Walking around town with a bag of gold
June 13, 2010 11:45 AM   Subscribe

i want a medieval-style leather coin bag which I will fill with Sacajawea dollars every month as a way to help me keep on budget.

I have three questions.

1. Is this a stupid idea

2. Is there a place online I can get something like this? I basically want this, but I live in the USA.

3. I will be headed to a Renaissance Faire next month, and I bet there will be some on sale there. What should I look for in terms of quality? I don't want to have to worry about it falling apart.
posted by rebent to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If you are doing this as some sort of a budgeting thing, perhaps you should get a larger bag? I mean, a bag of that size will be completely full at around $100 I'd guess. Maybe something like this large leather drawstring bag would work? It has a similar "style" (I am stretching by calling it style) but will hold enough money to actually make it more budget/savings friendly.
posted by banannafish at 11:49 AM on June 13, 2010

Try searching for leather dice bags. See here and here for examples.
posted by jedicus at 11:49 AM on June 13, 2010

1. Is this a stupid idea

Well, since you asked..have you heard of the envelope system? That's basically what you're doing here, only turning into an awesome bag of golden coins. I have a program on my phone that lets me set up several accounts that I deduct money from whenever I spend it, and then I can see how much I have left. If you aren't disciplined enough to stick to it, actually carrying around the cash is totally a great way to stick to your budget, but there are other ways that might be a little more convenient.
posted by niles at 11:50 AM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this is an AWESOME idea.

Seconding the dice bags as a good source.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:02 PM on June 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Even though Sacajawea dollars are legal tender, you'll come across people who don't want to take them (especially poorly-trained teenage cashiers who are confused by the idea of dollars in coin form). If you're okay with convincing people that you are actually paying them real money once in a while, go for it!
posted by oinopaponton at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2010

1. Is this a stupid idea

Yes. Sorry but you asked. If you want to restrict your cash usage per month, why not use normal cash and a normal wallet? Take out your credit/debit cards so you're not tempted to withdraw more.

A large leather coinbag is going to get cumbersome, particularly when you start mixing up other change in there.

The only exception is for the renaissance faire itself, where I think it would really fit the atmosphere and probably be fun actually, but that requires you find a bag before the event.
posted by like_neon at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

[fixed the link, carry on]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:51 PM on June 13, 2010

Leather dice bags, as jedicus and others have pointed out, might be the way to go. Your profile page has you in the same city as Titan Games, to which I have never been, but this seems like a good place to start.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:15 PM on June 13, 2010

1. Is this a stupid idea

spending money on a gimmicky bag does seem like an odd way to start putting yourself on a budget.
posted by jimw at 1:31 PM on June 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

It is not a stupid idea. I like it. A "gimmick" may be just what you need to keep you going. After all why does a kid need a bank shaped like a pig? Because it is fun. My mother used to give my sister a Kennedy dollar every week, my sister put them in a treasure chest. She ended up with a hundreds of dollars. She didn't spend the money since it was "treasure" and the coins were big and odd.

As for getting a cool bag, go ahead, consider it an investment. I have a really great leather bag from a ren fair. You could also go really medieval and make one yourself. That way you can make a big one for all the coins.
posted by fifilaru at 2:14 PM on June 13, 2010

If you want to restrict your cash usage per month, why not use normal cash and a normal wallet?

Because the weight of bills is negligible, but the weight of a crapton of dollar coins is noticeable? It's harder to be surprised that $20 is "missing" when your coinpurse weighs significantly less than it did the last time you bought something.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:18 PM on June 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Some good answers already so I'll just chip in on the first part. A wise man once said, "if it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid."

If it works for you, go nuts.
posted by codswallop at 2:19 PM on June 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is a more rustic, authentic, version and only $3.95 US.
posted by Pamelayne at 2:21 PM on June 13, 2010

Everyone has to figure out what works for them. If this ends up working for you, and isn't some kind of distraction you're putting in front of yourself - e.g. "When I find the perfect bag for my golden coins, only THEN will I begin to save/budget/etc." - then it's a great idea. I'm assuming that the visual, very literal reward of the bags of golden coins appeal to you. If it does and it works then go for it. If you're going to spend tons of time and energy on the perfect bag, well, then no. Go to the Ren Faire and buy something and get to work.

It is not hard at all to get people to take the coins these days. It used to be, and every once in a while someone hasn't seen them, but not like it was at first.
posted by micawber at 2:24 PM on June 13, 2010

I won't say it's stupid (I agree with codswallop's quote), but I would make two suggestions:

First, don't spend money to save money (i.e., find an alternative to a bag you have to go and buy).

Second, this will work better if you don't have to go out of your way to save (i.e., use paper dollars or similar, unless you happen to come across a steady stream of Sacajaewa coins).
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:34 PM on June 13, 2010

Try this company for pouches: Renaissance Leather. I got my pouch from them at a renaissance fair. It makes me very happy.
posted by fifilaru at 2:37 PM on June 13, 2010

My first reaction was, "but how will he carry it?!" because I was imagining you starting off the first of them month with a hundred-pound wallet, but it turns out each dollar is only 8.1g. It would actually be feasible to fill up your wallet (in the original sense of the word!) each Sunday with a hundred dollars and carry that around the rest of the week, if you don't mind carrying a hundred dollars around in hard currency.

I would imagine the hard part might be having a tangible indication of how much of your weekly allotment you have yet to spend: you'd have to resist the temptation to think, "Oh, I still have five dollars left, let me think how to spend it tonight!"
posted by d. z. wang at 4:48 PM on June 13, 2010

Don't let the haters get you down. I help people budget, every single day. I think this is *fantastic*.

If I can help you (or any other MeFites) with your "getting into budgeting," just MeFi Mail me. I won't try to sell you anything. Dumb questions are totally fine.
posted by Alt F4 at 8:06 PM on June 13, 2010

1) Yes. Carrying money is the easiest way to spend money (I have lots of practice). Instead of carrying a whole month worth of money in easy to steal/lose/spend form, try counting out every night the amount you need for the next day and only carry that.

If you want, you can store your weekly/monthly supply of cash in a sort of treasure chest in a safe place in your house, although I would just make that a cardboard box with "treasure chest" written on the side.
posted by anaelith at 8:48 PM on June 13, 2010

An easy way to resolve most of the issues people have presented in the thread would be to execute this plan for one or two key spending categories (say ... coffee).

I know where anaelith is coming from with her "Carrying money is the easiest way to spend money" bit ... when I'm just carrying money that has no specific purpose, my attitude is "well ... the money isn't in the bank, so it's kind of like it's already spent, so I might as well spend it." But if the money has a specific category that it's assigned to, it's a lot easier for me to make the right-but-hard decision to not spend it as quickly, as I know that'll limit my choices later in the month.

This splitting-money-into-categories is why many people who use cash use the envelope system, as you can see where the money's coming from. But, like anaelith, I find that if I just have lots of money on-hand (say, $200 in lots of envelopes), it disappears. Using your money pouch specifically for dining out, or drinks, or coffee, or something like that might help you tame your most troublesome categories, but then leave you with flexibility to use your credit card on other stuff (e.g. co-pays at the doctor's office, where you're not really going to stray into Credit Cards Gone Wild territory).

Side benefit of using the pouch: Let's say you're out with friends, and you buy your beer with your Sacajawea Dollars. It gives you something interesting to talk about "Woah! Are those real dollars? Can I see one?", and it also encourages talking about money and spending choices and whatnot, which are important topics that people shy away from talking about.
posted by Alt F4 at 5:10 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this is one of the neatest budgeting ideas I've ever heard. Budgeting is such a drag, I'm all for anything that would make it more fun. I'd totally get a kick out of doing this myself, if my purse didn't already weigh 400 pounds.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:32 AM on June 14, 2010

My friend has one he got in asia, that is made of the scrotum of a kangaroo. I'm not sure what you'd google to find that, but it's pretty badass. Looks just like that, only brown.
posted by TomMelee at 10:31 AM on June 14, 2010

Thanks for all the comments everyone! Based on your advice, I think I will get one of the dice bags. I plan to budget about $20/week for things like eating out, movies, snacks, games, etc. Everything else I am pretty good at not spending too much money on; my biggest problem is buying things that I could do without, but now that I have a job, feel it's ok for me to buy.

Two things I am worried about are: 1) looking like a doofus 2) the bag being an encumbrance, meaning I leave it at home/in the car, defeating the purpose of having it in the first place.

Anyway, if you are interested, here are my thoughts on your comments:

Envelope system (several people mentioned this): I like the idea but I think that, as I said, the only envelope I really need is the one I put the money I can spend on whatever I want.

Sacajawea dollars not being accepted: This is something I am a little worried about, but I am pretty easy going, and I do enjoy explaining that what I am doing is, in fact, legal. If someone doesn't want to take my money, then they don't have to.

How would you carry it? I have thought about this a great deal. I thought about putting a clip on my belt that I could hook the winded cords onto, or maybe just putting it in my pocket. I am also nervous about it making that super annoying jangling noise that coins always make.
posted by rebent at 7:29 PM on June 14, 2010

I think you will look like a doofus, but an AWESOME doofus! I mean, who doesn't want to hang with a doofus with a BAG OF GOLD COINS?

It's a little dorky, yeah, but more on the eccentric-and-clever end of the scale than the lame-and-losery end.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:34 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

thanks for the good words! :)
posted by rebent at 7:55 PM on June 14, 2010

Well, I am happy to show you the results, viewable here.

I ended up buying the very cheap leather dice bag and the only way it could be more perfect is if it was more rounded on the bottom like in cartoons :)

Thank you everyone! Marking this as RESOLVED :)
posted by rebent at 6:42 PM on June 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

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