Why Saving Money is Another Reason to Be Thankful at Thanksgiving

I’m just home from a four-day Thanksgiving adventure with my husband, daughter and son-in-law. We traveled from Boston to Denver and then four hours south into Rocky Mountain high country where we spent the holiday in a most spectacular setting with daughter number two’s in-law’s.

Among a multitude of blessings, I’m thankful for family, food, and fun that made up my T-Day, 2015. And, of course, for Anna Kate and Eric who insisted we join them.

Back in Boston this morning after taking the red eye from Denver, I’m unpacking and rearranging, and assessing the trip. Hands down. This Turkey Day was a 5.

There were the in-laws, gracious people, fast friends, and cooks extraordinaire. There was the setting in a spacious house built beneath a mountain peak with wide panes of windows and the most spectacular Rocky Mountain views. There was the warmth of the wood stove, the fun of the competitive games of Bananagrams, the joy of knowing the kids wanted us to travel with them for the holiday. Let’s not forget the moist turkey, the succulent root vegetables, the delicious pies and bubbly Prosecco too.

And then, as always, there was the thrill of cleaning out my pocketbook after returning home to see that I’d tucked away six $5s, or $30 in a few short days. (Including a few thrown in from hubby Bill).

Yes, travel causes us to spend money, but if you’re like me, and use cash while getting from one place to the next, travel is also a great opportunity to add to your $5 nest egg. In fact, I save $5s whenever I travel, whether in dollars, Euros, or pesos during our frequent trips to Europe and the Caribbean.

Once when talking with a friend about my $5 savings habit, and how I always return from vacations with cash to put toward the next adventure, she said: “Oh, I wish I could do the same. I always come home broke or in credit card debt” I shot back, “Well, you can, you just have to pay for stuff in cash.”

My $5s came back while buying the following items during my four days away from home: bottled water and a copy of the New York Times in the airport; two bottles of white wine for the Thanksgiving table; lunch in a finger licking good barbeque place while on the road from the airport to our host’s house, and a few items to supplement dinner picked up at a local grocery store one day.

Oh how grateful I am to be home safe and sound, belly full, heart expanded, another day and a half still left to the weekend, and an extra $30 to deposit in my $5 savings account, which grows every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours in Fives,



Tips for Trimming Holiday Expenses and Saving More $5s

Do all your gift shopping with cash. Wrap your own gifts. Send e-cards for free instead of relying on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver your seasons greetings. There are lots of ways to save money during the holidays.

And to continue saving your $5s.

Just yesterday, with $100 in cash, it was easy for me to save three $5s during a short pre-Thanksgiving shopping trip. I stopped by three different stores—a retail shop, a supermarket, and a convenience store and bought three items (one food, one gift, and one home cleaning product), each time paying with $20 bills. Viola! Three necessary purchases, and three $5s ($15) to add to my savings nest egg. All in one afternoon.

Here are five tips to help you reign in holiday spending over the next several weeks.

1. Do most of your gift shopping with cash. For starters, you’ll be much more aware of how much you are actually spending. And remember, you won’t get a $5 back if you pay with a debit or credit card. Besides getting some $5s back as change, you may get in and out of the stores faster if you’re allowed in the cash only line at check-out.

2. Wrap your own gifts instead of paying extra at the department store. Buying wrapping paper and ribbon in bulk (and then wrapping the gifts yourself) will be much cheaper than paying someone else to do it.
3. Prepare your own foods and buffet tables for holiday parties instead of paying a caterer. Better yet, host a pot-luck party and sample the unique dishes of all your friends and family, while saving stress and money.
4. Instead of sending your holiday photo cards through the U.S. Postal Service, send e-cards, for free. Put the $100 or more dollars you would have spent on printing and postage in the bank instead.

5. Establish a holiday budget and stick to it. Avoid impulse buying just because you like the way something looks or feels. Walk away and if a few days from now you still really want the item, then go back and buy it.

Ta-da! Five easy tips for cutting costs during the holidays. Bet you can think of more.

Yours in Fives,


Why Spreading the Save Money Fast With Fives Plan is a Must Do


Several years ago, when I published a story about my $5 savings habit in The Boston Sunday Globe, I had a digital epiphany. My in-box at work was flooded with messages from readers in Boston and the suburbs, all six New England states, Georgia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai. The simple message of saving five dollar bills as one route to financial security became viral in the blogosphere, and my story of saving thousands of dollars with that method was among the 10-top most e-mailed articles on boston.com for a few weeks. It was also linked in several popular financial blogs. The story even caught the attention of producers at MSNBC and WBZ-TV, as well as Oprah Winfrey, whose producer called me to discuss a possible appearance on the show.

Last summer, when I guest blogged on LenPenzo.com, a popular personal finance blog named best of its kind by Kiplinger a few years back, the same thing happened. Suddenly, my nascent blog went from attracting 50 visitors a day, to 200, to 750, to 2,000, and then, at its height to 6,950 visitors in one day.

Wowza! When a simple idea catches so many people’s attention, it must be pretty cool.

Today, my goal is to spread the $5 Saver message beyond the readership of The Boston Globe, where I worked as a journalist for 24 years, beyond the followers of my blog, SaveMoneyFastWithFives.wordpress.com.

And so, dear readers, I ask a favor. Spread the message of saving $5 bills to all your friends and family. Post it on FB, tweet it out into the universe, tell everyone you know there is an easy, simple method of saving money and building a nest egg, one $5 bill at a time.

Happy Weekend!

Yours in Fives,