The Five-Dollar Savings Plan

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It’s very simple. Every time you get a $5 bill, you save it! At the end of the year, you buy yourself something! 

I saw this idea on Pinterest last year, and decided to try it…it was so fun!

Here’s some more details…

Every time you get a $5 bill, you save it. I kept mine in a clip for a long time, until I finally found a shadow box at a thrift store! Then I stored it in the shadow box, simply up on my wall. I used a dry-erase marker to change the amount every time I added a $5.


At the end of 2012, I still didn’t have enough money for what I wanted…a Kitchen Aid. If you know me at all, you know that it’s one of my dreams – to own my own Kitchen Aid! So I continued to save, and this weekend I finally got enough!

Here’s a rule (at least for me): YOU CANNOT ACTIVELY SEEK $5 BILLS. What I mean by that is…you can’t ask for your change in $5’s…and you can’t just go withdraw money from the bank and get it in $5’s….that’s cheating!

My first time using my $5 savings plan: Kitchen Aid

So I went to the store and bought it! (You can get the full story here)

It basically felt like I was getting it for free…because the amount in my bank account stayed the same…it was all from the shadow box on my wall! That’s the beauty of The Five-Dollar Savings Plan. I can spend money on myself once a year without feeling bad about it!


I WAS SO HAPPY!!! I celebrated by making cupcakes 🙂


Here’s the cupcakes I made with my NEW KITCHEN AID!!!

074Want to know what kind of cupcakes those are? Well….you might want to sit down…it’s pretty weird. Ok, ready?

Brown Sugar Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream Icing

Curious? Go here to learn more…

And if that totally grosses you out, click here to check out my other cupcakes! None of my other cupcakes have avocado, I promise!

My second time using my $5 savings plan: Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection

Click here to read the full story about this one!

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My third time using my $5 savings plan: A sitting apparatus…well, 2

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Click here to learn more about those!

My fourth time using my $5 savings plan: A porch glider and a table!


Click here to learn more about that!

Now, go forth and save up those $5 bills!

If you’re looking for some money-saving apps, click here for the best ones!


On a different note, if you’re still trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, here’s some ideas!

Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups

Sheridan’s Speedy Rolls

Creamy Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese


Filed under Happenings

98 responses to “The Five-Dollar Savings Plan

  1. Mamachica

    Woohoo! Did you happen to put all those bills on Where’

    • Dang, I totally forgot!!! Ok, next time, I’ll bring ’em all over and you can help me 🙂

    • Ann

      That’s very great idea, but I wouldn’t put them out in public eye, I live in a great neighborhood and my house was randomly broke into. They took everything of value in the plan eye sight. And I was lucky because I had my jewelry tray on my dresser covered with folded laundry because of my new kitten. (thank goodness because they would have just dumped it in their bag with the rest of my stuff if it had but right out there.) Sad but true, feel like I need to hide things from bad people, in my own house.

      • That is incredibly unfortunate! Thanks for the reminder of keeping things safe.

      • You could put a picture in the front and let your $5 bills fall behind it, It will make it invisible to guest and a mystery when it is time to spend it.

      • Great idea if you want the mystery! I like to know how much I have, in case I’m saving up for something in particular. Happy saving!

      • If you want to hide it, but still use this basic idea AND keep track, i would suggest sliding a picture in and when you add money, write the amount on the back of the picture, or hang a tag behind the picture that you can write on. Love this savings plan!

      • Monica Hansen

        My hiding spot last year was inside a throw pillow on my bed.

  2. marcelt

    howd you make the box

    • I actually didn’t make it. It’s a shadow box, similar to this one.

      But I didn’t pay that much for mine. I found mine at a thrift store! It took me a while to find it, and it was worth the wait since it only cost me $2! I just kept the $5 bills in a binder clip for the longest time until I happened across this shadow box that was in my budget.

      Happy saving!

  3. Cyd

    I just started this myself July 1st. I bought a box that looks like a book at Michael’s. I am not keeping a running total as I want to be surprised on July 1st 2015.

  4. xokitty

    I think I’ll start mine now to us for Christmas next year!!!

  5. Elyse

    I decided to start this Jan. 1st this year. Such a great Idea! 🙂

  6. I’ve been doing this for about 6 months now, and have saved up enough money to buy our 2 plane tickets for our vacation in February!

  7. Bailey

    I’m actually a little confused. You said that if you draw money out of the bank that it’s cheating but my paychecks get direct deposited to my bank. So would I still be technically cheating if I took out cash to spend that week?

    • Valid question! Let me clarify….it’s fine to take money out to spend! I just meant to not take out a bunch of $5 bills. If you are taking out some cash to buy things with, that’s not cheating. Let me know what you end up buying with all your $5 bills! Happy saving!

  8. Kat

    too cute and good idea, Im gunna do this!

  9. carol rask

    Sounds great! I think I’ll start as soon as I get back to work in Feb. Off right now, still on sick leave.

  10. Karli

    I had heard about this before and decided to start it with the new year! Being a waitress, I come into contact with many $5 bills and I’ve already saved over $200 just this month so far! Unlike in your post though, I’m going to save up to buy textbooks next semester! (and hopefully have some left over for a concert ticket or two) Good luck to everyone saving!

    • Wow! If this plan saved me that much in just one month, I wouldn’t be worrying about how to pay for my ticket to Romania this summer! Good for you! And I know what you mean about textbooks – it took me 7 years to finish my undergrad, and textbooks were my life! Happy saving!

  11. OMG Romania! that sounds great. I recently used my (bill save/coin save) bank (an old tide pods container, i need to use the dry erase thing so i don’t keep losing coins when i count once a month) I almost NEVER use cash so it didn’t save me alot, but when i’d somehow get cash, birthday, returning something that kinda thing, i put it in the container. same with coins. this past winter i used it to pay for the gas for my vacation to florida (was only 280) unfortunately the PLANNED vacation didn’t happen but the off the cuff vacay i had in florida was pretty amazing. i think i’ll do this starting on the 25th to be taken from in september for me and my sister to have our PLANNED vacation

    • Yes, I LOVE Romania!! I like your coin saving plan! I would love to take a vacation to Florida – I’m glad you were able to go! Good luck with this savings plan, and have fun with your sister on that vacation!

  12. Love the pic of you with your kitchen aid, so cute. Thanks going to try this!

  13. Sondra

    I love this idea but those of you that are like me and everything goes threw the bank something I learned from a friend is to “upsy~downsy”. When we balance our check book for every spending cost we round up and for every deposit we round down. So each entry is saving a little bit of money. I do this even if the cost is like $3.02, we subtract $4. That entry saves me .98. It’s amazing how fast the coins save. By the end of the year I have Christmas bought and nothing out of our regular paychecks. It’s amazing now that we have 4 grandbabies, 3 came in 2013…lol. Love money saving ideas!! Have to do the $5 save to treat just me. 🙂

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  15. julie c.

    You go girl!!!
    Your plan sounds very workable!!
    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  16. Pingback: The Five-Dollar Savings Plan! Basically, every time you have a $5 bill, you save it, and then you buy yourself something at the end of the year! Im going to try this for my trip saving fund - The Home Decor DIY

  17. Reblogged this on A Day In The Life Of Stephannie and commented:
    I am going to try this! I can’t wait to get started! Should I make a wish list! I think yes!

  18. Jennifer

    I get so much cash out of each pay check and i save all my change up in a baby food jar then when my next pay check comes around i dump that change into a frosting container. i try my best to save back 5’s or even 10’s. still working on that one!!

  19. Lisa

    I can’t afford to do this with $5 bill but do save all of my change in a laerge water bottle. Every night all the change goes in. I have had to dip into it for an emergency or two but generally save it up until I see something I really want or if I go on a weekend getaway once a year with my mom & sister. It is fun to be suprised how much all that coin adds up to in such a short time.

  20. Rosalia Lindsey

    Five dollar savings I’m excited to have this plan.

  21. mikie miller

    Too bad the dart costs me $5 bills. I used to do this with any amount over a 10 increment in my pocket at the end of any day. Change in one jar, bills in another, but they never lasted. The struggle is real.

  22. Deb w

    I save all my change and some ones fives and tens. When you go to the grocery store and you’re asked if you want cash back you can add a little bit to your savings
    I also would go to the bank and ask for rolls of quarters. I kept them I’m the rolls still. Saved $300 for vacation one year just in change

  23. BriZzle

    I was sold on the cupcakes until I read avocado icing.

  24. Judy

    My husband and I did something similar with change and $1 bills except ours went to pay off our debt and this along with other financial changes paid off $40,000 in debt in about 10 months! I think we will now incorporate this $5 idea into our life and enjoy a vacation 🙂

  25. Shay Burke

    I wanna start this but I fear my biggest problem would be breaking into it when I need money right then and there. Any idea’s?

  26. Kathy M.

    I did this 2 months before my grandsons graduation and saved $175. in that very short time! I stashed it in a drawer though not on the wall.

  27. Jennifer

    Where can you get a shadow box

  28. David buraruk

    I’m gonna start

  29. ronda

    i did that one year with my change had enough for my husbands plane ticket for a surprise Christmas gift shes passed away and i will never regret the joy it brought them

  30. Lucy

    I live in UK when we got £2 coins my late husband & I decided not to spend them until we had enough for something we wanted but could not justify out of our normal money. I still do this + I round up to £1 all shopping, If I use a coupon then the money goes in the Pig. If I have to stop at a red traffic light I put 20p in jar, green light is 10p, all change in my purse on Sat night. If I buy something at a reduced price I put the difference between that and full price in Pig too, It’s amazing how it mounts up.

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  32. Valerie Hill

    When we first had our son there was never enough money to really have a savings account. When our daughter came along even less. They are now 29 and 27 and I started doing that for them. They are not allowed to spend it and it will be something they can have when there really ready for it.

  33. Monica Hansen

    My sisters and I have been doing this for a few years. The first year we all covered a shoe box with wrapping paper and put a small hole in the side where the money would go. Our goal was to use our money for flowers for our gardens. You couldn’t count it or take any out. If you took out a bill or spent a five you had to replace it with a $10. (We did tell the little sister you had to replace it with a $20 and she bought it and ended up with some twenties. You gotta have a little fun!) You could not ask for 5’s as change or get any at the bank. It had to all be random. Well we had way more money than we ever thought and more than we would spend on flowers. Since then everyone finds their own container and we don’t tell what it is. I have chosen stuff in my house that no one would know it had money inside. Once I used a throw pillow on my bed. This year I am using a decorative vase that has dried flowers in it. At the end of the year we all (4 of us) get together and bring our containers and we help each other count the money. The person with the most buys lunch. One month left and we will begin the counting. I can’t wait. Of course when we visit each other we wonder what object is full of CASH! This is such a fun thing for us. Who would think we could get that excited over getting a five dollar bill back as change. Last year I had over $1100.

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  35. Rose Swientek

    I like your ideal I’m going to give it a try too, I want to see if I can save to help pay off a few bills and take care of my pets bills I’ll let you know how it goes wish me luck.

  36. Cara

    I have been doing this for a while now. I’ve become obsessed with five dollar bills. Last Christmas I had saved over $1200 for shopping. This year I’m saving for our trip to Italy. It is so much fun. I bundle them in stacks of $100 so its easier to count. Actually I follow the savings chart for Christmas that I found on Pinterest.

  37. Cassie

    I used a coffee can and just cut a whole in the plastic lid. You can even decorate the coffee can if you want to make it decorative. And once while deployed I used a little plastic container that locks closed and kept it in my panty drawer so it was safe when I was at work. First time I had about $200 in about a year, on my deployment i threw every $5 and $1 bill I had. It kept “change” out of my pockets since I wouldn’t carry a purse while out. 🙂

  38. I love this! Would you mind if I shared your photo (the one of the $5 bills in the box) on my blog? I’ll link back to you and credit you, of course! I’m creating a roundup post for my blog http://www.mediumsizedfamily

    You can email me at mediumsizedfamily @ gmail dot com too. Thanks!!

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  40. Heather Estes

    Adorable! Enjoy that mixer, cute girl!

  41. Alexis Patnode

    This was so helpful thanks

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  43. Lauren

    Love this!!! I am trying this method now. I do not have anything in mind that I want to buy at the moment. I want to see how much I can save.

  44. Mary Kop

    Love this Idea! Previously I saved $1 (sometime larger bills) and coins for a cash emergency. I showed my son and he couldn’t believe I saved $600 in cash (I didn’t count the change). I think I will try the $5 for something fun. Thanks.

  45. lorelei

    This is a really great idea! I’m going to start saving my five dollar bills! This is so smart! I’m glad my mouse kicked on this! Thanks so much for sharing the idea!

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  48. Denise

    I ABSOLUTLY love this idea. Im deff. going to try that because like you ive dreamed of owning a kitchen aid stand mixer since i was a kid…a life time lol. Congratulations on making your dream(s) come true $5.00 at a time. 🙂

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