Looking for a fun and easy tip for saving money? For the past seven years, RaQuel Bagley of Minneapolis has been collecting and saving as many five dollar bills as she can. RaQuel began saving five dollar bills when she went to Great America with her family and came home with $50 in five dollar bills. She realized that if she could stick with this way of saving that she could save a significant amount of money for emergencies. For example, one time RaQuel saved $3,000 in five dollar bills.

Her family, friends, and colleagues know that if RaQuel sees a five dollar bill she will ask them for it in exchange for five single bills. RaQuel is not afraid to ask anyone to trade their five dollar bill for five singles. “She believes five dollar bills are to be saved not spent.”

By collecting five dollar bills, saving money is on RaQuel’s mind every day. However, saving hasn’t always been a priority for RaQuel. Looking back, she wishes that she would have started saving earlier in life. In addition to saving five dollar bills, RaQuel also has a savings account. “Having a savings account not only saves me money but also a lot of stress,” she explains. With more than one method of saving, RaQuel is more financially secure. RaQuel saves some of her tax refund every year and this year she will be able to save an extra $100 because she is a SaveYourRefund Contest Winner.

RaQuel is able to put part of her refund in her savings account because she files her taxes at one of Prepare + Prosper’s free tax clinics in St. Paul, Minnesota and avoids paying hundreds of dollars at a paid preparer. She’s been filing her taxes at Prepare + Prosper for five years. “Tax season is not stressful because I file my taxes at Prepare + Prosper,” she said. “Even if I have to wait, I am a people watcher and enjoy watching the other taxpayers while listening to music. Filing my taxes is an exciting time.”

Last year, RaQuel brought her youngest daughter who is 14 years old with her to Prepare + Prosper to show her how to file taxes. “I want my daughter to be independent so she doesn’t always depend on me for money,” RaQuel said. “She is always burning a hole in her pocket.” RaQuel is teaching her daughter how to manage her money. For example, RaQuel will sit down over spring break to show her daughter how to balance a checkbook.

As a result of RaQuel deciding to save her money, she can look to the future with confidence. RaQuel who works with young people to assist them in making their dreams a reality is on the path to achieving her dream. She wants to open her own youth center and is taking the first step by going back to school for her Bachelor’s degree. Wherever RaQuel’s future takes her, she will never stop asking, “Is that a five dollar bill over there?”

Story written by Taylor Putz of Prepare + Prosper in St. Paul, MN