How to Save Money: The Magic of 5

Filed in Uncategorized by on August 13, 2013 7 Comments



So now that my credit card debt has skyrocketed because of blogging conferences, I’m looking for some ways to free up some extra cash to pay them down. My previous 20 Ways to Make More Money and Cut Expenses is a good place to start.

But the other day I heard THE most fantastic tip from one of my coworkers, Mary.

My office mates and I were talking about how to get rid of cable and that it’s saving me $80 per month (which I have been trying to use to build up a little nest egg).

She popped into the office at that moment and said that her way of saving money has been this:

When Using a Debit Card:

STEP 1: She gets a check register.

Yes. They still make these archaic things. She goes to the bank to get it. It’s a wonder they still print them. But there are a few that still write checks. And if you still write checks, please stop it. Writing checks is like pulling out a cassette player claiming that you’re listening to music. YIKES.

check register


STEP 2: She fills in her account balance.

Mary uses her real-time balance when she starts a new register, or if it’s payday.


STEP 3: She  rounds up every purchase to the nearly 5. 

That’s right! This is the crux of saving money! Simply round up every purchase to the nearest “5.” If you go to Target and spend $52.34, round up to $55. The $55 is what you’re going to manually deduct in your register from your balance. You’ve just saved $2.66. Cool, huh?

The savings is even bigger when you’re right at that mark of, say, $20.05. Well, now you’ve got to deduct $25. You just saved 4.95.

I love this idea!!

Mary said that when she’s pumping, say, $20 in gas, she’ll intentionally let it go over the $20 just so she has to deduct $25 instead 🙂 Smart….very smart…and slick!


STEP 4: She doesn’t look at her real balance. 

We’re so connected to our accounts via all of our electronic and mobile devices. But the crucial part here is that she just keeps deducting her rounded up figures. By the time payday comes around, she’s got an extra $40 or more sitting there in her account! How cool is that?! One year she said she was about to save up $1,000 just by rounding up!

I know that Bank of America used to have a program like this, where it would round up to the nearest dollar and then put the extra cents into a savings. But who needs a bank do it for you? Do it yourself!


STEP 5: She SAVEs the money or pays off a bill! 

Sometimes something unexpected will come up, like a car repair bill, and Mary says that the money has come in handy for unexpected things. Yes, indeed it’s a nice cushion!


When Using Cash:

If you prefer to use cash, this sort of still works when using cash only.

With cash, just save all your $5.00 bills.

You break a $20 to get a coffee, be sure to save the $5.00 bills you receive in change. You’ve be surprised how easy it is to save this way, too!

A friend has tried this method and she’s managed to save about $600 in fives over the past several months!!!


Bottom Line

If you’ve fallen off the wagon and you need to revamp your savings strategy, these are some easy solutions that don’t make you feel like you’re kiliing yourself 🙂


30-Day Savings Challenge

Okay, so I’m going to challenge myself and YOU to try either of these methods for the next 30 days. I wonder how much I will be able to save up?! I will probably use the Debit Card method since lately I tend to use it more. But by all means, I will use both, if necessary!

Who wants to join me? 🙂


 How do YOU guys save money?

Leave a comment below and tell us!



Photo courtesy Free Digital Photos

About the Author ()

Serena Appiah is a wife and mom to 3 boys in the Washington, DC metro area who enjoys writing about family, finances, and raising children.

Comments (7)

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  1. I can see how this would be a good way to force yourself to save, and I know several people that have done some sort of variant of this. However, for me, it would drive me absolutely NUTS not reconciling my checking account down to the penny. Stupid type A personality. LOL.

  2. Heather says:

    I’ve done the $5 trick and it adds up fast! The only problem is I rarely use cash so it was a slow process! 🙂 Both are great ideas though!

  3. Great ideas! These would really help a lot since I’m having problems on saving money. Thanks 🙂

  4. Incredible story there. What happened after? Good luck!

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