Save Money Easily with the $5 Savings Challenge

save money using five dollar bills

I’m not sure about you guys, but I am always looking for new ways to save money. It is SO important to have a little cash lying around in case of emergencies, but a lot of times it seems it’s hard to FIND that money! Here’s an inside scoop on a challenge that could end up helping you save THOUSANDS of dollars… it’s called the $5 Savings Challenge.

The 5-Dollar Challenge

About a year ago, my friend and her husband were challenged to save EVERY $5 bill that came into their possession. The rule is simple… if you’ve got $5, it goes into a jar and you can never count the cash.

For my friend and her hubby, the goal is that in a few years (maybe even in 1 year), they will open up the jar and use the money to take a trip to Ireland to visit the places where his ancestors are from.

Their family did not have the budget for a vacation, BUT by doing this, they would be able to slowly save up for a pretty incredible vacation with just her and the hubs. Sounds great to me!

5 dollar saving challenge jar

Now, for the sake of the post, I asked her to break the rule and count her cash! She was FLOORED when she discovered that in just 10 short months, they socked away $1365! I was SO shocked and excited for them!

My friend told me, “We really do not use cash all that often, but the little bills have added up and we are a little over halfway there! And to be quite honest, we have not even noticed it in our budgeting. We have still had all we needed to pay our bills and still live comfortably.”

The $5 Challenge is an Easy Way to Accumulate Cash

Guys, this is such a simple and easy way to slowly save while you are busy paying off debt or living paycheck to paycheck! Her story inspired me so much that I am going to give it a try!

Here is another amazing 5 dollar challenge result/success story found on the blog Life Hacks:

5 dollar challenge results

That person saved over $3,000 in just a year by stashing away all their $5 bills. That’s insane! I’m telling you, you can do this!

Why You Should Do the $5 Saving Challenge

  • It will help you be more conscious of how you spend cash.
  • Don’t use cash? Consider using it for all your “extras” each month.
  • That $5 bill means one less drink at Starbucks or not getting dessert when you go out to dinner.
  • Rather than hanging on to coins, do it with your Lincolns!! EVERY $5 BILL IS OFF-LIMITS!
  • Develop a new pattern with your money… create a pattern where you stash every five dollar bill. As you create this simple money saving habit, you may find that saving your money instead of buying frivolous things will help you accumulate more wealth over time! Having self-control with your money rolls over into so many other aspects of your life.
  • Patterns = Habits = Lifestyle
  • This challenge is a FUN & EASY way to save. Without even noticing it, you will be making smart financial decisions. The impact of this challenge is far greater than the effort you will put into it.

How to Start the $5 Challenge

It’s crazy easy to start! Just grab a piggy bank, jar, or box and start saving. Each time you get a $5 bill, stick it in your savings jar and never think about it again.

To make this challenge even more fun, pick a reason for your saving. My friend has a paper taped to the outside of their jar that says, “Ireland Fund” (see the cute pic above). So pick something! Get your spouse to do it with you… if they aren’t game, then do it yourself and pick a fun goal! Here are a few ideas:

  • Emergency Fund (Dave Ramsey recommends starting with $1000 before you start working on debt)
  • A vacation (I’ve been wanting to go to an all-inclusive resort!) – you could treat you and your spouse to an amazing weekend getaway or take the family on a Christmas vacation!
  • A makeover in your bedroom or a bathroom remodel
  • New car
  • Pay off your student loans or credit card debt

And for those of you who can’t turn down a dare, I dare you to not only save every $5 bill you get but also, save $5 from each paycheck! Or anytime you get paid in any form! (Refund, gift, rebate etc.)

This savings challenge works so well because $5 is so small that you won’t even notice it’s gone. However, once you open up your jar a year from now (or longer), you will be AMAZED at the results.

No matter the cause, I invite you to start this 5 dollar challenge and let us know A YEAR from now how much you’ve saved! I promise you that you will see REAL results!

Want to join me? Leave a comment below and tell me what you’re going to do with your cash!

$5 challenge


  • I never use coins, just put them in a coffee can anytime I get them. I had over $80 to splurge with in just a few months. I was shocked! Now I’m going to add $5 bills to that list and see what happens. My trick will be stashing them away in something difficult to open to keep me from going on the money. Something that takes TNT to open would be great!! But I’m inspired by this challenge so I’m going to try! Thanks for sharing with us!

  • You are so welcome Debra! I’m glad this inspired you! We’ve been collecting coins as well… so the $5 bill thing is really going to up our game!

  • I started the $1 and $5 challenge in first part of October 2017. And it’s a few days away from Thanksgiving 2017. I have saved $1000. not going to stop till November of 2018. I will let you know how it turns out.

  • I have begun the $5 challenge for 2018. Five days in and I am at $45 already! So stoked and will not count any further for a while. I am applying for an acting conservatoire and every penny of this will help with the cost!

  • I am trying the $5 challenge, i am actually surprised at how few $5 bills I have collected so far! I have never paid attention before but it’s fun! I seem to get a lot more $1 for some reason 🙂

  • I just started the challenge , im saving for my birthday i want go somewhere really nice so im doing it with $20 !! Im excited to see what i have saved up by my birthday

  • I’m so glad I found this post! I’m so excited because I feel as if this is something i can really do! I am going to save up for my emergency fund

  • I started this about 2 weeks ago. I’m saving for an emergency fund and when I get a safe amount built, I’ll start saving for our retirement move to be by the Grandchildren. How much fun is this!!!!

  • Glad I came across this challenge will start tomorrow March 1st and go until December wish me luck.

  • It was funny because I was already doing the $1 challenge and truly mastered it to where I had my husband passing me his singles! I figured that I was ready to go ahead and do the $5 challenge! I’ve started and it is so natural for me to take the $5’s and put them in my special wallet I have hanging underneath my Vision Board! 2018 Goal!

  • I am doing the 5 dollar challenge and then also tucking away the end of the week fun money. I am finding that I try to see how much I can save at the end of the week. I am also taking half of what is left in my checking account on payday adding it to my savings account.

    • Dawn, way to go! That’s awesome that you have extra “fun money” at the end of the week too! Not everyone can be so disciplined! What a great impact that will make!

  • I am going to start this challenge tomorrow!! I’m so excited. I believe this is something I can do. It will be my emergency fund, I will go from now until I fill three bottles. Then I will put it in a ROTH IRA and begin all over again. Such a great idea.

  • I started this challenge in December 2015 and it really is a fun way to save for whatever. I have no idea how many fives I have accumulated but I did had to get a bigger container three times. I am tempted to count the bills but have not yet but my container feels like it weighs 4 pounds. I am saving for a 14 day European vacation for my family.

    • How wonderful and exciting! Sooo cool to be able to pay CASH for a dream VACATION! Great job! Come back and let us know once you count!

      • Hi Cathy, I am back , took about 4 years , but I saved an unbelievably amount of fives, I saved 3150 fives, I knew I had a small fortune. I made multiple trips to my bank to cash them in for larger bills and it was even exciting seeing there expression. Hopefully next year we will go on a nice vacation.

        • Sal!! I LOVE this! That is incredible! Great job for having the self discipline to stick with it for so long. What a great payoff! Come back once you have your vacation – I want to hear how wonderful it feels to have paid CASH for it! xoxo

  • I saw that u can put away $5.00 dollars I go out and look for cans I here in no la I started to put 5 dollars away twice a week from my can money I got a 5 gallon water bottle to put the money in

  • Hi,
    I’m from Brunei, I have started doing $5 Challenge since January 2018. Got 5 Jars filled upped. I’m saving for my vacation to Vietnam. Wish me luck.

  • Last year, I tried the 52 week challenge ($1 the first week, $2 the second week, etc.) and it didn’t work very well. I came across the idea of the $5 challenge and thought that would be much easier to stick with. I’m happy to say that, since January 1st, 2018, I have saved $700 so far. It’s funny because whenever I get a $5 bill, my initial thought is “oh crap, I can’t spend that”, followed immediately with “awesome, that’s another $5 bill towards my (as of yet undetermined) goal” 🙂

  • I started this challenge around February of this year. In 8 short months, I have saved about $200. I am a college student who doesn’t use cash often, so I was floored when I saw all the cash that I had saved.

  • I started this when I saw something similar on fb sometime in September 2018. 2 months in and I’m over 300 already! So excited, not sure when I’ll stop and what we’ll use it for but I’m sure it’ll be great!

  • I’m starting this challenge today as a Birthday gift to myself for January 20th. I can’t wait to see how much I’ll have by then. I may put it toward my house down payment fund…….. Thanks so much for the info!

  • I decided to participate in this challenge on January 1st, 2018. 10 months and 27 days later, I am up to over $1,000! And I’m still going strong. My plan is to see what I have on December 31st. It’s amazing how quickly it added up. It was so easy to do. My honey and I are going to Costa Rica; this will definitely allow us to splurge a little. I will DEFINITELY be participating in this challenge next year!

  • Diane P. Was reading the $5 a week challenge I am going to start April 1 2019 (no pun intended) excited to start my new challenge

  • started 1 dollar saving all 1 dollar bills,. 7months in I have saved 1,215 as of yesterday may 10th 2019 also have been saving all change so far 252 .75. 5 more months to. go. last March in Las vegas

  • I love this idea! I also tried another challenge where you started with a dollar and then kept upping the amount, but the higher amounts were just too difficult or at least felt it! I have been saving change already because it hurts my shoulder when I get too much in my purse lol. I think I’m going to try both my 1’s and 5’s. The 5’s will be my challenge (!) but again 1’s become a bit annoying haha. We have a lot of kids we are still helping out and have dipped into retirement funds to do so. So I’m planning on surprising my husband in a couple years when 1) I tell him and 2) we open the bottle and count it all up together! I love ❤️ all the different ways you feel like a family friend! The very best kind!!!

  • I’ve been saving change with a coin counter every time you drop a coin in it adds it so you always know what you have. It it misses a coin, pull it out and try again. Or if you just wanna see it pull a handful out. A new Total appears. Now reinsert what you pulled out and get your original count.

  • I have another picture frame style, it has Vacation across glass, that I dump change from my purse in. These are nice but takes longer. Think I’m gonna check out this $5.00 Challenge and see what happens. I NEED a vacation!!!💜😊💜

  • I’m not sure how old this post is but I just site now and I feel so incredibly inspired especially since I am really into challenges lately! Debra I cannot say for sure what I’m saving up for but it will either be a new sectional couch a vacation to the Bahamas or a down payment for my dream car! I am going to start a five dollar challenge today Wednesday, September 16, 2020 thank you so much for this and wish me luck! PS my husband has several sites and lockboxes (don’t ask why Lol) but I will ask to use one for this! Xo- Heather

  • I will be saving my money for college and going on vacation with my family. Michelle

  • I began the $5 bill challenge in mid-November. I don’t have a time frame (probably at minimum, a year) but I’m just gonna let it add up and see what happens. Thanks for this article!

  • This is a little morbid but I was doing the $5 challenge, had been going for about 18 months.
    My Mother died suddenly & I used quite a bit of it to cover her funeral expenses.
    Turned out I had over 12,000 in there.
    The look on the funeral home directors face when I rolled in there with all of those five dollar bills, priceless.
    Anyways the point was I had the money in my home, right away, no need to deal with a bank or worry about finances.
    Just do the best for her & get a nice funeral out of it for her.
    I got most of the money back I spent after her life insurance paid out.
    Even if I would not have, no problem.
    I started the $5 plan over again.

    • Carla, what an amazing story! That is so cool that you had so much money saved up… and what a blessing to you in a time when you could use one less thing to worry about. Thanks for sharing your special experience. Sorry for your loss!


  • I am going to try it starting this weekend. Stashing a mere $5 wont hurt!

  • I was not familier with the $5 challenge, but my hairdresser told me that she does this. I am gonna start doing the callange as well. Now I pay for my haircut is cash, all $5 bills!

  • We started this years ago. So far we’ve paid for a trip to St. Kitts for out 20th anniversary, a pole barn for our RV, then had a concrete floor, side’s and 2 rolling doors put in. Paid off our swimming pool and put a heater in for the pool.
    We are very strict about not spending $5 bills.

  • I have saved my $5.00 bills for several years. I usually cash them in around Christmas. That helps pay my taxes or whatever else I may need this time if year. I was amazed at how much you can save.

  • Several years ago there was a small paragraph in the Reader’s Digest magazine how an individual decided to save $5.00 bills. I don’t know how long it took him, however, he saved quite a lot of money by making the choice that any and all five dollar bills he received, he would not spend, but would tuck them away. Unfortunately, I can’t find the article because I wanted to share it with you and it has the date that the article was published. I think we started in 2017 but I am not sure. I don’t remember what month.

    I approached Steve about this positive savings plan to see if he was open to the idea. We decided to make a game of it. We decided that any five dollar bills we got when we bought anything at all, would be given to me and I’d put the bills in an envelope and every time we saved $100.00 in fives, I would paperclip the package and put the bundle in our safe. However, when we got change, we were not allowed to ask specifically for five-dollar bills.

    Even though for the most part I made Steve’s lunch for work, at times he’d want a breakfast burrito from his job’s cafeteria and he’d pay with a twenty-dollar bill and he’d invariably get back three fives in change. He’d come home and give it to me and we were off and running.

    Some months we spent more cash than at other times. We agreed that we’d both have an “allowance” of $40.00 every two weeks and we could spend it how we wanted to with no questions asked. But if we got any five-dollar bills in change, it would go into our stash. When I take our plastic bottles and aluminum cans in to be recycled, I’d usually get one or two five-dollar bills. Every once in a while, I’d take a stack of fives and go to the bank and get one hundred dollar bills which is a smaller stack of cash to save. We never allowed paying our monthly bills on time to interfere with our five-dollar savings plan.

    I am proud to say that we have managed to save $10,000.00 – yes that is ten thousand dollars in five dollar bills. To some of you, it may not sound like much but to us it was and is a great accomplishment. Plus the 1% that you earn in our bank savings account amounts to nothing.

    We never really talked about what we would do with the money. We did talk about taking a trip somewhere when Steve retired. I really want to go to Ireland even though Steve does not have much interest in seeing Ireland. He wants to go to Paris, but with all the Muslim activity in the streets – France is not a country that I want to visit. And due to his stroke, I just don’t see him being able to sit on an airplane for a long flight to Europe. We will come up with something.

    Two years ago (1/6/2000), Steve had his stroke and he had to take early retirement. Thus, our progress to stash away fives went slower but I persisted. I think I have fifty dollars in fives in our five dollar envelope so we will see how much $$ we can continue to save in that envelope.

    Try it for yourself. You might be pleasantly pleased how quickly the stash grows.

    Joan and Steve Romero
    Moreno Valley, CA

    • Joan, thank you so much for your lovely story. That IS quite the accomplishment! I am sure you will find a nice trip to take. All the best to you and to Steve.

  • I started the $5.00 challenge and so far I saved up $455.00 and I like when I get a $5.00 bill and I am using envelopes that is in a photo box and I can’t wait till Sunday to come, so that I can put the money in the envelopes and put a sticker on the back of the envelope and put tape over the sticker. And I am saving up to buy this building that I can turn into a loft. And I also recycle as well and when I see a $5.00 I attach it to the envelope that it has the dollar amount on it and I am going to keep on doing it until I get the money for the building.

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