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How I spent my $5 bills


Some BAD readers may remember that for years, I have saved $5 bills. Like I don’t ever spend them. I have a container in my house where I put all my $5 and have for years. It’s just a game I play with myself as an “extra” savings. And I haven’t touched it for years.

Well, I take that back, I have Gymnast $15 last week from there to buy Starbucks for he and his ride to school on the first day of the semester. (When I took the kids, I would always buy them breakfast or a treat on the first day of class so just continuing this, in a sense, and I didn’t have any cash.)

Back to the story at hand…I have now completely depleted my $5 stash of this week. Let me tell you how…

Christmas for the twins

The twins turned 23 this past fall. And I was struggling with what to get them for Christmas big time last fall. So I finally decided on an experience gift, a mom and twins trip. (I’ve done lots of trips with the younger kids over the years due to sports or availability or whatever so don’t come for me for not being fair.)

VEGAS, baby!

Yes, for Christmas, I bought the 3 of us round trip tickets to Las Vegas and paid for two nights in a hotel on the strip (hello, $62 per night!) Thank you, Hopper, for the great deal. We flew there early Sunday morning, which means we landed there early Sunday morning. Then flew back early Tuesday morning, which means we were back here in Georgia by lunch. We had two full days of playtime!

Fun money

I didn’t let them take their debit cards. And I decided to empty my $5 savings to be our fun money. I did this for a few reasons:

  1. Didn’t want to take any more money out of my regular budget to pay for the trip.
  2. Wanted to have small bills to make it easy to spend smaller amounts on things versus getting stuck with only having big bills. (We do not have a local bank. So withdrawing from the ATM limits the bills I can get.)
  3. Great way to give us each some fun money without putting the burden on them or blowing my budget.

This meant, we each got $140 to blow however we wanted…when it was gone, it was gone.

I had a budget for food and rides to and from the airport included in the Christmas money.

Now to start my $5 savings again…and see what fun we can have with again in a few years time. Anyone else have this kind of rainy day savings thing going on that you don’t account for anywhere else?




  • Reply Shanna |

    That is a great Christmas present!! How fun! I would love to do something like that but we don’t use cash ever!

  • Reply steveark |

    That’s a clever little trick, saving your fivers! You are pulling off living a rich life without derailing your financial goals. You absolutely have to have fun along the way and you created lifetime memories without breaking the bank. I think this kind of story is inspiring because it is in reach for almost any of your readers, maybe all of them. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I’m going to ask this in this thread since you ignored it in your debt update. How did your student loan that in August of 2021 was listed at $16948 go up? You told us you were putting it on auto pay. You are back to doing the same thing as you did before…..ignoring your student debt because you have set other priorities. You have a six figure income, you should be paying on this AND paying down your medical debt. Your “budgets” don’t make sense. Everything appears to be an unexpected expense from medical expenses to schooling which you have in your budget as a $100 line item. Clearly $100 is not enough if you are accruing this much debt while also holding a sizable emergency fund and just adding to debt instead of paying it down. I get it. Stuff happens. However YOU should get it too at this point and plan accordingly. Your budgets should reflect the fact that people get sick and it clearly doesn’t if it reflects three new line items on your debt and you going backwards from 16948 to over 19000 on your student loans. You aren’t blogging away debt at all. You are just blogging.

    • Reply KLM |

      Thank you. There’s almost no progress over the last few years, and plenty of emergencies (and optional wishes) that derail all plans even though there’s supposedly an emergency fund and Healthcare savings account. There’s no straight answers and a lack of a full picture. I’m not sure why Hope is still blogging here.

So, what do you think ?