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For years we’ve had an old mason jar sitting on our kitchen counter.

I think it originally held some marbles from an attempt at a chore/behavior plan (that I can’t even remember anymore).

Then one day, I must have dumped some loose change in there.

Along the way a few random screws and some Box Tops dropped into it.

It’s kind of the “junk drawer” of jars.

But you know what?  There’s something about this mighty morphin’ change jar that ever so gradually changed the way we handle odd money.

And I like it.

The In and Out Jar And How It Can Save You Money

How to save money with an in and out jar. A jar full of money. How to cover unexpected expenses with money saving tips.

I think a lot of people have a jar of money somewhere in their home.

What makes this different is that we’ve given that jar an actual purpose.  It’s no longer a “collect all” kind of jar.

Here’s how.

Lost Money

We all get bits and pieces of money that we don’t think much about.

Whether it’s a kid actually bringing you change home from the youth group activity they went to (who is this kid??) or money you got from selling clothes at the consignment shop, that money tends to just get lost, doesn’t it?

I can think of a million times when I said, “Oh, look, I do have a dollar. Go ahead and get something from the concession stand.”

(Maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’d like to think I would notice blowing through a million dollars.)

Or I’ll give into that urge to get a “happy hour” priced coffee drink on my way home from errands.

Yeah, that money is extra, so why not spend it?

Well, not anymore.

Pop Up Expenses

Cause just as often as we waste that “extra” dollar we have, some “extra” expense will pop up.

Maybe it’s sports fees, pictures, school supplies, a repair, or a book you didn’t know you needed until the last minute.  Those things will nickel and dime you to death.

(No wonder you never have any wiggle room in the budget!)

The Solution

These days we use the in and out jar for those kind of expenses.

Sell something on Craiglist?  Put the money in the jar.

Your favorite kid decided to eat a snack instead of buying McDonalds on the way home from his trip?  That cash goes in the jar.

Other found money ideas:

  • the cash you got at the customer service desk because you forgot to use your coupons in the check out lane (just me?)
  • the rebate check from the mail

On the other hand… when he gets invited to go roller skating with his buddy tomorrow?  Well, he can take some money out of the jar.

Is It Perfection?

Of course not!

Things hardly ever work out perfectly.

And it might take a little extra effort to make it work.

For instance…in our family, these days we find that we need less and less to live comfortably.

So when we find something in the house that no one is using, we make sure to sell it (if we can).

Looking out for things you can sell (whether that looks like using Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist or a consignment shop like Once Upon A Child or Clothes Mentor) will keep you afloat.

Try an In and Out jar and see what it does for your budget.

And if you like what that can do to your savings, you’ll really this chart that shows you how easy it can be to save an extra $100 per month!

Do you have a money jar in your home?