By the power of 10! (Dollars, that is)


Back when I worked on a consumer finance magazine, I came across an idea on how to sock away extra money without much burden.

The U.S. Treasury had just begun redesigning dollar bills, and the suggestion was that whenever you got a “new” $20 bill, you should put it aside. The colorful bills were still rarities — maybe 1/10 of the bills in circulation — so the idea was easy to implement … for a while, anyway.

Eventually I came up with my own version: Put aside every $10 bill you get, new or not. The $10 is rare enough that you don’t feel like you’re being gouged, but it’s common — and monetarily worth enough — that you can see gains that reinforce the usefulness of the idea. It works particularly well for me, because I go to the ATM every Sunday and pull out a weekly cash “allowance” for purchases like meals and household items. People who pay for everything with debit cards probably won’t see the same results.

When I started, I would let the bills accumulate for six months, then go out and use the money for something special. On my most recent trip to Hawaii, that’s how I paid for the entire week’s worth of drinks and meals. (Guess which we spent more on?) Now I’m a little too impatient, so I’ll raid the cache more frequently and treat myself to something smaller.

Today, I went to Total Wine and got Grey Goose pear vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and two kinds of pear cider in an attempt to re-create the drink I had at Windsor, a new restaurant that opened in Central Phoenix. (It’s the #89 on this menu.) I also got a birthday bottle of 360 Vodka for my friend Chad, who will not read this post before 8 p.m., when his party begins, so no possibility of spoilers). (It’s the same vodka I’m using in my quest to create homemade lemoncello — I’m about four months in!) I also got my car washed and waxed and had its oil changed.

Plus, I have $10 left over … until Chad’s party, because the kindhearted animal lover requested that for gifts, everyone donate $10 to the animal and rescue placement organization Home Fur Good. So the final Hamilton will go for that.

Try it — even for three months — and let me know what happens!

WHAT SAM WORE: 4-30-11
The shirt: “For Good Luck Rub My Tummy” T-shirt from Urban Outfitters.
The shorts: Cotton cargos by Abercrombie & Fitch, a hand-me-down
from Mr. Brooks — or a “theft,” depending on your point of view.
The shoes: Flip-flops by Reef, from the Reef store in Honolulu.
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