Family: Cracking Open the Piggy Bank
When I graduated from high school in 1987, one of the graduation gifts I was given was a small wooden chest. I don't have as much detail on the chest as I might like, but it was brought over to America from Europe by one of my paternal ancestors, and so is quite old, if not exactly valuable. Not having any immediate use for it, I kept important papers in it for a while, and then decided to use it to store spare change.
|The Mighty Money Bin|
Eventually, the box was too full of change to be used for important papers anymore. I got married, stopped eating so much crappy food, and the rate of accumulation slowed, then all but stopped. (When you buy food at a nicer restaurant using a plastic card, there's rarely change, after all)
Recently, money's been kind of tight. Very recently, it's become extremely tight. Enough so, that we've made some tough decisions, like giving up our South Beach diet (meat is expensive) and deciding not to go to Gen Con this year. And with some sorrow, I decided to convert the contents of the box into something more spendable. Liana, the kids, and I spent about an hour and a half sorting through the coins, removing all the silver dollars, half dollars, Aladdin's Castle tokens, and miscellaneous foreign coinage. When we were done, Liana suggested weighing the bag, since it was nearly too heavy to lift. How much does 15 years of pocket change weigh, anyway?
It turned out to be 78 pounds, about as heavy as my two daughters combined.
How much is that worth? I wondered. Trying to be conservative with my wife, I guessed two hundred. On the phone with my brother, I was less guarded, and I guessed four to five hundred. The actual total of 1430 quarters, 2027 dimes, 1261 nickles, and 5296 pennies was six hundred seventy six dollars and twenty one cents, which, while it doesn't solve any of our longer-term financial problems, will certainly buy a lot of groceries.