Smart Ways to Drop that C-Note

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In days gone by, having a $100 bill in your pocket meant something. The prospects for how to indulge just one piece of folding money with Mr. Franklin’s picture on it presented all sorts of possibilities. Today, it may take that much to gas up the mini-van or SUV or barely cover a matinee and fast food dinner for a family of four. So, what are a few smart ways to spend one hundred dollars?

Invest in a water saving shower heads

Not exactly exciting; however, a low-flow shower head can pay you back many times over. The cost for an EnergyStar approved one ranges between $15 and $35. They are fairly easy to install, so the change is being applied to your time. Remember, “time is money.” Look for a shower head that is approved by the EPA’s Water-Sense program. They are designed to produce 2.5 gallons of water per minute less than the standard models. According to the EPA’s representative, Chandler von Schrader, “If there are three people in your house who typically take 10-minute showers, a low-flow shower head could save you up to $170 per year.” OK  multiply that by the number of showers you have and check out the return on that investment!

Grow your own food

A full-blown garden will cost considerably more than $100, but a small kitchen version can be a surprising money saver. Growing culinary herbs is a fun, easy, and money saving way to amp up your recipes. Especially with spring and summer produce on the way, there is nothing tastier than cooking with fresh herbs. Can you relate? Pasta with pesto~lemon dill sauce for fish~chicken roasted with sage and rosemary~new potatoes with parsley…need more inspiration? Check here.

There are herb garden starter kits available at big box stores and online. Here is a link to one on Amazon.

Chef Robert Irvine of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible estimates that if you buy the 1-ounce packets of fresh herbs at the supermarket, the cost for those averages $6 each. That computes to $90 a pound! Even if your tabletop herb garden produces only 3 ounces every two months for six months, the return on your investment is considerable!

Be on the lookout for treasures

There are definitely risky things to purchase with the expectation of doubling your money or better. Let’s not forget about all of of those Beanie Babies, and Hummel figurines! However, there are a few items out there that collectors will pay big bucks for. Some interesting ones are cast iron skillets, vintage children’s costumes, Life Magazines, old cookbooks, automobile manuals, and colored golf balls.

Rick Harrison of the History Channels’ Pawn Stars, suggests that old Zippo lighters are a sure bet. Before the advent of plastic disposable lighters, the Zippo was an iconic fixture throughout the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s – think Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Steve McQueen. The old metal ones with the hinged tops have been selling very well on places like eBay and HipSwap. In fact, they are a huge favorite among Japanese collectors and have fetched as much as $5,000!

So before you blow that one hundred dollar bill too quickly, consider how to make it last!

Anna Platz is an Editor at, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at My Google Profile+

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