A High Five for 5’s

 While we are already far beyond New Year’s resolutions, let me share one that’s never too late to start. I save five-dollar bills. And just today, April 7, my 2016 stash topped $300.

I don’t even recall where I first read about it – one woman’s personal savings plan to stash every $5 that came her way – but I decided to try it.

Two years into the experiment, I’ve saved about $1,100 a year – and that’s even after raiding the stash a couple of times when I needed a little last-minute cash. (I try not to do that, but it does come in handy sometimes.)

Saving fives makes every in-person retail transaction a bit more fun. When someone changes a $20 for a small purchase by handing me three fives – score! If the moment is right, I share my $5 savings strategy with the clerk or cashier and often, recruit a new believer.

My credit union is accustomed to seeing my paper-clipped $100 bundles, which I bring in to deposit, a few hundred bucks at a time. The tellers also think it’s a cool idea.

I never intended this to be serious retirement savings. This is just extra, and just for fun – but it has turned out to be a definite boost to my emergency fund. I suppose you also could use it as mad money or Christmas cash.

Saving fives has another benefit during the holiday season. I grab one bundle specifically for charity and carry it with me. Instead of digging around for spare change for the Salvation Army kettle, I pull out a five. Giving an extra $100 to charity, $5 at a time, is a good feeling.