It was the end of 2018 when Laura Tarpley and her husband decided to make one simple financial resolution: save all of their $5 bills for one year.

Laura’s husband excitedly approached her with this idea to save cash in hopes to stack up a decent amount of money. Laura admits that she was a bit skeptical about this idea. Saving $5 bills in an envelope for 12 months? She thought they’d be lucky if they had $20 by the end of 2018

“I mean, come on, who uses cash anymore? This isn’t the 90s! We have debit cards, credit cards, Venmo… What will be next, my husband asking me to write a paper check?” Laura questioned.

But she was excited that her husband who usually turns his head to budget plans wanted to try this experiment. She decided to still give it a try in hopes that something might come of it. Worse case they save $25 bucks in an envelope and take themselves to lunch at the end of the year.

The results after 3 months:

Seeing the results after the first three months had both of them positively optimistic about their new plan. To their surprise, after just three months of saving up $5 bills, they had $220 in the envelope.

They couldn’t believe how much cash they had already accumulated.

This got the Tarpley’s thinking that maybe people use more cash then they realize. They want to point out that they had received a lot of money gifts over the holidays which contributed to this cash influx. Laura also notes that she is a freelance writer and often takes out her payments in cash.

While Laura has a unique job that involves more cash than others, she doesn’t want people to ride this off as, “this woman is in a unique situation. This would never work for me!” She admits she thought the same thing when she first started this journey. She never thought of herself as a person who uses paper money often. However, a lot of us might be surprised by how much cash we end up using over the course of 1 year.

Maybe you fall into one of these categories:

  • You have job that with cash tips (i.e. server, bartender, delivery service, etc.)
  • You often receive cash gifts for birthdays and holidays
  • Friends pay you back with bills instead of payment apps
  • You prefer to pay with cash instead of a card
  • You always keep cash in your wallet just in case

There are a lot of lifestyles that cater to cash over card. If you fall under one of the categories above, this savings challenge may just work for you!

The final results:

Little by little they saved their $5 bills. After one year they saved up $880. That’s nearly $1,000 that they could put towards anything they wanted too. Of course, several hundred dollars doesn’t make one rich, but this was a decent amount of money that they could put towards a number of things.  

Some of the things they could use the money for:

  • Student loan debt
  • Credit card debt
  • Vacation
  • Emergency fund
  • Saving for car
  • Saving for home down payment

This is a simple goal that ANYONE can do to save up some extra cash. A simple method of saving all your $5 bills could help you pay off debt or save for your next vacation.

Trying to save money fast? Here are a few budget plans that can help you reach your financial goals in 2019:

Breaking Down the “Zero-Based” Budget

EASY Budget Plan You Will Actually Want to Follow

Budgeting Guide for Unmarried Couples