Remember Andy Warhol’s iconic quote: “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes?”
I had my four minutes and 29 seconds of fame last week when I appeared as a guest on the Today Show in Australia. The topic, you guessed it, my habit of saving five dollar bills. Here’s a link to the interview, which was taped in Boston and aired live in Australia.
What surprised me most about the experience is that even though I was nervous all day going into the local TV studio to tape, once the interview began and I started talking about my $5 savings hack (as the Aussies call it), I was completely relaxed. It was no different than telling a colleague, or the cashier in the supermarket, or students in my classroom, about the habit. Saving $5 bills (it’s been 13 years now and I’ve amassed close to $40,000), is second nature to me.
So, what were the highlights gleaned from the on camera interview?
How did I start this brilliant idea?
First, it’s not brilliant at all, in fact it’s really a very simple way to save money, regardless of your age or financial circumstances. I started the practice at a time in my life when our finances were strained. With two daughters in private colleges at the same time, I worried I was unable to save any money….until a toll collector handed me back three fives as change from the $20 I used to pay my toll. I started socking away $5s that day, which is not to say it was easy to keep the girls in college, but saving every five I got back as change sure was an easy way to save money, however small the amount.
Have I ever been tempted to sneak money from my stash of $5s?
The answer is a simple no. From the moment I began, it was fun, it was a game, and I’ve never spent a five since. I think it’s my steadfast commitment to the practice that has guided my success.
Does the math add up?
The TV hosts asked me to do some math. How much can a person save using this method? Without getting too wrapped up in numbers, I offered this. Save one $5 bill a day and you’ll have $1,825 at the end of the year. Save two $5s a day and it turns into $3,650 by year’s end. Even better. If a person saves one $5 bill a day from the time they are 25 years of age until they reach 75, they will have saved $91,250! Just in five dollar bills.
What am I going to do with all this money?
I’m asked this question all the time, and the simple answer is that I don’t know. The daughters who were in college when I started saving my fives are now married and even while we were planning and paying for their weddings, we didn’t use any of the money in the $5s account. It’s become an abundance magnet for me in other areas of my life, such as health, relationships, work. The one time I might spend the money is when my husband and I retire. We love to travel and I have a fantasy that when we do, we’ll take my $5s account and travel around the world, and not come home until we’ve run out of money. Then, (or maybe before!), I’ll write a book and its title will be “Around the World on $5 a Day.”
In conclusion, I’m still waiting for 11 minutes and 71 seconds more of fame. Because that first four minutes and 29 seconds sure was fun.
Yours in Fives,