Joey, my fiancée, and I weren't officially engaged until September 2010, but we knew early on in our relationship that we were headed towards marriage. We also knew that paying for a wedding would be one of the most annoying financial undertakings of our lives.
Then in July 2009, a Lady Gaga song came on the radio and changed everything.
No, seriously. I was incredibly sick of the song, so I changed the station… right to another Lady Gaga song. I changed the station again… to yet ANOTHER Lady Gaga song. I sent a text to Joey:
Geez. 3 Gaga songs on at a time. We should put a dollar in a jar every time we hear one.
And so started our so-called Wedding Jar.
The song game came to include any song by the Black Eyed Peas, Fall Out Boy and Lil' Wayne's “Lollipop.” “Lollipop” and Fall Out Boy were worth $5 each, because they are played on the radio less. Eventually, we also added $1 for every time we saw someone wearing camouflage (not military-issued). We would also have bonus weeks with $1 for things like seeing yellow plaid shirts or hearing Madonna songs from before 1996.
Saving money is like working out: much easier when you have
(a) a partner
(b) a goal
(c) a fun way to do it.
Our friends thought it was hilarious and I would regularly get texts with things like, “Lady Gaga on Z-100!” or “Old guy next door wearing camo today.” And, in the spirit of saving money, we decided to actually put money in the Jar for whenever our friends saw/heard them too. We kept the Jar going until September 2010.
How much money did we save between July 2009 and September 2010?
That's an average of $480 per month. This means we each put about $3,365 or an average of $240 each per month in the Jar in just over a year. I don't think I've ever saved so much money for a specific purpose so quickly in my life!
There was an actual jar and on the first of every month I would take our money and put it into a savings account at my local bank with a crappy interest rate.
[related_post align=”right”]In September 2010 we stopped putting money into the jar and we researched CDs with high interest rates until we would really need the cash–which would be mid-late spring 2011 when payments for venues, flowers, etc, would be due.
We went with Ally Bank's High Yield 6-Month CD (an online bank) because they consistently had the highest CD rate. We got a 1.3% interest rate and so far we have netted about $40 in interest on our Jar fund. Not much but better than the .05% from the savings account (about the same as keeping it in a jar).
Saving money is like working out: much easier when you have (a) a partner (b) a goal and (c) a fun way to do it.
In case you're curious, we got the most money from seeing people wearing camo — about 40% of our Jar fund.