October 21st, 2010
04:55 PM ET

iReport challenge: #BeAHero for a rainy day

Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.

[Updated at 4:55 p.m.] Today's challenge to save $1 got lots of reactions. Some said they’re already “scraping the bottom of the barrel" or that we should be spending to stimulate the economy, not saving. 

But others took the challenge, and we’d like to recognize a few:

Susan Bush drank water from the office today instead of buying soda and tea.

JayInAtlanta turned off the lights in his home office, used only natural light, opened the windows to keep the temperature moderate without heating or air, and unplugged his cell phone charger.

“I'm hoping it saved me even more than $1 on the electricity bill,” he wrote.

Our favorite story of the day comes from iReporter Sherbien Dacalanio, 27, a freelance TV producer and coffee addict in the Philippines. Dacalanio budgets 500 pesos (about $11.50) per day for his caffeine fixes – 4 to 5 coffees from one of his favorite coffee shops – but today, he bought a box of 10 instant coffee packets for just 47.50 pesos (about $1).

The savings were big, he said, even when taking into account that “I need to combine 2 sachets of the instant coffee to replace the taste of brewed coffee that I always crave.”

Others suggested we’ll only hurt the economy more by cutting our spending.

Susie wrote: “Saving that dollar will simply provide more layoffs as businesses or transportation or etc. do not get the revenue… I would propose spending that dollar more wisely, supporting small local businesses or healthier foods or something leading to energy conservation.”

[Posted at 10:31 a.m.] The economy has forced the world to make drastic changes.

The British government this week announced deep budget cuts to trim a massive deficit, including 490,000 jobs slashed from the public payroll over four years. Tonight, CNN's Soledad O'Brien will look at how some are fighting debt from the pulpit in "Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special," premiering at 9 p.m. ET.

For today’s “Be A Hero” challenge, we invite you to “Be A Hero” for a rainy day:

Find a way to save $1.

Make one financial choice that you weren’t planning. Pick a cheaper lunch option, or order water instead of soda. Skip that afternoon coffee – or make it yourself. Walk instead of taking public transportation, or take the bus instead of a taxi. Clip a coupon – and use it. Buy generic instead of brand-name product.

Then tell us what you did. Post in the comments below, tweet what you did with the hash tag #BeAHero – for example, "To #BeAHero for a rainy day, I saved $1 by bringing lunch" - or send us an iReport about what you did to keep an extra dollar in your wallet.

I’ll start: I saved $1 by drinking the office coffee, instead of buying.

Come back later, when I’ll post a wrap-up of the day’s heroics.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. mary adkins

    I already do a lot of the things mentioned above out of necessity. I did do one thing different- shopping for groceries once per week. It saved money, time and gas!

    October 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
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      October 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bo Jangles

    Why not SPEND a buck and help the economy instead?

    October 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elan

      a buck saved on soda and other junk will prob be used in some other ave of our lives for sure. I say buy from local businesses who keep the money local and not take the profits out of the state and even the country.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Bo, why don't you borrow $10 and spend it to really help the economy?

      October 22, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Susie

    While the idea is good, saving that dollar will simply provide more layoffs as businesses or transportation or etc. do not get the revenue. Instead I would propose spending that dollar more wisely, supporting small local businesses or healthier foods or something leading to energy conservation.

    October 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      This article is short-sighted and forgets economy is a cycle and runs because of someone spending it. I save money every day by not eating out, not buying coffee(drinking office coffee) but does it help anyone other than myself? If everyone decides to not eat out, the nearby restaurants would suffer for lack of patrons, wouldn't it?

      October 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Tbe restaurants may suffer, but the grocery stores will prosper as will the mfr of the food items sold. And perhaps the mfr of grilling and cooking accessories (although restaurant supply houses will suffer).

      October 22, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Suraj

    If only american's made 1$ cut a day choices for 1 month. Instead of Chips ahoy, buying walmart brand, instead of supersizing, having water with your meal.. all these cuts per PERSON would equate to 9 billion $ a month. Taking that money and putting it into development. I'm sure something amazing can come out of it!

    October 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    I've been living 'minimalist' since the recession started. My lunch doesnt cost much more than $3 a day, I carpool to work with a coworker, I walk pretty much everywhere else, I'd use a coupon if I actually spent significant amounts of money, etc. What's killing me right now is rent prices, utility prices, and of course gas prices. Other than that, not much more I can really do to save money. Lucky to have a job, and a roof over my head.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anne

    I passed on the daily soda. And for those of you encouraging spending, I have significantly upped my charitable contributions this year. I went to Haiti for a medical mission. And I have changed my focus of spending to make more local choices. Peace out.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dsashin

    Thanks, Anne! Awesome work.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Karen

    I was a coupon-clipper, saavy shopper even before the economy went in the tank and it became "fashionable" to save. Had people exercised this tatic from the get go, I believe the economy would not be in such dire strats now; it would have never spiked to such a height that the freefall downward would be so spiraling . I have to agree with the comments that everyone's SUDDEN savings saaviness will do little to stimulate the economy.
    The practical advice that I have always practiced is to ask myself – "Do I NEED it?" or is it a WANT? For example a dose of chocolate in the afternoon. Clearly a WANT. Some days the taste and calming effect of chocolate are worth the money, calories, etc, some days it is not. Use self control and evaluate each situation. For example I have no nearby Wal-marts ( or even Kmart or a comparable discount stores – imagine that!) so the dollar I save in detergent is spent on gas. Not a great savings technique.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pj

    This is way off base. People who need to save are already scraping the bottom of the barrel. I guess no one sees those at the bottom who have saved in every way possible. They have already cut everything that can be cut. There is no dollar to save. Wake up America!

    October 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayInAtlanta

      I agree with the sentiment. I see a few of us have mentioned that we think we're almost as frugal as we can be. So many people I know make their own lunches to take to work (as simple as a peanut butter sandwich and a carrot), take public transit, drink tap water, etc. It's just a way of life, especially in this economy where there is an extraordinary income gap.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JayInAtlanta

    I'm already very frugal and don't spend that much money day-to-day. However, today I turned off the lights in my home office & used only natural light, and opened the windows to keep the temperature moderate without heating or air. I also unplugged my cell phone charger because I heard that saves a bit of energy. All of this had a small reduction on my "carbon footprint," and I'm hoping it saved me even more than $1.00 on the electricity bill.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ken

    We do not need to stop spending, simply stop spending on Chinese goods and Indian services.
    The public is directly responsible for the amount of money that it has to spend.
    The last 20 years of cheap imports and cheap overseas labor has killed demand for made in America.
    And we cannot blame the corporations alone, they have only given us what we have voted for with our pocketbooks.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • mindsweeper

      We need to buy our own product instead of foreign goods. This will stimulate the country's economy cycle better. It's good to be frugal because our $ is utilized wisely. A lot of $1 adds up. Some people are already scraping the bottom of the barrel but we are still better off than a lot of other countries. Our goal should be being "debt free" and keeping the earth clean.

      October 22, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Consiliere

    Well instead of saving a dollar, why not trying to make a dollar more? Trying to find ways (legal ways) to make more money, and brake the "comfort" of living from paycheck to paycheck? If you focus only on saving, you will always have just enough to go day by day...Well, this is just my humble opinion...

    October 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayInAtlanta

      That doesn't make much sense to me about more saving meaning that a person will only have enough to go day by day. Unless a person inherited all his/her money, BUILDING weath means saving until the person can spend it or give it away.

      Now a lot of people on here are discussing spending the money on local stores & products made in the USA, which I think is right on the money to help the US economy. But the problem is when people and companies who HAVE money already saved don't spend it or re-invest it. Statistically, it's proven that tax cuts to the wealthiest people is one of the WORST ways to stimulate the economy, because they're not spending any of their savings. By the same token, it's remarkable that companies are sitting on record amounts of cash - and in some cases making 30 – 40% profit gains this quarter, like UPS - but in many cases they're not hiring or reinvesting to build their companies.

      So I guess the short way to say it is that the folks who aren't saving should start saving, so I agree with iReport on this challenge of saving $1. But it would be beneficial to have, say, the folks with an entire year's salary or more saved spend $1 more today. 🙂

      October 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel

    We need to be spending, not saving. Saving will only prevent the economy from rebounding.

    Be a hero: Take an extra $10 that you'd normally let roll into your 401k and go out to dinner instead.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Susan Bush

    I drank water from the office today instead of buying soda and tea.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jenine

    I brought leftovers for lunch. I like others have cut back on trips to the store to save gas, time, etc and have upped my retirement savings for financial health in my years ahead.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
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