Each week I empty all the change (coins) out of my purse/wallet/pockets and put it into a jar. I have decided that this year I will use the change to make contributions to charities. The change could be saved for the month and given to different causes or organizations or saved for the entire year. This way I can increase my charitable giving without impacting my budget.
Great idea, Jeannette! I recently heard about another way to increase your charitable giving with little impact on your day-to-day budget: host a clothing swap. You can clean out your closet and gather the clothes that you don't wear very often, then invite your friends to do the same. Host a gathering and ask your guests to bring a small donation ($5, for example) as well as their unwanted clothes to swap. At the end of the night, you have a nice donation that you and your friends can send to a charity of your choice, some clothes that are new to you, and a cleaner closet.
There's actually a new organization called Swap for Good (swapforgood.org) that calls for people to set up these clothing swaps around the country. They started to help raise money for domestic violence shelters, although it seems to me that this would be a good idea to support any cause you are passionate about.
I used to save and use change similarly however what I've noticed in the past several months is that with the increased use of my debit card for almost all purchases, I simply don't have change anymore! I only just noticed this this month when I went to dump and sort my recent collection, that it wasn't even full yet! Wow! Plastic is indeed changing our world! And I was one of the last Mohicans when it came to refusing to use plastic. (Mind you, I still will only use a Debit, not Credit card, unless absolutely necessary on rare occasions. I still hate how it feels to use my debit card and how I wonder if folks think I'm charging such things like groceries, gas, small items, etc. )
Completely leading this topic astray, Sandy, you're much safer using credit cards than debit cards for transactions, especially if you are using online. Odds are that your number will get hacked sooner or later, and it's better if it's a credit card. Your checking account doesn't get wiped out, and a credit card company provides a safety net against fraudulant charges. Banks will usually work with you on fraudulent debit charges as well, but it might take a few days, and you might be without your checking account funds during those days. Also, using a debit card at a gas station usually puts a minimum hold on your account for a period of time, usually around $75, until the actual charge posts.