Last week I was browsing some new blogs and came across one who mentioned a sealed pot challenge. Interested, I poked around a bit more on that blog until I found the link to the originator of the challenge. It's a simple enough xmas/end-of-year savings concept - you get a pot or container of some kind, put a hole in the lid, seal it up well and then over the year put in whatever amount of money it is you have decided on. At the beginning of December everyone opens their pots and posts about how they got on and what they're going to do with the money. Kudos to the original sealed pot challenger I found, Sue, as she is planning on using the money she saved last year as her entire housekeeping budget for 2013 - that's a challenge for herself and her husband to live on 1.31 (GBP) per day. It's an excellent way to make sure that you're using up your stores properly as well, rather than just buying whatever catches your eye, but I don't think I could do it!
On to my pot. I spent the week thinking about it but not really putting any effort into going looking for something. Then last night, on the way home from work I passed by a shop on my road that had some 50% reduced items on a stand outside with more inside. I took a look and got myself a nice tin for 3 euro. Yes, the frugal way to do it would have been to use something I already had but after the week I'd had, I was tired enough to know in my heart of hearts that I wouldn't get around to it and would have ended up just dropping the idea entirely. And, while I was in that shop I found the perfect gift to complement what I had already gotten for my sister's birthday - something I've been half-heartedly looking for anywhere I've been and wouldn't have thought of finding in that particular shop. So, leaving work punctually yesterday was, overall, a very good idea.
There's been nothing fancy about how I prepared my nice tin to receive money. I basically stabbed a knife into the lid a few times until it made a hole and then worked the knife backwards and forwards and side to side until the hole was big enough to fit coins through. I didn't have any double-sided sellotape but thought Sue's method of using that in order to be able to put a nice ribbon around the top was a good one. I do have some packing tape though, so I stuck that around the edge of the tin, sealing the lid to it. Then I cut vertical slits in the tape at intervals and finally folded each section down, rolling it in to stick to the tape lower down.
What am I going to save?
I started by throwing in the small chain which has been slowly collecting in an un-used oil burner whenever my purse was too full to close. Not much of it, it has to be said, as I'm usually good about handing over exact amounts of change when shopping. I will be emptying my purse of coins at the end of each month and putting that in, too. For January, that meant 3.74.
I am also going to try and follow the 52-week cumulative savings plan that someone mentioned in the comments on last week's sealed pot Sunday post. The idea is that you start at the beginning of the year by saving 1 euro (or pound or dollar or whatever you have) the first week, 2 the second week, 3 the third week and so on until the end of the year. Now, that would mean that by December you're saving in and around 50 a week and to be honest, if I have that much to save, it's going straight into my savings account at the beginning of the month to earn me some interest. But I do like the general idea and am going to try it out at least until halfway through the year. I think that once I hit the 26 week mark I will then just restart but this time with 2 euro instead of 1 euro coins. We'll see how it goes. At any rate, my sealed pot should only receive money over and above that which is planned savings, because they will be transferred straight into an interest-bearing account.
In summary then, my sealed pot will be getting the loose change from my purse at the end of the month, and each week, from my housekeeping money, the number of euro that is equal to the number of that week. I may throw in other bits and pieces of coins from time to time if I come across them. And I'll be opening it with everyone else at the beginning of December, just in time for my birthday, which seems like an excellent time to be doing it.
Anyone else want to join in?