What Can You Do With $20?

If you found a twenty-dollar bill on the sidewalk what would you do with it?  Would you spend it on an unexpected splurge or something useful that lasts or that will make your life better in some way.  Below are twenty things I would do if I found a $20 bill.

Add to Your Emergency Fund

Your target is to have six months of living expenses sitting in a savings account for a rainy day. How do you add to that emergency fund? Adding these $20 windfalls to the pot when you have it.  That $20 you added to your fund will be there to help any emergency go easier.  Think of that $20 as a gift to your future self.

Buy Something in Bulk

If you have a household like mine, we go through certain nonperishable items (trash bags, dish soap, Kleenex) on a regular basis.  That $20 I just found allows me to upgrade to a bulk purchase of one of those items. For example, a box of 30 trash bags costs $7.50, but the box with 120 costs $24.  The cost of buying four of those 3-count boxes would be $30 but adding in the $20 I just found I’m only spending $24 for the jumbo box, giving me a savings of $6.

Buy Some Peace of Mind

When you are trying to decide what to do with the $20 think about what makes you sleep well at night. Is it paying down some of your debt or building your emergency fund?   $20 may not look like much but $20/week is $1,000/year.  Now that’s significant.  Little things can make a huge impact over the long term.

Start a Business

You may laugh at that statement but $20 can be the seed money for many businesses.  For example, $20 will pay for the domain name and maybe some hosting for your new website.  How about starting a landscape business?  $20 can buy you the gas you need to start.  That $20 and a lot of your own effort can turn it into profit.

Help Someone in Need

If you found that $20 how about paying it forward.  Just look for an opportunity to put that money to good use.  If you are in a grocery store and you see someone not able to afford their purchase, give them that $20 to help them out.  If you see a homeless person, buy them a sandwich. Just remember, that $20 can be a real life-changer for someone else.  

Visit a Thrift Store

Walk into your local Goodwill with a list of items you need for your home.  There’s a good chance that you will find several items on your list for that $20 and you will get them at a huge discount.  Need a new picture frame or a new toaster? Solved.  $20 has a lot of power at a secondhand store.

Beef up your tool kit

This may sound funny but there are always miscellaneous things you need in your kit.  An all-purpose tool that everyone needs is duct tape. A roll costs you about $2.   Another handy item is a 10-in-one screwdriver and they start around $9. How about an all-purpose hammer?  You never know when you need to hang a picture.

Give Yourself Clear Vision at Home

Christopher Lowell, a designer and author of Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Organization, says the best buy for $20 is to clean your windows at home.  His pick for the job is a garden hose attachment that holds window cleaner and turns your hose into a window-washing machine.  There’s a real emotional uplift when you walk into your home and see clean windows.

Upgrade Your Ride

Auto detailing can make you feel like you have a brand-new car.  The best bargain for your four wheels and $20 is just getting the interior done.  There’s nothing like driving around with a new, fresh smell and a vacuumed interior. 

Spice Up Your Life

Fresh herbs are a great way to put a zing in your meals, but they are also one of the most expensive items at the grocery store.  Growing your own is a great way to save money.   Your $20’s can get you all the supplies you need.  Not only will you save money, but you will get the enjoyment of growing something you are using in your own meals.

Take Your Kids on a Field Trip

When you want to spend a great day with your kids go to a museum or the zoo.  $20 will usually pay for a significant portion of the entrance fee. You can always look for coupons or discounted days to visit.  These types of outings can provide great family time and learning opportunities.

Have Some Fun

Even though there is always something useful to do with a $20 bill, sometimes you can spend it on just fun.  Perhaps it isn’t the most useful way to spend the money but sometimes a little bit of fun gives you the boost you need to get back to useful spending.

If you decide to put that newly found $20 aside, allU.S. can help you make that $20 have a huge impact long term.