My Story: The Power of a Hundred Bucks

contributed by Janet P.

During the last two years, I have learned the true value of a dollar. Some folks believe that a hundred bucks can't get you much, but I disagree. I believe that quite possibly some of us have become financially de-sensitized. Remember how many times you heard about the trillion dollar rescue plan to stimulate the economy? Then we have also heard about someone who stole about 65 billion dollars in a scam, cheating his trusting investors. Not to mention all of the unemployment jobless claims (again big numbers). Lately, we have been "big numbered out" if you will.

This is not good. It makes a hundred bucks seem lame and unimportant by comparison. But this is a huge mistake, and it eventually costs all of us in many ways.

Learning the value of a buck is not just a lesson for kids anymore (although they will benefit greatly) from it. So then just what can you get for a real, crisp, green hundred dollar bill?

  1. Two weeks of good grocery shopping. This is challenging but not impossible. The trick is in the meal planning, listing and bargain hunting. Coupons are free for the taking, and combined with weekly specials, the savings add up in a hurry.
  2. Almost a hundred items at your local dollar store. I say almost because some dollar store items are just above a dollar in some locations. Just think of how many useful household items, beauty aids and gifts you could pick up.
  3. In my neighborhood, a $100 yields me four trips to the hair salon. Service includes wash, cut and blow dry with tips added into the cost as well. What an inexpensive way to get the royal treatment and look great to boot!
  4. One hundred dollars affords me fifty one-way trips on the local PATH train for under two bucks a trip. This is a commuter train linking Jersey City to NYC. NYC is my original hometown and my folks live in Manhattan. Can't think of a faster, least expensive way to get back and forth to my family whenever I want.
  5. A fantastic "night on the town" for under a hundred dollars is totally possible. Make your significant other his/her favorite meal for a special dinner. Include a fancy bottle of wine, too. After eating, stretch out on the town by taking an evening stroll and watch the stars come out. Before going home, you could still afford a special dessert treat out because you saved a bundle by eating the main course of your dinner at home! I have done this for far below that all-important $100.
  6. You could open a spanking new checking or savings account with good 'ole Ben Franklin. If you don't have an immediate hundred dollars to spare, save a single buck a day for three months without temptation to dig into it. Extra bonus reward includes the habit of saving every day on a regular basis. In addition, you have learned how to successfully reach a goal.
  7. One hundred dollars in thrift store, garage and yard sale shopping could mean significant bargains for you and the family. I have purchased many useful items in great condition for below $5 each!
  8. Did you ever realize that it takes ten thousand pennies to make a hundred bucks? That's an awful lot of copper! Penny by penny, it all adds up.
  9. Now this sounds insane, but it's true. I figured out a way to make 2,400 cookies for a hundred bucks. It's so simple it's crazy.
  10. Here's how:

    1. Buy various flavors of boxed cake mix (when they go on sale for 99 cents for example).
    2. Follow this easy cookie recipe. Mix one box of cake mix, one egg, and one stick of softened butter. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Using a tablespoon, drop the cookie dough on an ungreased sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on your oven). You could always drop on some chocolate chips, M&M candies, nuts or other toppings before baking. Each box yields approximately 24 generously sized cookies.

So the next time you think $100 doesn't go far, find a way in your life to stretch it. Amaze your family and friends with your creativity and appreciation, too!

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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