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What Can You Buy with a Dime?

Ylan Mui

Nancy and I were chit-chatting yesterday when a coworker walked over and handed each of us a dime. We looked at him, confused.

"Small change," he said with a grin.

Haha, very funny. Don't spend it all in one place. Ba dum dum. But it got me thinking: What is a dime worth these days?

So I set out to see if I could spend just a dime. All of the food in our vending machine is at least $1, so it would get me one-tenth of a bag of Baked Lays. I went to a deli near our building to see if they had cheap snacks or candy, but the closest I came was a miniature Toblerone for 40 cents. I browsed on Amazon for used books, but even an old paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was going for 79 cents.

I did have some luck finding starter bids on birdhouses on eBay for just a penny. And I put the question out on Twitter (Follow me at ylanmui) and got a response from a friend who searched Google products and found axle washers and old baseball cards. But I figured shipping charges would put me over the limit.

But surely a dime is valuable. When I was a kid, a dime could get you Laffy Taffy at the snack shop at school. It can add precious minutes to the parking meter.

Consumer Reports is devoting its next issue to an even smaller piece of change: the lowly nickel. In "How to Squeeze a Nickel," the magazine looks at tips to help readers save every possible cent. One of my favorite tips is to flatten the toilet paper roll so that it doesn't spin so quickly and waste paper. It also recommends white vinegar and baking soda as a cheap, homemade alternative to pricey cleaning products.

So I want to know: What have you bought for just a dime?

As for the coin from my coworker, it's staying on my desk as a souvenir. Perhaps it could be the Small Change mascot!


By Ylan Mui  |  May 8, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Ylan Q. Mui  
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Comments

A dime buys me 5 of those 2 cent stamps that I always need when they raise the price of stamps and I am not ready for it.

Sorry, but that's all I can think of that I've bought lately with a mere dime.

Posted by: msame | May 8, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

At no additional expense you could make a nice piece of depression (recession) jewelry. Just glue your dime to a safety pin. Now you have a diamond pin.

Posted by: ejay13 | May 9, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

That's easy! I can't spare a dime, because I'm too busy spending them!
Yesterday, a packet of flower seeds at Dollar Tree....10 cents! Today at the Korean Market, large sweet kiwi fruits....a dime a piece. Oh, the possibilities.

Posted by: katrinka1 | May 10, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I love these ideas, thanks guys! This is true -- the price of stamps has gone up again. @#$*(&*! And I love the "dime"-ond pin idea as well. Maybe also it would make good earrings?

Posted by: ylanmui | May 11, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

A dime will get you some fabulous treasures at a flea market or garage sale. I never go to one without a change purse bulging with coins. I bought a lovely tiny silk purse for holding rings (pictures available upon request) at the Civitan Garage Sale in the parking garage over I-66 in Arlington. I can also get stuffed animals to use as dog toys, single utensils out of a box of hundreds, and remnants of yarn and thread all neatly bundled in a sandwich bag.

There are even retail stores where a dime will get you something fun. Ayer's Variety in Westover has an aisle of penny candy and the Cow Tails are only 10 cents. When Rite-Aid on Lee Highway in Lyon's Village was closing, I got two packets of seeds for 10 cents each! And if you play the seasonal clearance sales right, you can really score - I got two handfuls of tiny school supplies - mechanical pencils, mini-staplers, caribiner-style clips, erasers shaped like hamburgers and hotdogs - all of which were originally 2 for a $1.00, were marked down 90% - that was a nickel each!

Posted by: jenn_chico | May 13, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

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