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You Only Have $5. What is the Best Way to Invest and Grow your Money?

You Only Have $5. What is the Best Way to Invest and Grow your Money?

The following answer by Visakan Veerasamy found in Quora teaches you how you can grow your money when you only have $5.

I remember reading Tina Sellig’s (executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program) book- What I wish I knew when I was 20. (I don’t know Tina, though I wish I did, and I love her book.)

She gave her students the exact same problem. Here are her words, with my emphasis. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, just skim and read the words in bold.

“What would you do to earn money if all you had was five dollars and two hours? This is the assignment I gave students in one of my classes at Stanford University, as part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program…

Each of fourteen teams received an envelope with five dollars of “seed funding” and was told they could spend as much time as they wanted planning. However, once they cracked open the envelope, they had two hours to generate as much money as possible. I gave them from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday evening to complete the assignment.

Then, on Sunday evening, each team had to send me one slide describing what they had done, and on Monday afternoon each team had three minutes to present their project to the class. They were encouraged to be entrepreneurial by identifying opportunities, challenging assumptions, leveraging the limited resources they had, and by being creative.

las vegas

    What would you do if you were given this challenge? When I ask this question to most groups, someone usually shouts out, “Go to Las Vegas,” or “Buy a lottery ticket.” This gets a big laugh.. These folks would take a significant risk in return for a small chance at earning a big reward.

    lemonadestand

      The next most common suggestion is to set up a car wash or lemonade stand, using the five dollars to purchase the starting materials. This is a fine option for those interested in earning a few extra dollars of spending money in two hours.

      But most of my students eventually found a way to move far beyond the standard responses. They took seriously the challenge to question traditional assumptions—exposing a wealth of possibilities—in order to create as much value as possible.

      How did they do this? Here’s a clue: the teams that made the most money didn’t use the five dollars at all. They realized that focusing on the money actually framed the problem way too tightly. They understood that five dollars is essentially nothing and decided to reinterpret the problem more broadly: What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing? 

      They ramped up their observation skills, tapped into their talents, and unlocked their creativity to identify problems in their midst—problems they experienced or noticed others experiencing—problems they might have seen before but had never thought to solve. These problems were nagging but not necessarily at the forefront of anyone’s mind. By unearthing these problems and then working to solve them, the winning teams brought in over $600, and the average return on the five dollar investment was 4,000 percent! If you take into account that many of the teams didn’t use the funds at all, then their financial returns were infinite.

      queuing up

        So what did they do? All of the teams were remarkably inventive. One group identified a problem common in a lot of college towns—the frustratingly long lines at popular restaurants on Saturday night. The team decided to help those people who didn’t want to wait in line. They paired off and booked reservations at several restaurants. As the times for their reservations approached, they sold each reservation for up to twenty dollars to customers who were happy to avoid a long wait. 

        As the evening wore on, they made several interesting observations. First, they realized that the female students were better at selling the reservations than the male students, probably because customers were more comfortable being approached by the young women. They adjusted their plan so that the male students ran around town making reservations at different restaurants while the female students sold those places in line. They also learned that the entire operation worked best at restaurants that use vibrating pagers to alert customers when their table is ready. Physically swapping pagers made customers feel as though they were receiving something tangible for their money. They were more comfortable handing over their money and pager in exchange for the new pager. This had an additional bonus—teams could then sell the newly acquired pager as the later reservation time grew nearer.

        fixing a bike

          Another team took an even simpler approach. They set up a stand in front of the student union where they offered to measure bicycle tire pressure for free. If the tires needed filling, they added air for one dollar. At first they thought they were taking advantage of their fellow students, who could easily go to a nearby gas station to have their tires filled. But after their first few customers, the students realized that the bicyclists were incredibly grateful. Even though the cyclists could get their tires filled for free nearby, and the task was easy for the students to perform, they soon realized that they were providing a convenient and valuable service. In fact, halfway through the two hour period, the team stopped asking for a specific payment and requested donations instead. Their income soared. They made much more when their customers were reciprocating for a free service than when asked to pay a fixed price.

          For this team, as well as for the team making restaurant reservations, experimenting along the way paid off. The iterative process, where small changes are made in response to customer feedback, allowed them to optimize their strategy on the fly.

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          lecture theatre

            Each of these projects brought in a few hundred dollars, and their fellow classmates were duly impressed. However, the team that generated the greatest profit looked at the resources at their disposal through completely different lenses, and made $650. These students determined that the most valuable asset they had was neither the five dollars nor the two hours. Instead, their insight was that their most precious resource was their three-minute presentation time on Monday. They decided to sell it to a company that wanted to recruit the students in the class. The team created a three-minute “commercial” for that company and showed it to the students during the time they would have presented what they had done the prior week. This was brilliant. They recognized that they had a fabulously valuable asset—that others didn’t even notice—just waiting to be mined.

            Tina was trying to teach her students something. And she gave them a powerful gift she helped them see for themselves that they were boxing themselves in with limitations.

            Yes, a lawyer could make money just working a couple of hours. Yes, it takes time and physical effort to make money. But what are the assumptions you’re making in your daily life? What are you not looking at? What have you taken for granted?

            Anybody can ask you those questions, but not everybody can set you up and put you in a place that makes you most receptive to appreciating the full power of those questions.

            If you can tell me that you go about your life questioning every assumption and leveraging every hidden advantage, sure. But are you? What would it take to get you to start doing that?

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            Brian Lee

            Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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            Last Updated on April 19, 2021

            40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

            40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

            Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

            1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

            Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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              2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

              We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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                3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

                Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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                  4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

                  Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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                    5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

                    Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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                      6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

                      We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                        7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                        This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                          8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                          One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                            9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                            If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                              10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                              Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                                11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                                Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                                  12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                                  Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                                    13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                                    You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                                      14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                                      With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                        15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                        Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                        Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                          16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                          If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                            17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                            The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                              18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                              If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                                19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                                Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                                  20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                                  I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                                    21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                                    Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                                      22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                                      You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                        23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                        Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                        Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                          24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                          Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                            25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                            Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                              26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                              If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                                27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                                Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                                  28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                  A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                                    29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                                    You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                                      30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                                      Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                        31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                        Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                          32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                          Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                            33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                            Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                              34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                              If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                                35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                                Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                                  36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                                  Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                                    37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                                    You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                                      38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                                      Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                        39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                        Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                          40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                          You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                            Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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