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What should I do with all these coins?

I’ve always collected loose change in order to save up for something. When I was a teenager, I saved coins (and even the occasional bill) in a tin earmarked for a trip to Disneyland with a friend. I even kept a piece of paper inside, detailing each deposit (and the rare withdrawal). In one summer, I was able to save a few hundred dollars – which ended up being my spending money during my trip. It was an amazing feeling knowing that everything I bought on the trip was because I had the willpower to save a few coins every day.

Now, at home in Vancouver, I collect change in a cute penguin piggy bank. I used to save coins to treat myself to something – maybe a dinner out, or a gadget I’ve been wanting to buy for a while. But now, it’s there to help me pay down my mortgage. Once a year on my mortgage anniversary date, I plan on emptying it out and putting that money down on my debt. It may not amount to a lot of money, but every coin and every dollar counts.

Here in Stuttgart, we’ve accumulated a ton of change over the last year. There’s a tin can in our apartment that holds 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins (why does the Euro have so many coins anyway?). I just don’t know what to do with it all. It’s not a TON of money, but it’s probably about €20.

I was originally using it to pay for using the laundromat, but our building got a new owner a few months ago, and we now have access to the building’s free laundry machines.

I don’t really want to pay for groceries or a meal out with handfuls of change, and we have yet to come across one of those coin counting machines (I heard they’re really rare in Germany). I don’t have a German bank account either, so I can’t deposit it anywhere.

So what should I do with all of this coin? We only have 10 days left here!

We’ve only come up with two solutions so far:

  1. Go downtown and give it to the homeless people or street buskers.
  2. Do nothing and leave it for the next person who rents out the apartment.

Any suggestions? What would you do with all these coins?

What would you do with $1,000?

Let’s say you were given $1,000. Whether it’s from a holiday bonus, gift, inheritance, or even lottery winnings. You were not expecting the money, and it goes above and beyond what you projected to make this year. So, what would you do with the money? Not what SHOULD you do (or what you would tell people you did with it), but what would you truthfully do with it?

I would love to set a great example and say that I’d put the entire amount towards my mortgage, or put it into my RRSPs, but I have a really hard time believing I’d pay down debt or save all of that money once I actually had the money in hand. And I’m just being honest. Whenever I get windfalls, I usually spend 10% on whatever I want, and the other 90% goes towards something responsible. That way, I get to treat myself to something nice, while still putting myself ahead financially.

However, if I were to receive $1,000 today, I’d probably spend $250 on holiday gifts, $250 in my RRSP, and $500 towards my mortgage.

When I asked my boyfriend the same question, and he said he would put the cash towards living expenses. But when I probed him some more (okay, a lot more), he admitted that he’d probably spend it on a good, reliable bicycle (since he doesn’t have a car). And that’s fair enough. But the first thought that came to his mind is what he SHOULD do with the money, when in reality, he’d probably end up doing something completely different.

I understand wanting to splurge and spend it on something fun or an awesome trip – because it wasn’t money factored into the budget anyway. And I also understand wanting to save all of it – because windfalls don’t come around often.

A few weeks ago, I asked people on Facebook what they would do with an extra $1,000, and here’s what some of them said:

Aside from the “burn it and watch” answer, I was really impressed with the responses. :)

What would you do with $1,000?

With December coming up, would you use it to make the holidays extra special? Would you splurge and go on a vacation? Or would you save it all? Be honest!

Hello from Toronto!

Well, here I am in Toronto. It feels great being back in Canada, and I have a feeling the next few days are going to be amazing. Toronto is probably the only other city in North America I would consider moving to, and I think one day in the future I’ll end up here.

I haven’t written a lot about the Canadian Personal Finance Conference (CPFC12) because while I know a lot of PF bloggers read this blog, most of you don’t care about it. But, with the conference starting tomorrow (and a social event scheduled for tonight), I need to at least write one post about it. :)

For those that don’t know, Preet Banerjee and I are the organizers and founders of CPFC12, and it seems crazy that just a year ago, we were discussing the possibilities of an official blogger meet-up in Toronto. What started out with an idea for an evening with a dozen bloggers, has turned into a real 2-day conference with amazing speakers, a great venue, and people flying in from across the country for it.

Last year, I attended the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago. It was a lot bigger than CPFC12 is going to be, and I can only imagine how big FINCON was this year in Denver! In fact, FINCON is an official sponsor of CPFC12 – that’s how big they are! But when Preet and I were talking about creating this conference, we both had the same idea: a small group of enthusiastic Canadian bloggers getting together for a weekend to learn, laugh, and share ideas. Our original venue held 40 people, but when we realized how much enthusiasm there was for this conference, we quickly found another venue and decided to sell nearly double the tickets. The conference sold out in days, and there was even a waiting list for last-minute tickets.

It’s such an exciting thing to see an idea come to life like this – but I’m also extremely nervous about blogger expectations. This is a big commitment for fellow bloggers to spend hundreds of dollars coming to an event that has never happened before. It’s intimidating! I hope that everyone gets something out of it, and that they have fun.

Well, that’s all from me for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and for those going to CPFC12 – I’ll see you tomorrow! :)

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