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Coin jars stuffed with £1.3bn as Brits shun savings accounts for DIY saving

21 August 2014
  • 66% of Brits regularly save cash in a coin jar - the average coin jar contains £40.80;
  • Over half (54%) of coin jar savers think it’s a good way to save money;
  • Only 45% of UK adults make regular monthly payments into a savings account.

An estimated £1.3bn* of loose change is sitting in coin jars across the country, according to new research released today, as 10 million more UK adults save money in a coin jar than in a bank or building society savings account.

Commissioned by Gocompare.com Savings, the research found that 31.3 million UK adults (66%) have coins stashed in a jar, while only 21.6 million (45%) regularly put money away each month into a bank or building society savings account. The average penny jar contains £40.80.

More women (67%) than men (64%) have coin jar savings but, the value of men’s money pots are higher with an average of £42.80 compared with just £39.00 for women.

The survey also revealed that:

  • Over a fifth (22%) of jars contain in excess of £50, while 9% contain over £100;
  • 2p coins are the most likely denomination saved (82%), followed by 1p (81%), 5p (79%), 10p (59%) and 20p coins (58%), 38% of jars contain 50p coins, 27% £1 coins and a quarter £2 coins.

When asked why they put money in a penny jar:

  • 54% said it was a good way to save;
  • Just under half do so because they don’t like carrying loose change around;
  • 22% use coin jar savings to treat themselves;
  • 11% said that it was a waste of time putting the money in savings account because of low interest rates;  
  • One in ten were saving for something specific.

Claire Peate, customer insight manager at Gocompare.com, said: “Anyone who regularly empties their pockets or purse of change into a coin jar will be surprised just how fast it adds-up. As our survey shows, it’s not uncommon for people to have a significant sum of money stashed away – nearly one in ten of penny jar savers have over £100 sitting in their penny pot.

“While coin jars are a quick and easy way to save loose coins – they could be costing you money in lost interest. If you find you are regularly building up a significant sum and not missing the funds, it could be worth setting up a direct debit to a savings account or Nisa and stepping up your savings effort.”


Notes to editors:

On 18 July 2014 an online survey was conducted among 2,005 randomly selected British adults age 18+ who are also Springboard United Kingdom Community members. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current data on age, gender, region, and education from the most recent census data, to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of the UK. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*According to the Experian Demographic Summary there are 47,755,246 adults in the UK (aged over 18). Therefore 66% of Brits say they have a coin jar, equating to 31.5 million people. 45% of all those surveyed said they are currently putting money away each month in a savings account, which equates to 21 million. The average amount in a coin jar is £40.80 and there are 31.5 million people with a coin jar. So to calculate the total amount in the Nation’s coin jars: £40.80 x 31.5m = £1.28bn.