Learning how to calculate mentally the change expected from a purchase (make change) and then to measure what is actually received (count back money) has more value than is apparent.
It is not uncommon for people to receive the wrong change from a clerk, even with the automated equipment. It is also not uncommon for the wrong amount of money to be given when cashing a check, even at a bank.
People often lose money and never know it. Losing a little change may not be extremely significant but the truth is that when you are careless with small amounts of money you will tend to be careless with larger amounts as well.
The intelligent thing is to practice care with all your money. Counting back change is a part of that practice.
There is another good reason to calculate and count your change. While counting change is an elementary skill and some might say petty, it really isn't.
Counting change is a part of learning to pay attention to your money in general. Paying attention to details is essential to effective money management.
One of the major principles of financial success is money awareness. Paying attention to your money is critical because it contributes to the underlying attitude that shapes all your financial decisions, large and small. In other words, never take money transactions for granted.
Counting your change in a way that assures you the amount is correct is a simple skill, but it is one that is becoming less and less practiced. Why? For one reason, many people actually have no idea how to do it.
An interesting tool is provided at Fun Brain called Make Change which gives you a chance to practice and improve your skills at figuring out how much money is required to count back money. It’s even fun.
A purchase is presented along with the money you give the clerk. You mentally compute how much change you should get back (clicking on the bills and coins offered and stating how many of each are called for) and get congratulated or informed of your mistake.
Make it more of a game than anything else. It may not be Cityville, or even Free Cell, but it can make fun of an otherwise rather mundane venture.
What you need to do is to forget what the machines (cash registers) tell you and learn how to figure quickly in your own mind how much money you are due to receive back after a purchase.
If you are old enough, as I am, you learned how to count back change by doing it along with store clerks. Only a few years ago every customer wanted to know they were getting back the right amount of money and would have calculated it themselves if by chance some clerk did not.
Every cashier used to count back money, and did it because everyone expected them to do so. With the advent of cash registers that just tell you how much change you are entitled to receive, the practice of counting back disappeared at the stores. Naturally it didn't take long for most folks to just forget how.
But counting back money is not just an interesting historic relic. It is a valuable skill worth learning.
An excellent internet page designed to teach people how to count back change is found on the eHow site: How to Count Out Change. Go there to learn in detail how in a format that could be used to train clerks but works for you as well.
Counting (making) change and counting back money are associated with money consciousness. Start counting your change today. And stay aware of money in all other situations as well. This small change will help make you more aware of money and help keep you moving toward greater success with your money in every area.
Your Personal Guide to Achieving Success With Your Money and Your Life