What’s a dollar good for? Five creative suggestions

Prices seem to be rising like a helium-filled balloon these days, and as they fly out of reach, they seem to be taking the buying power of the dollar with them. But all is not lost; here are some ideas to show that the buying power of the buck has not flown away completely:

Put it in your piggy bank

One dollar by itself may not have much buying power. But those who make it a thrifty habit to save their spare dollars are guaranteed to find them gradually mounting up.

Dollars saved will eventually accumulate to a respectable deposit to put into the bank for a “rainy day” and may even earn a small amount of interest.

Take a chance

Many people will not be tempted by the opportunity to earn interest on their money. Let’s face it, this is because with interest rates lower than the rate of inflation, they are not exactly tempting these days. 

However, it might just be possible to increase the value of the dollar by flirting with Lady Luck. Buying a scratch-and-win ticket, a pull-tab, a keno ticket or a dollar’s worth of slot machine plays might or might not turn a gambler in to a winner, but at least it is a bit of harmless fun.

Share it

Unfortunately, except for the lucky few, gambling is basically the same as giving money away, so why not do just that? 

For a small child, a dollar seems like a thrilling fortune. It is also possible to do some good with a dollar by putting it in a charity collection box, giving it to a homeless person or sending it to a developing country where it could feed a poor family for a day.

Look for bargains

Bargain hunting at the local thrift store, or checking out weekend garage sales in the neighborhood are good ways to find interesting things to buy for a dollar or less. Sometimes, bargain hunters uncover a hidden treasure, but at the very least they will be able to pick up an interesting paperback or two to read, or maybe a cool CD or computer game.

It is even possible to choose from a wide range of new items at the local dollar store. These retailers often stock items with quality that is often as good as similar items sold at the drugstore. Here a dollar could purchase a greeting card, a handy kitchen gadget, toiletries, school supplies or even a small gift. 

Buy lunch

The fast food giants are competing for customers by offering dollar or ninety-nine cent items on their menus. While there is still no such thing as a free lunch, one of the value items with no side order and a drink of water instead of coffee or pop will certainly provide a dollar lunch prior to any applicable tax.

For a healthier, more satisfying lunch option, the local supermarket has lots of choices available for less than a dollar. Examples include canned beans or soup, instant noodles, fresh fruit or vegetables to munch on, individual containers of yoghurt, a bun or a muffin from the bakery, or dried fruit, nuts or trail mix from the bulk aisle.

These are just a few suggestions to get the creative juices flowing. Try and think of as many ways as possible to spend a dollar and its value may well be more than you thought.