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I don’t think I’m alone in having children that know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Therefore when I came across the 365-Day Penny Challenge on social media, I thought it sounded a great way to get the children to understand the value of money better and for us all to easily save a decent amount together.
We started on January 1st, but you can start at any time so long as you do it every day for a year. The premise is very simple: Each day you put one more penny in a jar/money box than the last. So on day one of the challenge you just put in 1p. Then on day two you put in 2p; 3p on day three and so on and so forth. Obviously it starts off very easy and there’s not too much to get excited about in the early stages. By day 31 you’ll have £4.96. However, it does soon start to accelerate.
In the latter stages it certainly gets a lot more challenging; after the 300-day mark, you have to find in excess of £3.00 daily to put in the pot. We softened the blow by setting up a collection on the side. Into this pot we put any spare change we had after we’d made the day’s contribution into the main one. My husband hates having coins in his pockets so has a habit of dumping them all on the sideboard as soon as he gets home. The girls and I quickly claimed it all for the side pot and that’s how we help to fund the more difficult part of the challenge. I also squirreled away extra coins I had in my purse after breaking into a note.
We did regular count ups to make sure that we were on course and hadn’t missed any days and to also make sure we’d replaced money if we’d dipped into it for some reason (it was very handy having a collection of change knocking about!). A quick search on the Internet for the 365-day Penny Challenge will provide you with a host of downloadable charts, which you can print up and tick off daily to keep track of everything.
At the end of each month I’d suggest changing up what you have into bigger denominations so that you don’t eventually have to go to the bank with literally thousands of coins. Also, if you do dip in for say £3 of coins (I did this frequently when I needed change for parking), make sure you replace as soon as you can and if possible with a little extra.
When we completed the challenge we had £671.61, which felt quite a tidy sum for fairly minimal effort. We’re doing it again this year.
Francesca De Franco is a wife, mother to three girls, freelance PR, and owner of The Parent Social blog.