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. Jen

    I just got rid of my bank account and have gone to strictly cash. When my bank started charging me $2 for an online transfer of $10 from savings to checking I withdrew my savings and checking from there. When they charged me another $2, making it a negative amount, they took it out of my business account! I switched to a credit union and they held my payroll check, drawn on a local bank, for 2 weeks before releasing. Did not tell me when I opened the account and charged me $30 overdraft fee. Banks are going to get really ballsy in the near future and I say take your money and run with it or the banks will take it any way they can!!

    October 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jason

    That's all fine and dandy saving money. Problem is companies are having hard times now too, so that dollar you save may be putting somebody out of business. Tough situation.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlee

      It is plain to see that the thriftiness virtue this country was founded on is gone. I would rather save money and be a good steward than fritter my hard earned money away.

      October 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jon

    I stole a dollar from a friend.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • dee

      AWESOME!!!

      October 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Merits

    Made my own plant hangers from jute picked up on a garage sale rather than buying them.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    To #BeAHero for a rainy day I paid off all of my debts and save for things that I need and want!

    October 21, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sailor

    I've been ordering water w/my meals for decades–ever since the price of drinks went from a dime to 15 cents. Instead of spending foolishly, I've used my Social Security Check to fund a non-profit foundation that helps kids & moms in need. It is amazing what a small amount of money & a little creativity can accomplish .

    October 21, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andy

    How about take bus/train vs drive? The more people use public transportation, the more resources will be put into making it even better.

    – A

    October 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gary

    Eat before you shop for groceries. You'll buy less.

    October 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jennifer

    Wow, brilliant: "I’ll start: I saved $1 by drinking the office coffee, instead of buying." That's not what I would call saving a $1, that's spending someone else's $1. Not too creative.

    October 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daphne Sashin

      Perhaps you're right, Jennifer. Did you do the challenge?

      October 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Suzy

    I returned items I wasn't using back to the store. Now someone else can buy them and spend their dollar. 🙂

    October 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marlee

    I had leftovers for lunch (chicken nachos, yum!) instead of buying my it and saved about $6.

    October 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Holly

    I think a lot of those who are saying "no you should spend to help the economy" are missing the point of the article. The average American is in debt and struggling just to keep their home and pay bills. They need to save in order to pay down the debts they have. Those who can afford to spend money, should spend, and probably already do spend. But if you've got a hefty mortgage and car payment and school loans, kids, etc, then you need to save. And every person who can, should have at least some savings in case of emergencies. So yes, please save. Sure, the economy needs some spending in order for people to maintain jobs and businesses to remain open, but you have to be secure in your own finances before you can worry about someone elses.

    And if this country has to resume our previous spending levels just to recover from a recession and can't stay afloat without it, then we're screwed, because we'll just be back in the same boat that we were in before, spending more than we make and living on debt. The amount of spending doesn't need to increase, the way our economy runs that requires people spend more than they make needs to change.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gilbert

    I'm a hero for a rainy day too. I had one less lap dance at a strip joint-saved 10 bucks.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Viki

    I will hire any clock repair man in Tucson.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Natalie

    For those of you advocating spending money to save the economy, I hope that you are only suggesting that to those that are truly in a position to spend and not save. While it's great to want to save the economy, the economy isn't going to save you. If you get into a bad spot, the only thing that is going to save you is the savings that you worked hard to put away.

    While you decide to divert your 401k contributions to dinner out, I'll continue putting it toward my retirement. While I'm at it, I'll keep working toward my goal of putting an extra 10% into a monthly savings account for Christmas, emergencies, etc. When I retire, I'll take some of that compounded interested and do something even better with it than go out to dinner.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mindsweeper

      It's good to save for retirement, yes, but be forewarned, you will not enjoy your younger years if you never go anywhere or do anything. When you retire, you will be shelling out most or all of your savings on expenses in a nursing home and medicine, you will wish you had enjoyed your life while you are young and healthy instead of just working, sleeping, & eating. Only contribute a certain %, that you can realistically afford and still enjoy life. If you have a good pension,good for you, not everyone has, retire as early as financially possible.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
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