Sometimes, no matter how much you try to budget, saving money just seems impossible. But what if we told you we’d discovered a brilliant, but oh-so simple, money-saving method, that could add up to some serious moolah?
The trick: Take every $5 bill you come across and pocket it. It’s small enough to not miss it, but large enough to add up quickly
Marie Campagna Franklin, the blogger behind Save Money Fast With Fives and Associate Professor of Journalism at Lasell College, has been using this system to save up money over the years—saving around $42K total to date. So we asked her all about her savvy cash-stashing method…
When did you actually start saving $5 bills?
“At this point, I think it’s around 13 years. I started at a time when both of my daughters were in private colleges at the same time, and honestly, it was really hard to save money because our monthly college costs were so high. Don’t get me wrong. I was proud of them for being in college and happy to help financially with school. But I’d always been a saver so it rocked my sense of financial security to be spending a lot of money and saving almost nothing.”
What inspired you to start saving $5 bills in the first place?
“It happened almost by mistake. One day on my way to work, I paid for a toll with a $20 bill. The collector returned back three $5s and some change. I tucked the three $5s into another part of my wallet. A few days later, I got another couple of $5s back as change in another transaction and tucked them away. In no time it became a habit. Every time I got a $5 back in change, I added it to the pile. The rest, as they say, is history!”
How long until it began paying off?
“Immediately! From the first three fives I got back as change, to the $5 I tucked away today, it’s always felt like an easy and fun way to save. At the end of most weeks, I count the $5s I’ve put aside, and it feels like a win every time I end the week with money saved for the future.”
How much have you saved in total to-date?
“Around $42,000! Just in $5s!”
Why do you think this system is so effective?
“Because it’s easy and regular. I pay for most everyday purchases with cash so the possibility of getting a $5 back as change occurs every day I am out and about spending money for gas, lunch at work, a supermarket or convenience store. Once you decide to be a regular cash user and save every $5 you get back as change, you’re saving. No effort. No pain. Lots of gain.”
Any major purchases you’ve been able to make thanks to your $5 savings?
“I have never spent any of the money in my $5 account. I’m a purest in that regard. I’ve saved more money from other sources in the time I’ve been saving my $5s and I spend plenty of that. But not my $5s. The account is like a magnet for me, for more abundance, whether that be family, friends, health, happiness in my work, whatever.
There is only one reason why I might spend the money some day. My husband and I love to travel, and we are getting close to retirement. So, I could see us someday taking whatever money is in the $5 account and taking a trip around the world and not coming home until the entire sum saved is spent. Then maybe I’d write a book and call it “Around the World on $5!” What do you think of that idea?”
Any advice for our readers looking to start their own $5 money-saving method?
“This will only work if you commit to using cash for most everyday purchases. You can’t get a $5 back as change if you pay with a debit or credit card. And you have to be patient. It takes time to save as much as I did. But think about it. If someone who is 25 years old reads about the method today and begins saving right away, imagine how much they could save just in $5 bills by the time they reached retirement age? Do the math! It’s impressive.”