I’ve managed to completely fill a coin bank only once. I was in kindergarten and my financial security rested on one of those cardboard tube containers with flimsy plastic bottoms. Mine had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles print, a hand-me-down from my brother–or, rather, one of my brother’s many neglected toys that I managed to salvage during a journey to our roach-infested stock room (it used to be a bedroom but it fell into disuse and we just piled old toys, clothes, and odds and ends there).
Eventually, my turtle bank became so heavy with pisos–scraped from either my then meager allowance or from the floor–that it actually bent with the strain. I was ecstatic and I ordered my mom to deposit it to the bank immediately. I didn’t bother to count it–I probably couldn’t count that high anyway. All I wanted was to have my little canister of patience and sacrificed lollipops safe.
I haven’t repeated that feat since. All my other attempts ended up with me spending whatever I collected no matter how small the amount. When push comes to shove or, rather, hungry becomes famished, I’d rather eat than keep a bunch of heavy, inedible coins.
This February, I realized that my iced tea addiction led me to amass a large supply of Sola bottles. Beautiful glass bottles I want to use for my DIY wedding in 2034. Around the same time, my coin purse was heavy with five- and 10-peso coins–change mostly from my daily P25-a-glass iced tea habit. To make a long story short, five months later, I have this:
I keep a separate one for pisos and another for quarters (both of which are eons away from being full). I know that this little bottle is literally chump change, and for most people, it’s a big nothing. I have no idea how much it’s worth (I don’t want to count it till I fill all the bottles–five more to go!) but this glass jar carries more than a bunch of dirty coinage. It’s a collection of patience and perseverance that I thought I’d run out of when I was five. Plus, it’s a symbolic fraction of my hard-earned money.
Today was especially stressful. I finished three stories, one of which I’ve been working on for over a month; my lunch was completely unsatisfactory; and the traffic was atrocious. So after a wicked birthday weekend, reality sunk in and I resorted to my inner, now-starving grinch. It was one of those days when I felt totally unsupported. While wallowing in self-pity and festering my bad mood, and after eating a couple Tim Tams and a handful of kornik, I unconsciously dropped my end-of-the-day supply of coins in the jar. The last one slid off and voila, it was full! That cheered me up immediately. So much so that Cindy Lou came out and shut the furry green monster in his mountain prison.
My Sola Savings Plan was meant for emergencies. In case I run out of something I desperately need. Today I was in short supply of a good cheer and my little bottle delivered better than any insurance policy. Cheaper, too.
This is what I meant by deux ex machina two posts ago. When all else fails, something will happen to make everything rosy again. When all else fails, you can come back to the space where you feel confident, contented, and rewarded. In this case, however, that happens to be in a less than ideal setting–a scrap bottle of loose coins I keep in my shoe closet. Well, they always say happiness strikes anywhere.
Above: My little bank in late February
I know this money isn’t exactly for current use. “Saving” and “spending now” totally cancel each other out. My loot is for a short term plan that I’ve been wanting to do since last year. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂