Your Mission Today: Find a way to Save $5.00

I think I’m going to start giving out missions to y’all and see what comes of it.  I bet if we spend 30 seconds really thinking about how to accomplish them, we could do a lot of good for our wallet!  And something I come up with will almost ALWAYS be different than what you find – so we all learn from each other :) Nerdy fun, right?

Today’s mission is simple: Save $5.00 by the end of the day, and then let us know how you did it!

It can be as creative, or as boring, as you like – so long as you DO IT. Accept my challenge, and consciously find a way to save Mr. Abraham Lincoln today! I’ll do the same, and then we’ll recap what we’ve come up with later. I need some ideas, so start sharing!!! :)

-J to the Money

And PS: Copying others ideas is smart – not cheating. If it saves you $5.00, do it!


UPDATE: Some of the ideas being passed around:

  • Making your own lunch/dinner at home
  • NOT going to Starbucks! (always a popular one)
  • Sell something at home (Love it!)
  • Using coupons
  • Calling in refund requests!  (Clever!)
  • Not drinking nightly beer (booooooo)
  • Taking out all $1 bills and coins at the end of each day! (VERY smart. Commenter Chris has already saved $40 this week doing this!)

I was able to save $10 by being taken out to lunch today (Thanks Kiplinger!), but then I failed miserably and bought an HD camcorder for $200… but it was a business expense for Love Drop so it doesn’t count, right?  RIGHT?!!

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  1. Philip November 18, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    Woohoo… lucky day for me. The office is providing a turkey lunch! That should save about $5.

    Otherwise I was not spending money on anything really. Will be interesting to see the other ways to save $5

  2. Barb November 18, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    For many years I have been planning on buying bubble lights for my Christmas tree. I haven’t purchased them because I couldn’t find any cheaper then $17.00 a strand. Then today the “gift shop” where I work had an early holiday sale and were selling bubble lights for $12.00 a strand!! I was able to save $5 a strand just by being patient.

  3. Matt November 18, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    Nice! J$ is starting to feel like Tyler Durden and we are starting our own financial Project Mayhem.

  4. Kams November 18, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    Tonite, we’re having “leftovers” for dinner. I’m exhausted today, and really don’t feel like cooking, so normally we’d get takeout, or have a quick freezer dinner. This week, since I was really good about cooking all our meals at home, we have several partial portions of meals in the fridge. This should save me at least $5.

  5. C November 18, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    I just found a Starbucks coupon for a free drink! I completely forgot about it until I cleaned out my purse– that’s gotta save me $5 (especially for the holiday drinks). Woot!

  6. Jen November 18, 2010 at 8:44 AM

    I spent $5 at McDonald’s this morning b/c stupid me didn’t wake up early enough to make breakfast…does that mean I have to save $10? LOL! j/k….good challenge today, though. I need it! I will keep ya posted on how I do… :)

  7. Dan November 18, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    Stopped smoking today. I know that’s going to save me some money.

  8. Lulu November 18, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    I was going to get a footlong tomorrow to have lunch on Friday and Saturday…but our boss is having lunch for us instead. Woo hoo there is my $5 saved!!!!

  9. Clare November 18, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Opted out of an after-work coffee/pastry date in favor of coming home to cook. $5, bam.

  10. JMK November 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    I’m with you Jeff. A normal day for me doesn’t involve spending ANY money. I work from home, my kids are at school all day, and DH is away on a business trip this week. I’ll head to the kitchen at lunch, the kids take their lunches and my husband is on an expense account all week. We bought the week’s groceries and gassed up the car on Saturday, so until the next Saturday, what could I possibly need?

    The grocery fliers will arrive in the mailbox today. Maybe I can aim to include one more ultra low cost meal in next weeks meal plan? When you’ve already cut out all the nonessential spending there’s very little left to reduce! The best way for me to “save” $5 at this point is to look for something around the house that I can sell.

  11. J. Money November 18, 2010 at 10:41 AM


    If you’re already not spending anything today, find a way to BRING IN $5.00. Like selling something on Craigslist or EBay or something…. or hustlin’ and cutting a neighbor’s lawn!!! haha…. thx Jeff/JMK, good points. You guys are smart, I knew I could count on you ;)

  12. DC Grrl November 18, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Dan, CONGRATS on quitting smoking. You’re gonna save a fortune! I know this from personal experience.
    I went and got hooked on Starbucks, and now I save $5 every day I bring my coffee from home.
    I also love doing my Xmas shopping online, but I try to do most of it on Amazon way ahead of time so I can use that Super (slow) Saver free shipping. That can save more than $5 a pop!
    Thanks JMoney for this reminder, every $5 counts!

  13. Suzanne November 18, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Filled up my gas tank this morning and used rewards points racked up from local convenience store/gas station. Saved .76/gallon x 13 gallons=$9.88 almost $10. Yeah me!

  14. Kathleen November 18, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    I found a coupon in my wallet this morning for $5 of $50 worth of groceries that expires today. I’m gonna hit up the grocery store for my Thanksgiving shopping and not let it go to waste!

  15. Ben November 18, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    My favorite bar has a Keep the Pint Night that I always frequent because you buy a pint for normal price and get to keep the pint glass. Tonight is a pint night, and I’ll save myself $5 by not going!

  16. Kitchen Penguin November 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Aloha J$!

    I ordered DBF his annual gift from Think Geek (a Tux golf shirt that he can wear at work) and found a coupon code on retailmenot for $5 off a purchase of less than $40…and I used my geek points to get a titanium spork for myself :)


  17. MKG November 18, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I randomly sent a 5$ payment to my credit card does that count??? :)

  18. jesse.anne.o November 18, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    – made my own coffee (saved $4, $8 if you consider my bf being with me and whoever’s house we’re at provides coffee)
    – made my own lunch (saved approx $5-10)

    Just this week I got a new checking account/debit card for only my EXPENSES (bills come out of my other checking account, savings go into ING) and ever since I can pinpoint exactly how much I have in ONE account to spend on expenses, I’m becoming paranoid about spending anything. Usually I don’t care too much about the coffee shop thing but this morning I thought, “I’m not shelling out $8 for coffee when I can get it for free here.”

    Usually I could give a crap about expenses like that.

  19. mary November 18, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    I’m going out to sushi with friends tonite, and instead of ordering sushi ($12/roll), I’m going to order veggie rolls in rice paper ($3.95) and lo mein noodles with bean sprouts ($2.25). Saving $5.80 (and my meal will be healthier!). Yahtzee.

  20. Desi Guy November 18, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    I recently registered my new Macy’s Amex card on their website which gives 15% cash back on select restaurants.
    Me and my coworkers went to the Cheesecake factory for a team lunch, and since most of the guys were paying in cash, i simply took their cash and put that money on my amex card, getting around $15 in cash back dollars :).
    So at no cost to my coworkers i “saved” almost $15.

  21. Kevin I November 18, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Buddy calls me up to hang out tonight and asks what movie we should go see. Told him he should just come over and watch some DVD’s and play some video games and split a pizza instead.
    Movie Outing: $25 bucks
    Night in with half a pizza: $8

    Savings: $17

  22. Christine November 18, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I was thinking of going out for lunch today (prolly $10) but I’ll just eat some spinach, toast with pb, and an apple. Hehe…and prolly be healthier for it!

  23. Briana @ GBR November 18, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Brought in tea instead of going to Starbucks :) That saved me $5 I’m sure.

  24. Courtney November 18, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    My mail-in pharmacy overcharged me in January, and I emailed repeatedly last spring with varied responses that eventually trailed off into nothingness. I thought I’d give it one more go before the year ended, and lo and behold – this time they credited my account $25. I’d rather have the $$ in my pocket, but still a win!

  25. Jen November 18, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    So I didn’t think I’d make it after blowing $5 on McDonalds today, but I DID! :) Friend of mine told me that is selling gift cards for WAY less than retail. So I bought three, $25 gift cards at local restaurants, and I paid $13 for all of them….so $75 worth of gift cards for $13! Net gain for the day, $57 (after my MCD spending this morning!) :) YEAH! For anyone else who’s interested, the promo code is “thanks” (no quotes) TODAY ONLY. There are some stipulations, like for mine, I have to spend $45 to use the $25 g/c but for my family of 4, that’s easily done! :)

  26. Bob November 18, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Called my internet provider; requested a reduction in my service plan cost.
    They gave me a 1 year promotional rate that saves me $18 a month.

  27. Jenna November 18, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Bringing in my lunch to work each days saves me at least $5 everyday.

  28. Silena November 18, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    I did not stop at Starbucks and made coffee and bacon at home. Saved ~$8 (yesterday I got a Gingerbread Mocha and an Artisan Ham Sandwich)

  29. Money Reasons November 18, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    I saved over $5.00 by not eating out for lunch or dinner.

    I didn’t read your challenge until after I already had breakfast, that would have added an additional $3.00 to the pot! :)

  30. MK November 18, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    I saved $2.50… Boyfriend and I shared a drink when we went out to lunch. Maybe it’s super cheap, but I never have time to even think about drinking an entire fountain drink on my lunch hour, so why not share the cost and not waste the extra cup or extra drink? And half is better than nothing right!

  31. Lynne November 18, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    I saved (earned) $4.33 by taking the aluminum cans that have been piling up in the garage to the recycling center!! Since I didn’t spend it on the way home….I guess I can say I saved it.

  32. Blue Spyder November 18, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    I bought four gift cards to Steak N Shake they gave me the fifth one free, instant $5.00

  33. Kelly November 18, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    I used Mr. Rebates to do a little pre-Christmas shopping. I don’t know if it counts as much as saving if you’re spending in the process?!

  34. Chris November 18, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    For the last week I have been taking all my ones out of my wallet at the end of the day because I tend to spend less impulsively if I have to break a larger bill. I had already been saving my coins. At the end of this week I have saved almost $40 between the ones and coins.

  35. Cheryl November 18, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    I had nothing prepared/thawed for dinner tonight, but avoided the urge to stop at my local Publix on the way home to buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli, and made grilled cheese instead! Saved $7 (price of the chicken) by NOT stopping at the grocery, maybe more because we all know how hard it is to go in and just get that one thing you went for!

  36. Donna Freedman November 18, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Got back from Chicago last night (went to a conference on someone else’s dime, woo hoo!) and instead of taking the shuttle ($30 or more) I rode light rail to downtown Seattle and then took a bus to my apartment. Total cost: $2.50.

  37. Sandy @ yesiamcheap November 18, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    I got a gift certificate in the mail for a free large Dominoes pizza which is now dinner. That has to be worth at least $5, right? Thanks for the challenge.

  38. J. Money November 19, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    All great ideas guys! Thoroughly enjoyed reading these – even at 1:33 a.m. as I’m typing this! :) Although now I may be too tired to add them into the post above…

    some responses:

    @Barb – Hah! That is awesome. I love it when patience pays off like that.
    @Matt – The first rule of Money Club: Save it!!!
    @C – Haha… yeah, sad huh?
    @Dan – Stopped for real for real?
    @Clare – Bam!
    @Kathleen – There you go!!! Good job!! Especially since you’re not just “spending to save” since you need Thanksgiving stuff anyways.
    @Ben – Turn down beer? I don’t know if I could do it! haha… now, were you already planning on not going or did this challenge change that? :)
    @Kitchen Penguin – good work!
    @MKG – Yes! TotallY!
    @jesse.anne.o – I think it’s all a balancing act. Esp with coffee. Sometimes you save, sometimes you don’t!
    @mary – Ahahahaha… I love that game :)
    @Desi Guy – Nice!
    @Kevin I – That’s 17 lottery tickets :)
    @Courtney – YES! YOU DID IT!!! Well done my friend.
    @Jen – Haha, see that?
    @Bob – Well that was easy. Good job!
    @Money Reasons – Well you can’t be perfect ;)
    @MK – Smart, but glad you’re not my girlfriend – I drink so much i always need refills!
    @Lynne – That counts!
    @Kelly – Only if you’re spending on stuff you need to spend on anyways and NOT just to save! (*ahem* some of you Groupon lovers)
    @Chris – Now THAT is a trick! Adding that one to possible future blog posts, good one!
    @Donna Freedman – Ack! Missed you by 24 hours. Heading out to Chi-town tomorrow! (today? it’s after 1a.m…yikes)

  39. Geoff @ the world keeps spinning November 19, 2010 at 7:00 AM

    That’s an awesome idea but it’s hard to spend less than nothing directly out of pocket yesterday. :) I did turn off lights a bit more and have a lower temperature overnight. Perhaps I can try to save later today when we go out for dinner.

  40. Uncle El November 19, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    I made a transfer to my online savings account for 15X five dollars I decided to go one up on ya J.Mula. You def motivated me to do it a bit faster than usual with the article.

  41. South County Girl November 19, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    I went to my friends house yesterday for dinner, and they made yummy lasagna and insisted I take some home.

    So free dinner, and lunch for tomorrow =)

  42. Mike November 19, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Asked the Walmart employee in the meat department if anything was on sale. He gave me 4 pounds of ground beef for $6 off. Sticker said to use or freeze by November 20 so we are going to eat hamburgers tonight and freeze the rest.

  43. Debt Ghost November 21, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    It’s not creative, but my way of saving $5 is by bringing my lunch to work. It’s something that can be done most days. I always try to take lunch at least 3 times a week. One day is usually covered by the office and the other is half price lunch day at a local restaurant.

  44. J. Money November 26, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    haha you the man @Uncle El!

  45. Dmarie December 15, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    wow, thx, Mike, I’m going to ASK next time I go to the grocery. Nothing to lose, eh?