I love to share tips and ideas that can help people save money. I mean, who couldn’t use a bit of extra cash in their pocket? And when you’re able to save money on certain things, you can afford to spend a bit more on the things you really care about, like date nights, family vacations, etc. And while today’s post also falls under the money-saving-tips umbrella, it’s a little different than the ones I usually post. Today I’ll be shooting for a very specific goal: to help you save $5.
Five dollars might not sound like a lot, but that money can really add up over time. Here are a few examples to help show you just how valuable saving $5 can be.
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Why Should I Save $5?
If you saved $5 every day for one month, you would have $150. With that money, you could…
- Buy a new outfit or handbag.
- Get your hair and nails done.
- Buy an Instant Pot with all the bells and whistles.
If you saved $5 every day for six months, you would have $900. With that money, you could…
- Buy plane tickets for 2 to New York City.
- Plan a fun weekend vacation.
- Buy furniture for a bedroom makeover.
If you saved $5 every day for one year, you would have $1,825. With that money, you could…
- Put a down payment on a car.
- Fund an emergency account.
- Finally buy that plane ticket to Europe!
So while $5 may sound unimpressive at first, those dollars definitely add up over time into something substantial! So now that you know why you should start hanging onto those Lincolns, here’s a big ol’ list of ideas for how to do it! :-)
24 Brilliant Ways To Save $5
1. Buy discounted gift cards for places you shop frequently and use them like cash. For example, say you shop at Walgreens pretty frequently. You could buy a $50 Walgreens gift card for $45, then immediately transfer $5 into your savings account. Then just use the gift card like cash until it runs out. Easy! Check out sites like Raise.com to find discounted gift cards, or buy them at warehouse stores like Costco.
2. Avoid ATM fees, especially for ATMs that aren’t managed by your bank. An ATM withdrawal from one of those can easily cost you $3 from the ATM and another $3 from your bank—that’s $6 down the drain! Instead, just get cash back when you’re at the checkout stand after grocery shopping.
3. Choose free or low-cost entertainment options. Pull out those board games, lawn games, puzzles, and other fun stuff out of your closets and enjoy them for free! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average family spends $2,482 on entertainment like admission prices, toys, and movies. That’s nearly $7 per day, and $7 you could easily save instead.
4. Fill out the surveys listed on the bottom of your store receipts. They often offer rewards, free items, or a discount just for a few minutes of your time.
5. Skip your daily soda, bottled water, or coffee drink. That’s an easy $5 saved, and if instead you drink water from a reusable bottle, it’s a great choice for your health and the environment too!
6. Walk more, and drive less. Being willing to walk or take public transportation can save you some serious cash, depending on your driving habits and gas prices in your area.
7. Use a service like Ebates to get cash-back incentives on purchases you would make anyway. I wrote a whole post about how to use Ebates to save money, which you can read at the link below!
8. Make multiple casseroles. The next time you’re making an easy casserole, make double, triple, or quadruple the amount you normally make. Freeze the others, so you can use them the next time you need to get dinner on the table fast. Instead of spending money on fast food, you’ll have a homemade dinner on the table in no time.
Related: In Defense of the Casserole
9. If you’re a frequent movie-goer, invest in refillable drink cups and popcorn tubs. Not every concessions deal is a great money-saver, but it may be well worth it if you love movie theater popcorn as much as I do! ;-)
10. Consolidate your errands into one or two longer outings per week. You’ll spend less on gas, and probably less on food and snacks that you may have bought during shorter errand runs.
11. Install a money-saving plug-in like Honey on your internet browser. When you buy something online, Honey can automatically test known discount and coupon codes for you before you checkout, potentially getting you a discount or even free shipping. It’s great for shopping on Amazon too, because it will show you if the price listed is the best one on the site. I personally LOVE this plug-in! Since I installed it on my laptop last year it has saved me hundreds!
12. Take advantage of weekly discounts. A theater chain in our area offers $5 tickets on Tuesdays, and a lot of taco joints offer discounts on Tuesdays too (Taco Tuesdays, anyone?)
13. Sign up for the email list or download the app for your favorite restaurants. You’ll often get a free appetizer or dessert just for signing up!
14. Make sure your car tires are properly inflated. If your tires are 2 PSI below their recommended inflation, you’ll lose 1% of your average gas mileage. Most people’s tires are 5-10 PSI under the recommended inflation! It’s very possible that just by inflating your tires properly, you could increase your gas mileage by 5% and keep more money in your pocket.
15. Before heading out to a store, check their website for any digital coupons. (This is especially applicable for crafts stores, which almost always have digital coupons that can save you quite a bit!)
16. Check your junk mail (or your Sunday paper) for coupons and discounts at local stores. Think twice the next time you throw away a coupon mailer. It’s like turning down free money! If I handed you a $5 bill, would you take it and crumple it up and throw it away?
17. Consult your grocery store’s weekly ad while making your shopping list. Planning your meals around what’s on sale can save you a lot of money!
18. Try the generic or store brand version of items you buy regularly. A lot of them are just as good as the name brand items, and making those little switches is a surefire money saver.
19. Spend less on prescription drugs. Many common generic drugs cost around $4 for a 30-day supply at Costco, Kmart, Target, Walmart, and others. And some stores offer their own discount programs for generic and brand-name drugs.
20. Make your own cleaning solutions. (Of course if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you already know all about that!) You can easily save $5 by making a cleaner instead of buying one at the store.
21. Eat less meat. You can really save on your grocery bill when you start planning more vegetarian meals during the week. In almost every case, fruits, vegetables, and protein-backed staples like beans offer a better value for your money! For inspiration, check out one of my go-to meatless meals – vegetarian burrito bowls!
22. Use all of your food scraps. Saving the tops and ends of all your veggies, you can quickly build up enough material to make a delicious homemade vegetable broth! Read more about that below.
23. Connect your entertainment center or home office equipment to a smart power strip. A smart power strip can kill the power to all the connected devices when a specific device is turned off. (For instance, you could turn off your TV, and the power strip would also turn off your sound system, your gaming consoles, etc.) This simple step can cut down on energy costs quite a bit!
24. Don’t speed while driving. Not only is speeding less efficient in terms of gasoline use, but it can also get you an expensive speeding ticket! So stick to the speed limit, get more mileage from the gas you buy, and keep that speeding ticket money in your pocket!
25. Literally save $5, every day. Take that $5 bill and put it in a soda bottle (to stash it away and make it harder to access!) If you’re not a cash person, apps like Digit can help you do it automatically! Digit analyzes your spending and determines when you can spare a few extra dollars, and it puts that money into a secure account for you. I started using this a few months ago and love it! It’s fun to watch it grow!
What are your favorite ways to save a few dollars? Let me know in a comment below, and your idea could be featured in a future blog post! :-)