More people save the pennies than save the pounds

4 April 2013

money jarYou may have scoffed at the new Spanish mattress safe, but it seems people in the UK are not so far away from sleeping on their cash. New research by has found that more people have a coin jar (33 million) than regularly use a savings account (21 million).

Most jars contain coins of a small denomination (coppers up to 20 pence pieces) but 40% of jars contain 50p coins, 31% £1 coins and over a quarter (26%) £2 coins. The combined total of all that small change is an estimated £1.3bn- the average pot contains £38.35 but 9% of coin jars currently hold over £100.

The biggest reason for using a coin jar is to find a place for all the coins- nearly half (49%) of those who save coins at home do so because they don't like carrying spare change around. However, 45% think that it is a good way to save, with 13% use a coin jar because they think it is a waste of time putting money into a savings account owing to current low interest rates. And coin jars are not just an outdated national pastime- young adults (18-24) are most likely to be storing up their spare change, with over three quarters of this group confessing to using a coin jar.

While preserving the line of your pockets is undoubtedly a future cash saving, is it really better to use a coin jar than a savings account? Although savings rates are record-breakingly dire at the moment, surely some measure of interest on an account, no matter how measly, is better than nothing? Even if your savings rate won’t match inflation, some small contribution might make a difference. While horror stories of Cyprus and Spain might make some anxious, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme would guarantee the likely amount of such savings many times over, so you couldn’t lose your money by putting it in a bank.

But then again, with savings of £38, it would probably cost you more in petrol/shoe leather to go and withdraw the cash from the bank than you would earn in interest.

Jeremy Cryer from said: "Coin jars are clearly a convenient way of storing nuisance loose change from pockets or purses, but for many people they are also a way of saving small amounts of cash. Our survey shows that they are being used as an alternative to traditional easy access savings accounts to save significant amounts of cash, often for a specific purpose."

So do you have a coin jar? Do you compound the lack of interest by tipping it into a coin-changing machine at your local supermarket, or do you take a wheelbarrow into the bank every now and then? What do you use the money for? Or don’t we want to know…

TOPICS:   Banking   Economy


  • Dick
    Instead of driving to the bank, you could use that £38 average contents of the jar to buy stuff you were buying anyway, and not use a debit card. Then the £38 that remains in your current account because you haven't spent on your debit card can be shifted into a savings account online. So no need for a trip to the bank.
  • DragonChris
    I have the very same coin join as displayed in the article (age 25) and use it to store all my crap change, but have been known to put £1 and £2 coins in there when I've been given a ton as change from a note. Although I do also keep notes in my coin jar... So it's more of a moneybox than a coin jar I guess... The point is, it's not used for savings (LOL!) - that's what my savings accounts are for (which aren't gaining much in fairness, damn you collapsing economy, damn you government) and I take the coins out when I think I'll be able to spend them instead of breaking another note. For any real purchases, I use my card anyway.
  • Mike O.
    How interesting.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment