Having a spare dollar might not seem like much, but the question ‘What would you do if you had a dollar?’ opens up a world of possibilities. Even a single dollar can be stretched in small ways that collectively make a difference in someone’s life.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most people would use an extra dollar to buy an affordable snack or drink, donate the money to charity, put it towards paying off debt, or save it for the future.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore all the creative ways you could use a surprise dollar found in your pocket or received as a gift. We’ll provide tips on spending, saving, and donating that extra dollar, whether it’s to treat yourself, help someone else out, or work towards a financial goal.

Buy Yourself a Small Treat

Having a dollar in your pocket may not seem like much, but it can still bring a smile to your face. Treat yourself to a small indulgence and brighten up your day. Here are a few options to consider:

Candy or Snack From a Vending Machine

Feeling a bit peckish? Head over to the nearest vending machine and grab yourself a tasty treat. Whether you’re in the mood for a chocolate bar, a bag of chips, or a pack of gummy bears, there’s bound to be something that satisfies your craving.

It’s a simple pleasure that can bring back childhood memories or just provide a momentary escape from the daily grind.

Cup of Coffee or Other Beverage

Do you enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea? With a dollar in hand, you can treat yourself to a small hot beverage of your choice. Whether it’s a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee or a soothing cup of herbal tea, the warmth and aroma can provide a comforting and rejuvenating experience.

It’s a great way to take a break and recharge before tackling the rest of your day.

Lottery Ticket

Feeling lucky? Consider using your dollar to purchase a lottery ticket. While the chances of winning big may be slim, the excitement of the possibility can be exhilarating. Who knows, you might just be the lucky winner of a substantial cash prize or other exciting rewards.

Remember to play responsibly and view it as a fun and entertaining experience rather than a guaranteed way to make money.

Donate to a Worthy Cause

If you had a dollar and wanted to make a positive impact, donating to a worthy cause is a great option. There are several ways you can donate, whether it’s to local charities and non-profits, through donation boxes, or via online giving platforms.

Local Charities and Non-Profits

Supporting local charities and non-profits is an excellent way to give back to your community. These organizations often work tirelessly to address pressing issues such as poverty, homelessness, education, and healthcare.

By donating to them, you can help make a difference in the lives of those in need. Many local charities have websites where you can find more information about their causes and how to contribute. Some well-known organizations include the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and local food banks.

Donation Boxes

Donation boxes are a convenient and accessible way to contribute your dollar to a worthy cause. These boxes can be found in various locations such as grocery stores, shopping centers, and community centers.

They are typically labeled with the name of the organization they support, allowing you to make an informed decision about where your donation will go. Whether it’s for children’s hospitals, animal shelters, or disaster relief efforts, donation boxes are a simple and effective way to make a difference with just a dollar.

Online Giving

In the digital age, online giving has become increasingly popular and convenient. Numerous platforms allow individuals to donate to a wide range of causes with just a few clicks. Websites like GoFundMe, DonorsChoose, and GlobalGiving provide a platform for individuals and organizations to raise funds for their projects and initiatives.

These platforms often have a wide variety of causes to choose from, and you can easily search for the ones that align with your values and interests. Additionally, many websites provide transparency and accountability by sharing information about how the funds are being used, giving donors peace of mind.

No matter which method you choose, donating even a small amount can make a significant impact when combined with the contributions of others. So the next time you have a dollar in your pocket, consider donating it to a worthy cause and be a part of positive change in the world.

Put it Towards Your Debt

Having debt can be a burden on anyone’s financial situation. Whether it’s student loans, credit card balances, or a personal loan, paying off debt should be a top priority for anyone looking to improve their financial health.

Even if you only have a dollar to spare, putting it towards your debt can make a significant difference in the long run.

Student Loans

Student loans are a common form of debt that many individuals carry. With the rising cost of education, it’s not uncommon for graduates to have a significant amount of student loan debt. If you have student loans, putting that dollar towards your debt can help to chip away at the overall balance.

Every little bit counts, and even a small payment can help reduce the principal balance and save you money on interest in the long term.

Credit Card Balance

Credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked. High interest rates and minimum payments can make it difficult to make progress in paying off your balance. However, even a dollar can make a difference.

While it may not seem like much, applying that dollar towards your credit card balance can help to reduce the overall amount owed and save you money on interest charges. It’s a small step, but every step counts in the journey towards becoming debt-free.

Personal Loan

Personal loans are another common form of debt that many individuals carry. Whether it’s for a car, home improvements, or other personal expenses, paying off a personal loan can provide a sense of financial freedom.

If you have a personal loan, putting that dollar towards your debt can help to decrease the outstanding balance. This can ultimately lead to paying off the loan faster and saving money on interest charges.

Remember, while a dollar may not seem like much, it’s the small steps that add up to big progress. Every dollar you put towards your debt brings you one step closer to financial freedom. So the next time you have a dollar in your pocket, think about putting it towards your debt and take control of your financial future.

Start Saving

Savings Account

One of the first things you should consider doing if you had a dollar is starting a savings account. A savings account allows you to set aside money for future expenses or emergencies. It’s a great way to build a financial safety net and ensure you have funds available when you need them.

By depositing your dollar into a savings account, you can start earning interest on your money, helping it grow over time. Many banks offer different types of savings accounts, so it’s important to do some research and find one that suits your needs.

Retirement Fund

Another smart option for your dollar would be to invest it in a retirement fund. Saving for retirement is crucial, and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be in the long run. By contributing to a retirement fund, such as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA), you can take advantage of tax benefits and potentially grow your money through investments.

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement, and even small contributions can make a big difference over time.

Vacation Fund

If you’re looking to indulge in some well-deserved relaxation or plan an exciting getaway, consider starting a vacation fund. By setting aside your dollar specifically for travel expenses, you’ll be able to save up for that dream vacation or spontaneous weekend trip.

Having a dedicated vacation fund can help you stay focused on your saving goals and make it easier to resist the temptation of dipping into your regular savings. Whether it’s a beach vacation or a city adventure, having a vacation fund can make your travel dreams a reality.

Remember, saving money is a long-term goal that requires discipline and commitment. It’s important to regularly contribute to your savings, even if it’s just a small amount. Over time, those small contributions can add up and help you achieve your financial goals.

So, if you had a dollar, start saving and watch your money grow!

Give it to Someone in Need

When faced with the question of what to do if you had a dollar, one of the most compassionate and selfless choices would be to give it to someone in need. There are numerous individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet, and even a small amount of financial assistance can make a significant difference in their lives.

Homeless Person

One option is to give the dollar to a homeless person. Homelessness is a pressing issue in many communities, and those experiencing homelessness often lack access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, and healthcare.

Giving your dollar to a homeless person can provide them with a small amount of relief and show them that someone cares about their well-being.

Family Member or Friend Struggling Financially

Another possibility is to give the dollar to a family member or friend who is facing financial difficulties. It’s not uncommon for people to go through challenging times, and a small act of kindness like giving them a dollar can make a positive impact.

This gesture may not solve all their problems, but it can serve as a reminder that they have someone who supports and cares for them.

Colleague Having a Tough Time

Lastly, if you knew a colleague who was going through a tough time financially, you could give them the dollar. This small gesture of support can boost their morale and let them know that they are not alone in their struggles.

It could also be an opportunity to start a conversation and explore ways to provide additional support, such as sharing resources or offering assistance in finding new job opportunities.

Remember, while a single dollar may not seem like much, it can go a long way in helping someone in need. Acts of kindness, no matter how small, have the power to make a significant difference in someone’s life.

So, the next time you find yourself with a dollar, consider giving it to someone who could benefit from your generosity.


While a single dollar may not go far these days, we hope this article has illustrated the many small but meaningful ways you could use some spare change. Treating yourself to a snack, helping a charity or stranger in need, paying down debt, or starting a savings habit are all responsible options.

The next time you come across an unexpected dollar, consider how you can make the most of it.

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