5 Bucks Matters

By Tana Gildea, CFP®, a CPA, and a Certified College Planning Specialist, and author of The Graduate’s Guide to Money

I didn’t start my career as a financial planner, so I bumbled and stumbled my way along my financial journey making LOTS of money mistakes. The worst one was a mindset of “it’s only 5 bucksy; it’s only 10 bucks; it’s only 3 bucks.” It only adds up and up and up, though, and that’s the problem. Little amounts add up to big amounts when they are repeated over and over.

Most of us can’t process how many “5 buck” items we toss in the cart, swipe onto our credit card, or let dribble out of our wallets over a month’s time. We don’t feel like we have spent much money, yet our wallet is empty, our credit card statement is shocking, and the bank account is riddled with negatives. I have had $1,000 credit card bill where there was not one charge greater than $50. $1,000! That’s “buy furniture money” or “make a massive student loan payment” or “take a trip money.” But no, I had none of that.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you plug the hole in your bank account:

I now laugh when I hear those words, but honestly, 5 bucks matters. It matters if it’s falling out of your wallet; it matters if you are paying just 5 bucks more on your debt, and it matters if you are saving just 5 bucks more toward your big dreams. I hope you become wildly wealthy, 5 bucks at a time.