For the past seven years, RaQuel of Minneapolis has been collecting and saving as many $5 bills as she can.

RaQuel began saving $5 bills when she went to Great America with her family and came home with $50 in $5 bills. She realized that if she could stick with this way of saving that she could save a significant amount of money for emergencies. At one point, she had $3,000 saved for emergencies in $5 bills.

Her family, friends, and colleagues know that if RaQuel sees a $5 bill she will ask them for it in exchange for five single bills. RaQuel is not afraid to ask anyone to trade.

I believe $5 bills are to be saved not spent.

By collecting $5 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 $5 bills, RaQuel also has a savings account.

Having a savings account not only saves me money but also a lot of stress.

With more than one method of saving, RaQuel is more financially secure.

RaQuel is able to put part of her tax refund in her savings account because she files her taxes at one of Prepare + Prosper’s (P+P) free tax clinics in St. Paul, Minnesota and avoids paying hundreds of dollars at a paid preparer. She’s been filing her taxes at P+P for five years.

Tax season is not stressful because I file my taxes at Prepare + Prosper. 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 P+P to show her how to file taxes. She’s teaching her daughter how to manage her money.

I want my daughter to be independent so she doesn’t always depend on me for money. She is always burning a hole in her pocket.

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 $5 bill over there?

By Drew Hockman, story collection intern