I tried the $5 challenge
Money. It is so difficult to save, but oh-so easy to spend. When preparing to move out on your own, upgrade to a new home, or just relocate, saving is so important, but the rest of our lives don't stop being financially demanding just because we decide it's time to save money. That's when some one came up with the "$5 challenge". The challenge is to save every single 5 dollar bill that you get. I know sounds pointless, right?
Actually, people have some pretty insane results. One woman saved all of her bills for 13 years and was able to pay off her home with the results. I know I personally don't have the self-control to do this for 13 years, but I was curious to see how much I could save in a shorter amount of time. Three Months.
I told myself I was going to save my $5 bills but I would have to change my spending habits slightly in order for it to work. See, I usually don't carry cash. But I was willing to sacrifice a slight inconvience (aka my wallet being full of something other than debit and credit cards) for the sake of my challenge. My rules were: all bills and auto drafts would remain on my cards, but all daily purchases (lunch, snacks, any shopping I would do within that time, groceries, everything) would be made with cash.
This being said a interesting aspect of the challenge presented itself. Because I held and could physically see my money, I was WAY more strict with my budget. I only had what was in my wallet. Nothing more.
About a week into my challenge I felt good. I had already saved a handful of fives and still had money to spend. I would set my bills aside when I got home for the day and be ready to go at it again the next.
Flash forward to about a month... This was the phase I called dollar bill torture! Every where I looked, left and right, there were dollar bills. I had exhausted my once abundant supply of twenties, and now there was old, crumbled, dirty dollar bills. So I cashed in my dollar bills for... (wait for it).... $58. Yes, I had 58 one dollar bills on my person and it was horrible.
However, I replinish my budget for the next month with my new paycheck and marched on! The next two months went similarly to the first. Breeze through week one and two but by week three the dollars are getting annoying. Last week was dollar bill hell. I would set aside a few fives here and there, but I didn't feel like I had set aside just a ton. I certianly wasn't missing five dollars.
Well, the awesome news is that it wasn't just 5 dollars. At the end of my three month long challenge, I had put aside 63 five dollar bills. Meaning I had saved a grand total of $315 without even really noticing it was not at my disposal. If I would have continued my saving for the remainder of the year, I would have set aside over a grand in five dollar bills. AGAIN, without missing it at all.