Friday, September 24, 2010

The College Fund in the Corner

Ever since I first met my husband, he has had the habit of stockpiling the change that finds its way into his pockets.  Each day he empties his pockets wherever he happens to be standing whenever the mood strikes.

It drives me crazy to be endlessly finding coins here and there.  The kitchen counter, a shelf in the living room, the floor (he empties his pockets before sitting on the couch and proceeds to forget about the coins littering the floor),...

A few years ago when we were dating, I brought him a giant container to house his pennies which he refused to use or cash in.  "Who does that?", he asked. "They are just pennies, why bother cashing them in until you have a lot", he had joked.  I think he knew just how much the hoarding of them drove me crazy. 

Quarters, dimes, and even nickels all got cashed in at some point after being sorted and placed carefully into wrappers before being deposited at their new home, the bank but never the pennies.

I remember saving all of my change as a child but as an adult I hated having it lying around so I always used it to pay for items. Yes, I was one of those annoying people who usually had the correct amount of change when paying cash.  Now I just use my debit card for most purchases and only carry $20 in my wallet for emergencies.  It just makes it easier and I like being able to track my purchases.  This is one of the glaring differences between my husband and myself.

The container from the Discovery Channel line that held my husband's pennies used to house plastic frogs of every shape and size.  It was tall enough and sturdy enough to serve as a bank of sorts. It sat next to the cabinet that held our china, out of place in the formality of our dining room, a reminder of my husband's eccentricity youthful heart. It was always a conversation piece.  The joke was that if we ever had children, it would be their college fund.

Eventually, the pennies reached the top of the container and a new container had to be found.  I recycled a pretzel container that once held little mini packages of pretzels shaped like pumpkins and bats from Halloween.  My husband couldn't resist counting the coins before placing them in their new home.  I watched my husband dump the coins onto the floor before dumping them into a coin sorter, his arm muscles straining as he lifted the container, a container I couldn't even lift.

He only had around $80.  I couldn't believe all those pennies only amounted to such a piddly dollar amount until my husband reminded me that it totaled about 8,000 pennies. He wanted to see how many we could accumulate over the years.  It was a challenge and my husband loves challenges.  He had been doing it almost as long as we had been together. There was no plan to stop. 

The pennies made the move with us to our new home and made it through the birth of our two daughters without being spent (not that they would have bought very much).  When I became pregnant with our first daughter, the running joke became somewhat of a reality.  We now would have a daughter (now daughters) to pass on our vast wealth for college.

Although the pennies now are hidden reside in a corner of our front hall closet hidden among containers filled with craft supplies, we still have them. It has become a family joke, one that gets pulled out and dusted off  around the holidays. The container is to heavy to lift and must be slid out of its hiding place.

Our oldest, a little scavenger of coins, loves to collect the little metal discs of varying sizes to put into her piggy bank.  Any coins left lying around by my husband on the table or anywhere else that he deems safe enough get snatched up in her little hands and go into her bank rather than her daddy's.

Luckily, we started a 529 to help subsidize our daughters' college fund in the corner. I doubt all those pennies will even pay for a year's worth of college books by the time our oldest heads off to college.

In fact, I see those pennies being carted off to school (at least once our daughters get there) handful by handful for the penny drives that are held each year for various causes.  There they can do more good than sitting in a dark corner for the next fifteen years. Daddy will never miss a few pennies among the tens of thousands that will most likely accrue by then.

Emmy sitting on her and her sister's college fund


Stephanie Faris said...

I just hate cash. I loathe it! It's such a hassle, for the reasons you mentioned. My hubby loves cash, though, and always has change lying around. I've collected it in a bag and need to take it down to CoinStar.

Lourie said...

Wow! Pretty soon there will be a penny shortage. ;)

The Drama Mama said...

That's a lot of pennies!! Hmmm. I wonder if your girls would keep the tradition alive and just let those pennies accumulate over the years.

Someone who works at a store where they have those coin change things told me that the most she's ever seen to come through there was almost $1000 worth of change. It took 4 carts to haul it all in, and 2 hours for the old man to get it all in the machine. She said that he had been saving it for a long time, and his granddaughter was heading off to college. He wanted to give it to her as a college gift. Such a sweet story!!

Anonymous said...

We did something similar years ago and with that change we were able to get CDs for out kids and get some savings started for them. Every penny counts and you guys have ALOT of pennies!:)

Joy said...

My husband takes it to our local bank. Luckily they still take rolled coins.

I can't imagine $1000 worth of change but that is such a sweet story. Obviously, he had been saving for something special and I think it was beautiful he wanted to give it to his granddaughter as she headed off to college.

I really hope our daughters do NOT continue the tradition since I have no idea where we would put it!

Post a Comment