If saving were easy, then everyone would do it unprompted. But that’s not the case. Sometimes we have to make things fun and interesting to motivate ourselves, like saving money in a jar.
According to a Bankrate survey, only 4 in 10 Americans can cover a $1,000 emergency expense from savings.
Of course, there are other factors that affect our ability to save like wages not keeping up with inflation. But ultimately, we focus on what we can control to protect our financial health, and we can certainly find ways to make it fun.
So, let’s dive into some fun ideas for saving money in a jar.
Why use jars for saving money?
Why should you use this money savings jar method to save money? Here are some of the benefits.
You can watch your savings pile up
When comparing the effects of using cash versus credit and debit cards, a study found that people may spend up to 100% more when shopping with a credit card. This is because holding the money and actively giving it up to buy something makes people pause.
And most of the time, the pause holds us back from making an impulse buy.
Conversely, seeing cash accumulate in a money savings jar motivates people to keep saving.
It makes saving a habit
It’s also a fun way to save. The excitement of a new method can get people to save.
And the sense of accomplishment they get from seeing their money build up leads to the practice becoming a habit.
It helps people who don't save money naturally
Using jars for saving money is also a great starting point for people who aren’t natural savers (like me).
The most difficult part of saving is actually doing it, so a small start is a start no matter what.
What can you use the savings for?
Saving money in a jar can help fund a lot of things. Here are some suggestions.
An emergency fund
A savings jar is an excellent way for you to build an emergency fund if you don’t have one. An emergency fund is cash that you set aside so you have something to fall back on when “life happens.”
For instance, if your car breaks down or the furnace dies in the middle of winter, then you would have money to cover the costs.
Small household expenses
If you want to break the habit of reaching for your credit card, you can also use the cash to pay for small household expenses such as gas, cellphone bills, or bus passes.
Or you can use it for family fun expenses like dining out, coffee runs, or movie outings.
Keep cash on hand
Your money savings jar could also just be so you have cash on hand. Technology fails, and you may lose your bank card or forget your pin.
For moments like these, it’s good to have cold, hard cash.
Fun ways to use jars for saving money
You can save money by transferring funds from your checking account to your savings. But saving money in a jar is satisfying because you can touch and see your money accumulate.
Plus you can make it fun, too. Here are a few creative ways to use jars for saving money.
1. 52-week challenge
For the 52-week challenge, you save $1 for the first week, gradually increasing a dollar each week. At the end of the challenge, you would have saved $1,378. You can also start at higher weekly amounts if you want to save more.
Although if you’re new to saving or on a tight budget, starting with $1 is perfectly okay. Make it easier on yourself to keep going rather than getting discouraged midway and not saving.
So, get your jar ready. Pick a day to be savings day like payday so it’s easy to remember. Your favorite day or any other day works too.
2. Drop all your coins into your money savings jar
This is a good method if you use cash for most transactions or if you work in an environment where you get paid bills and coins.
All you need to do is turn in all your change every night or at the end of the week. No cheating!
3. Save for something specific
For this approach, think of something you’re saving up for. Are you wanting to get a new couch or go on vacation?
Decide how much you’d want to spend. Next, figure out a timeline for your savings goal. Then, calculate how much you need to put in your money savings jar weekly or monthly.
Your timeline might depend on when you want or need to buy the item you’re saving for as well.
Make sure your timeline is practical and achievable. Give yourself realistic goals that fit into your budget.
So, if you’re saving for higher ticket items, give yourself more time. Saving and paying for something in cash is better than giving up and buying it on credit.
4. Follow a savings challenge
Make saving money in a jar interesting with a savings challenge. There are many easy challenges you can follow.
What you do is simply save a set amount of money according to the rules of the particular challenge. It’s a way to remind you and keep you focused to accomplish your goal.
An example is the $5 challenge. The rule is: for the next 90 days, every time you get a $5 bill, you drop it in the jar. It’s fun and it gets you saving.
Another one you can try is the find extra money challenge. You might need to get creative to make extra money, but that’s the idea.
An easy way to get started is to gather all the spare change in your wallet, car, and around the house. You could also look around your home and sell items you don’t use anymore.
Maybe you can pick up extra shifts or work overtime to make more money as well. And all the proceeds go into the savings jar.
5. Save the same amount every week
For a simple approach to saving money in a jar, you could also set an amount that you can easily take out of your budget without feeling restricted.
Start with $5, $10, or maybe even $50 if you can swing it. Do it for the next three to six months. If you saved $10 every week for 6 months, you’d have saved $240.
So, now you were able to put money aside without feeling the pinch. With your cash, you could pad your emergency fund or start a sinking fund for fun things like a spa day.
6. Draw milestones on your money savings jar
This approach calls for you to set milestones when saving money in a jar. Make your jar as colorful as you like, be creative. If you’re like me and you can’t draw, you can just paint lines.
You can also use amounts as milestones. For instance, your first milestone could be $200.
Then, with every line, write down a corresponding reward for yourself when your savings get to that point. Pick small and inexpensive rewards that you can get excited about. These could be getting in the tub for a good soak, ice cream from your favorite place, or pizza for dinner.
The idea is to reward yourself at every milestone to keep you motivated and help you achieve your savings goal.
Types of jars for saving money
Now that you’re excited about using jars for saving money, the next step is to go look for a jar.
Use what you have
Since the goal is to save, we recommend reusing what you already have.
What you’re looking for is a large enough jar to keep your money safe. And use a container that you won’t need for anything else.
So, go grab that pickle jar from the recycle bin. Give it a good wash, and you’re all set.
Buy a savings jar
If you don’t have anything suitable at home, here are jars you can use to get started immediately.
Get these from Amazon:
- Large coin bank jar: This is a plastic coin jar. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
- Glass piggy bank: This is a good size, nice-looking jar. The lid comes off easily, which makes it easy to take money out. It is glass though, so keep that in mind if you have young kids.
- Piggy bank with coin counter: This jar has the coin counter feature to help you track your savings. The lid is also easy to take off so you can reuse it as many times as you like.
Achieve your money goals by saving money in a jar!
There is no specific way you have to save, but you can definitely make it exciting and interesting. If you struggle with saving, try saving money in a jar to keep you motivated.
Or simply change up your saving approach with the different methods we’ve listed here. You can build your savings and master your spending!