Save Alone or With a Partner?

$5s2 (2)

I am lucky to have a partner willing to go along to get along. Perhaps the reason I married Bill 38 years ago is because he lets me be me, and that includes the way I dress, act, and speak, and of course, the way I save my fives.

Despite this, I had a vague sense the first few years of my practice that he thought the $5 savings habit was weird. Or that he figured he would be able to come to me for that money, say for a home repair or an unexpected car bill. Not a chance, Billy Boy! Now, however, he regularly contributes $5s to my growing fortune, a gesture he is always sweet when making.

“Hi, honey, look what I brought home for you,” he’ll say dangling a $5 bill in my face.

“Oooohhh, better than flowers,” I say plucking the $5 from his hand.

Some days, while I wait for him in the car and he makes a quick stop at a convenience store, he’ll return with a quart of milk, a grin on his face, and three $5s for me. “Ah, I hate it when this happens,” he says referring to the occasional times when a $20 spent on an item less than $5 results in three fives as change, but he always hands over the fins.

But, and this is an important but, there’s no rule that says you have to involve anyone else in your Save Money Fast With Fives plan. If a spouse or significant other wants to try it out too, fine. If not, fine. If you’re single, fine. It may take two to tango, and how beautiful a dance that is, but doing a solo where you’re the only one on stage is poetry in motion too.

Yours in Fives,




What Are You Saving For?


When I first started saving my fives, when my kids were in college and my husband and I were denying ourselves most of our favorite pleasures (toilet paper, anyone?) so we could stay afloat, I planned to use my fives stash for a warm climate winter vacation. For the first few months, a week in the sun was my $5s savings goal. As the weeks passed and the stash of fives grew a lesson emerged: my nest egg of $5s was a magnet for more creativity and more money and if I didn’t spend it, more money would come my way.

Soon after, my husband started throwing all his loose change into a jar, and then, he I began throwing in dollar bills, maybe an occasional $10 or $20. In no time, the jar took on the mission of saving for the winter trip, while the $5s stash kept on growing.
By the end of the first year, I decided: I would save $5s for no other purpose than to save, and if I wanted to save for something specific, I would set aside an envelope or a jar for that goal. Since then, my husband and I have used that jar to pay for airline tickets to five tropical islands: Vieques and Culebra, Puerto Rico, Saba (a Dutch island off the coast of St. Martin), Isla Mujeres, Mexico and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Island.

The fives fund—separate from the change jar— has, as I’ve already mentioned, grown to around $36,000. Naturally, people often ask me what I am going to do with this money, my stash of $5s. Frankly, I have no idea. While I can easily draw up a list of all the things I could spend my five dollar nest egg on, I won’t, at least not yet. Sounds crazy, I know, but the truth is I’m learning too many lessons and having too much fun watching my nest egg grow.

My collection of $5s is a magnet, drawing more money to me in other ways. So I can’t imagine why I’d want to spend it. But I know this. If I decide one day to spend some or all of my five dollar account it will be to nurture a deeply held dream, passion or desire. In other words, I’ll never spend this money frivolously or on a whim.

But you are not me, so it’s perfectly okay to use the plan in a different way. I know many people who are saving their $5s for a particular goal: a wedding for themselves or one of their children; a vacation to a particular destination; a kitchen renovation; to pay off their school loans, to name a few. It really doesn’t matter what you’re saving for, only that you ARE saving.
The best thing about Save Your Money Fast With Fives plan is you can adapt it your needs. You can custom tailor the way you save your fives, where you save your fives, the end goal of how you will (or won’t) spend the fives, even whether or not you save actual five dollar bills, or simply decide to set aside $5 a day (whether in $1s, coins, or a $5 bill). Adopting the plan, you’ll see, will be far more flexible than you think.

Some people save for a specific goal. Others save for one year and then add up—and spend—what they’ve managed to set aside. As with anything else in life, you are in charge of how things turn out. You’re the producer, director, and star of your own show. With money, or anything else, I say, go for the Oscar, aim for the stars. High fives!

Readers, leave a comment, please. What do you plan to do with your stash of $5s? As always, I would love to hear from you.

Yours in Five,


Cocktail Party Trivia for $5 Savers


One of the fun parts about saving your $5s is that you’ll want to tell everyone you meet. Spice up the conversation with these $5 bill factoids.

* According to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, only 9 percent of all U.S. paper currencies are five dollar bills. By contrast, approximately 45 percent of paper currency produced in the country are ones, 11 percent tens, and 22 percent twenties, making up 88 percent of all paper currency. In other words, you won’t miss the $5s if you save them because there are fewer $5s in circulation than any other paper currency so you’ll still have lots of cash left to spend.

* The current $5 bill bears U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait on the front. The back of the bill features the Lincoln Memorial. This bill is all about Honest Abe.

* The Bureau of Engraving and Printing estimates the average life of a $5 bill is 16 months until it is retired due to wear. Or until it ends up in my hands, in which case it lives forever!

* In March, 2008, the U.S. Department of Treasury released a new $5 bill into circulation. The bill has two number 5 watermarks added to the design, splashes of purple and gray, that officials say will put an end to counterfeiting.

* Nicknames for the $5 bill include ‘fin,’ ‘five-spot,’ ‘fiver,’ and ‘nickel.’

Yours in Fives,


Save Money Fast One 5 Spot at a Time

$5s2 (2)

Long ago, Abraham Lincoln, whose face appears on the five dollar bill, told a story of perseverance, one that might be relevant to all people in the world who want to save a little bit of money.

In Lincoln’s words: “The difference between history’s boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is, often, simply, the diligent will to persevere.”

Might this concept also apply to saving money, one five dollar bill at a time? It’s worth considering.

When I first started saving $5 bills, I wasn’t sure how long the practice would last. The first week, I did it simply because I could (and with two kids in college at the time, it had been a while since I’d put any money aside, so I did.) When I saw how quickly the $5s added up, I decided to continue the practice for a while. Twelve years later, I’m up to $36,000 and here’s the thing. There have been many times I’ve wanted to dip into my fund, or spend it all, but I don’t. Why? Because I have made a firm commitment to saving every $5 I get back as change. Firm. No negotiation. Nada. No.

It’s the same kind of ‘diligent will to perservere’ that keeps a marriage together, gets you up for work on a day when you want to stay in bed, the same stick-to-it-tiveness that Abraham Lincoln was talking about all those years ago.

Yours in Fives,