change’ trick and suggested he put all his loose change in a mayonaise jar. Then when he needed a haircut, he would probably have close to $20 in the jar.

Nowadays it is tough. If two people go to a movie, that is over $20. A trip to the snack bar is about the same, if both people get popcorn, candy and a drink. Most teens today have credit cards and it is so easy to swipe that card for gas or groceries. Even MacDonalds and Jack in the Box take Visa and Mastercard. So no change.

An ice cream cone is $2 or $3 these days. And a trip to Starbucks is definitely a $5 expense, even if it is just a tall drink and a cookie. Still, with tax, it usually isn’t an even amount, so there comes in the ‘change’. Of course Starbucks takes credit cards also.

But there are still plenty of places to use cash and even if it is just for a candy bar or a pack of gum, if you give the store a one dollar bill, you will get a bunch of change for your jar.

Here in Hawaii there is state tax on everything. Even groceries and shoe repairs. In many states there is no state tax on services like dental exams. But here there is. So when possible, pay cash and keep the change.

If you shop when there is a two for a dollar, or three for a dollar sale, by the time the tax is added, that is $1.05. Just fork over two one dollar bills and you will have 95 cents for your change stash.

For you readers who have children, whether they are still at home, or going off to school, teach them this little ‘trick’ and they will willingly save all their change, plus get a kick out of cashing it in and then getting something they really want.

I like being able to see the coins adding up in a glass container. But now there are digital coin counting banks that keep track of just how much you are depositing each time and the grand total. Whatever your choice, just do it.

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