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The $2.00 Bill Savings Trick

by J. Money on Friday, August 24, 2012

my hoard of two dollar bills

I’ve been dipping my toes into a lot of interesting ideas these days, and one of my new favorites so far is my new $2 bill trick. In the past month since trying it I’ve already amassed over $110! And I haven’t really done that much different to get there, either…

Are you ready to be wowed? Are you sure?  Here it is!

Every time you go to the bank, ask the tellers how many $2 bills they have.  No matter what their answer is, “buy” them all up and then throw them in a shoebox! That’s it!

And you know why it works? BECAUSE $2 BILLS ARE COOL and you’ll never want to spend them! Haha… BAM – instant savings :) I bet you haven’t even seen one in a while, huh? And if you have, I bet you again that you ended up keeping it. Because 9 times out of 10 that’s what people do (I literally still have mine from when I was 8 y/o!). And if you multiply the odds of coming into them more, then the odds of you saving more is even better.

It also FEELS like you have a lot more money saved than you do too, thus helping continue to motivate you ;) Most people think they’re worth a lot more than just $2 bucks (my old self included), but of course that’s not true. They might look like old financial antiques, but unless you got lucky and came across a rare one, they’re indeed only worth the $2.00 printed there.

5 weeks in a row now and it’s still working like a charm. I think I even had $116 in there last I checked – and that’s without even trying! Sometimes banks only have one or two on hand, and sometimes 30!, but no matter the number I always snatch them up and consider it a success. I don’t really go out of my way either – I ask when I’m already there depositing something or cashing in my change, or I walk in if I happen to be passing a bank out of pure luck.

$hit, I even did it last week when I was at the beach! Haha… and you wanna know something REALLY crazy? The teller there told me she had just ran out, and when I had asked her why (‘cuz there’s always a reason as they’re usually stocked), she said because some guy had just come in and nabbed them all. “He comes in every week because he thinks they help him save more.”

HAH! HE STOLE MY IDEA!! I guess that’s even more proof it’s a good one, eh? ;) I bet there are tons of people doing this very same thing even as I type this. Maybe even one of YOU guys? Yeah??

stack of two dollar bills

I highly recommend trying it out if you’re looking for something new. And you don’t have to go all hardcore or anything either – you can make different variances out of the game too, like putting caps on the highest amount you’re comfortable with or something. If you’re on a tight budget but still wanna save a little, maybe just get a max of $10 worth at all times. That’ll net you five of them right on the spot! You just wanna do your best to keep going for it and not get too overburdened as the whole idea here is to keep it nice and simple. And FUN.

(Quick Tip: For the best chances of finding them, hit the banks on a Friday afternoon! They have most of them in by then, as people have been turning them in all week long.)

If you did burn out, though, there are plenty of cool other things you could do with this new stash of yours too ;)

  1. You can go out and spend them all in one place!  The cashier would love you!
  2. You can hand them out to friends and family for birthday or xmas stocking presents (Wouldn’t YOU want to get free money?  It doesn’t even count as a faux pas ;))
  3. You can try selling them to people for $3.00 and make a 50% profit, haha…
  4. You can give them away as tips! For beers, valet, cabbies, etc (Good one, Tom!)
  5. Or you can give them to the Tooth Fairy to hand out to your little children ;)

That last one I stole from another teller who told me she has moms coming in all the time picking up half dollars and gold dollars for the Fairy – remember that growing up?  It brought me back to the good ol’ days in no time…  “You could get a lot with that back then!” Haha… it also reminds me to tell y’all about another currency-related project in the works. But I’ll have to save that one for another day – I don’t think you could handle that much excitement in one day ;)

UPDATE: Other good reasons to collect $2.00 bills! (As mentioned by my lovely commenters)

  • They’re known to bring good luck! And if you had dozens and dozens of them at your home, that would be one large pile of luckiness :) (I totally forgot that back in the day people would rip the corners off ‘em as they thought it would increase their luck as well. So if you ever find REALLY old ones, that’s why they’re in such odd shape)
  • They make great tips for people. At the bar, valet, cabbie!
  • And they help kids save a lot too – they think they’re brilliant!

So that’s my trick! Anyone else saving in a creative way?  Anyone else hoarding $2.00 bills along with me??  How many do you have now? I’m hoping for another $100+ addition in September.  They’re getting lonely in my fake book safes ;) Shhh.. Don’t tell anyone!

————–
PS: For other cool places you could hide them, click here.

PPS: And for more history and other interesting facts about $2.00 bills, like how some people think they’re fake and have even been arrested for trying to use them!, check out Wikipedia’s page – it’s pretty fascinating. They’re still being printed to this day!

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 William @ Drop Dead Money August 24, 2012 at 6:33 am

Brilliant!!

J. Money for President!

And, just think, you can actually combine these ideas: the tooth fairy can give Junior $2 and when Junior asks what he or she can do with that, your reply of course is (tada!) “Save it!”

The stocking stuffer idea is great, too. The entertainment value alone makes it more attractive than a fiver – unbeatable bank for the buck!

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2 Lance @ Money Life and More August 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

Len Penzo recently did a post on 18 cool facts (I think that is the right number) about $2 bills. I love the idea but it doesn’t work for me in practice because I haven’t set foot in a bank for a year. Last time I was there I was getting the cashier’s check for the closing of my house!

I would probably spend them though just because people never see them. I think it’d be fun to see the look on peoples faces.

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3 Melissa@LittleHouseIntheValley August 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

I love this idea because it forces savings (assuming you don’t spend them). Now that you have shared, though, getting $2 bills might be even harder to come by.

For awhile, I saved every $5 that entered my possession. If I bought something for $14 with a $20, I kept the $5 I got back and put it in savings. Over a few months, the savings added up to several hundred dollars.

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4 RichUncle EL August 24, 2012 at 8:36 am

I have done this before and they are safe and sound in a hidden place in my crib somewhere.

Funny Story I once had one in my wallet, because I heard they are a good luck charm in some societies of money geeks, but I got caught off guard when my local toll booth (GWB) went up by two dollars and what did I have to give the lady, My 2 dollar bill because I didnt have any other cash on me. Boo Hoo. To make matters worse she looked at the bill and at me all sorts of weird. LOL.

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5 Jason @ WSL August 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

We used to get $2 bills each Christmas from my Grandma and I thought they were awesome! This is a pretty unique trick but I think the $2 bill would eventually lose its luster and I wouldn’t have a problem spending them.

I’m glad I don’t have to trick myself to save. I just know it needs to be done, therefore I do it.

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6 jefferson August 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

i love this idea, JM.. especially with kids, i think they would make great stocking stuffers or TF money..

like lance above, i don’t set foot inside a bank very often.. but this would make a fine excuse.

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7 G.M. August 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

Been doing this with 2 EU coins for the past 4 years. It sums up to about 3500 EU per year, and you cannot imagine how it feels when I add this “unexpected” income to our family budget.

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8 Jordann @ My Alternate Life August 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

Wow this makes me wish we had $2 bills in Canada. Unfortunately we only have toonies and loonies to represent those numerical values, not quite as novel.

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9 Angela J August 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

This works very well to get kids to save because they think they’re so cool. I worked as a teller for years and we were happy to get rid of them from our cash drawers. Made counting a lot easier at the end of the day. Everytime I go back in to make a deposit I always buy a bunch, keep them in my safe and always put one in my nieces/nephews/daughter’s birthday cards. They love it and they never want to spend them! Raising Savers!

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10 tom August 24, 2012 at 9:41 am

I use them, when I can get them, as tips. Have to valet a car? $2 bill. Couple drinks at the bar? $2 bill.

I’ve found that people who get them as a tip really love it. Each time I’ve used one, I’ve had some sort of comment… normally… “wow, a $2 bill, cool, thanks!”

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11 Greg@ClubThrifty August 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

You know what I love even more than the $2 bill trick? I love the idea of hiding my $2 bills in a head of lettuce. Thanks for including that link! Love it!

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12 AverageJoe August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

I just saw a $2 bill in my son’s room that he won for a contest. You’re right: I totally thought, “that’s so cool.” I’m now going to grab all the $2 bills in Texarkana. There’ll probably be at least three.

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13 LB August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

I have been saving two dollar bills for as long as I can remember. My mom got me started with them for my birthday one year, and I make it a habit of picking some up every year. Let’s just say I have way over $100. I also collect other coins, like Sacagawea* coins and presidential coins. My hubby and I usually get something for the house and coins or dollars to save for our anniversary. We have a nice stash and it’s fun. Yes I LOVE money :)

*Please please please pronounce it like the Indian pronunciation and not English. It will even bother me even though I am on a computer and can’t hear it! Something I can’t get rid of from being born in ND, even though I barely lived there.

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14 LB August 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

I forgot about this story. Did you hear about the guy who was handcuffed for using fake bills, because the clerk at Best Buy thought they were fake? I can’t find the original news story, because it was back in 2005, but you will get the gist of it:

http://www.wnd.com/2005/04/29732/

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15 TM August 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

While a great savings strategy, you should be careful of doing that around the upstate of South Carolina. Banks around here typically have many more than a few on hand and you might find yourself cashing a whole paycheck worth of $2 bills.

Be on the lookout for any stamped with a tiger paw, I’m sure there are thousands out there…

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/sports/ncaafootball/clemson-fans-hold-fast-to-a-tradition-worth-more-than-the-paper-its-printed-on.html

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16 Brent Pittman August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am

Can’t say I’ve had 2-dollar bill in my possession in a while. I’m now officially on the lookout. I know what I’ll do when I cash in my $5 of pennies we rolled recently.

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17 J. Money August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

Just thought of another plus to keeping these bills — They’re purportedly good luck! Many keep them in their wallets as RichUncle EL reminded me, and back in the day people would tear off the corners to bring them luck too :) And if you had handfuls of them at home?? That’s a looooooooot of great luck on your side! Haha… just sayin’.

@William @ Drop Dead Money – You know it, brother!
@Lance @ Money Life and More – Yeah, it still amazes me that the gov’t still prints them out cuz you really don’t see them all too often. But when you do, you get some nice conversation starters that’s for sure!
@Melissa@LittleHouseIntheValley – I’ve tried that one too :) Lasted about 3 weeks, haha… I kept running out of cash! The nice thing about these $2 ones are that they’re much smaller in denomination so you don’t notice them as much.
@RichUncle EL – YES! Great reminder for sure – I forgot they were known to bring good luck :) And in your particular case there, it actually worked!
@Jason @ WSL – Awesome! Grandma’s are the best at coming up with clever gifts :) I remember getting savings bonds back in the day too, though admittedly not as interesting, haha… and now they don’t even print them out anymore – it’s all electronic :(
@jefferson – They’re not hard to find, that’s for sure. And the beauty of it is you can go to ANY bank and just ask for change whether you’re a member there or not, they usually don’t even ask.
@G.M. – WOW! You are WORKING it over there, nicely done my friend! That’s a ton of money!! We don’t have any $2 coins here – only $1 ones and those are just as rare to see in any given day as the $2 bills are – they didn’t really catch on much over in the US :(
@Jordann @ My Alternate Life – They sound a helluva lot better though ;)
@Angela J – YES! VERY TRUE!!! And that’s what some tellers tell me too after I empty their stash – they love it cuz they don’t have to count ‘em all at the end of their shifts anymore ;) Win-win! (And I’m totally stealing your idea of putting them in future cards for my nieces and nephews, that’s great!)
@tom – That’s not a bad idea either! I like that A LOT :)
@Greg@ClubThrifty – HAH! Pretty funny hiding bank, huh? :)
@AverageJoe – See!! Do it!
@LB – Nice! I actually have a pile of $1 coins too that I’m about to cash in cuz I thought I’d like doing the same with those as well, but it turns out it just annoys me, haha… I have about 60 or 70 of them I think – it’s too bad you don’t live closer! :)
@TM – HAH! That would be pretty funny to find since I’m really far away in the DC area :) But I’m totally gonna keep my eyes out for them now, thx!
@Brent Pittman – Yeah!! Go for it, bro! Maybe you’ll get some cool old ones :)

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18 Joe @ Retire By 40 August 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

That’s a great idea, but I haven’t seen a $2 bill in years. I don’t go into a bank much either (probably twice a year), but I’ll try it the next time I drop in.

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19 LB August 24, 2012 at 11:28 am

Oh man! I would totally buy those coins off of you J. I love saving coins and I totally missed buying any this year for my wedding anniversary. (Hubby was in the hospital.)

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20 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager August 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Ugh. I hate going to the bank. I don’t think this is for me.

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21 Kris August 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Sounds like a very creative tip, and one that would work. The only problem for me is that I rarely go to the bank, never go inside, and rarely go when anyone is working. But maybe I should start going in side more :)

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22 Laura August 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

My grandfather buys them from all his grandkids for $10 a pop! If I ever find one, I save them for him, and they turn me an $8 profit!

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23 K @ Get Worth August 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Interesting idea, now I’m curious whether my little local bank would have any on hand.

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24 J. Money August 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Ahhahahahaa… just got back from the bank doing this myself (FYI Fridays are the best time to get the bills as people have been turning them in all week long), and the guy behind me goes, “Strip clubs are now accepting $2 bills?” ;) I told you they were conversation starters!

(I got $28 worth, btw – jackpot!)

@Joe @ Retire By 40 – Now that you’re paying attention, I bet you walk past banks all the time and don’t even know it :) Just stop on in once a week or so and get some change!
@LB – Awww, sorry to hear :( I came close to turning them all in today, but decided to save them for another time as I do enjoy looking at them :)
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – The only times it sucks is when there are crazy long lines – and in which case I just walk on outta there and come back another day.
@Kris – Haha yes, prob good to go out on a walk or something more and get some fresh air! :) I try and go on my “lunch breaks” just to get out of my house while running other errands. I just did that today and it probably took me 3 and 1/2 extra mins out of my trip, haha…
@Laura – What!! Tell your grandpa to come over to the House of J$! I’ll give him all of mine! :) Or better yet, just tell him to get them for FREE at the bank! Haha… well, not for free, but for $2.00. Or does he just do it to see how many of y’all find them and turn them in? In that case, you just go to the bank then ;)
@K @ Get Worth – Very good odds they will. Though you usually you have to go on a Friday or Saturday morning as it’s the best times to find them in my experience, and after talking w/ the tellers. Good luck! :)

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25 Heather August 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I don’t do it for the savings, but I have a small stack of $2 bills in a box with other special papers. I never thought about seeing if the tellers have them. Might try that next time I’m in the bank.

One of the saddest things ever though was when I was working retail and someone paid with a $2 bill and the cashier refused to take it because she didn’t believe it was real money. We finally convinced her it was okay, then I bought it out of the till.

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26 Sharlz August 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I am from Australia, we don’t have $2 bills here but we do have a lot of commermorative/collectible coins in circulation, anything under $5 is a coin here. Whenever I see an unusual coin I keep it, it helps my savings and I can fool myself into thinking that maybe one day that weird 5c coin will be worth thousands;)

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27 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com August 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I have one $2 bill, and I use it as a bookmark.

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28 Stock Elf August 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Kids love $2 bills! Great way to teach them saving because who really wants to spend a $2 bill – they’re too awesome!

Check out the red seal $2 bills if you get a chance. The 1928′s are really cool!

http://invimages.vortalgroup.com/images/COINS/Primary/000064_2dollar-redseal-1928G.jpg

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29 Jay August 26, 2012 at 7:25 am

J. Money – I have heard that $2 bills work good in strip clubs because in the low light, the girls think you are giving them a $20….

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30 Lisa @ Cents To Save August 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

What a great idea to stash some serious cash! Going to try it out!!

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31 DebtKiller August 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Funny this topic came up. A few weeks ago I was at my local bank and a gentleman next to me asked the teller for $2 bills. I actually didn’t even know they were still in circulation. I can’t remember the last time I saw, much less possessed, a $2 bill. Good mental trick to play into your savings though…

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32 J. Money August 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

@Heather – Haha yeah, when people aren’t used to seeing them they think people are trying to pull one over on them! Same thing happend to me, oddly enough, this weekend when I tried using $1 coins at an antiques store. They’d never seen them before and were questioning me on them ;) I bring them around during my trip to yard sales and flea markets cuz I think they’re fun (and it doesn’t feel like “real” money I’m spending!) but every now and then it holds up the process…
@Sharlz – There you go :) That works!
@Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – That’s a pretty good idea. I bet you get comments too if you read on the plane or train or someting and people see it, huh?
@Stock Elf – YEAH!!! Loving that! I have a few bills with the red stamp on the right-hand side, but not on the left. That pic of Monticello on the back is incredible. Wonder how much these are worth?
@Jay – Hahahhaha…… I bet that’s totally true!!! Haha… I love it :)
@Lisa @ Cents To Save – Go for it! And let me know how much you end up saving as time goes on :)
@DebtKiller – Oh yeah. I wonder what that guy wanted them for? I bet to give out to someone as a gift if he was an older gentlement. If he was younger, I bet it’s cuz he’s trying to save more :)

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33 Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I love $2 bills almost as much as I love pirate’s gold. ;-) I couldn’t imagine ever spending mine, they’re just so cool.

I always make it a point to save them whenever I get one, but I don’t really go out on a mission like you do to get them. Maybe if I had some extra cash, but right now all of our money is going into our “house fund” since we’re buying our first house.

Good luck snatching them all up. :-)

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34 J. Money August 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

You know what’s funny? Every time I go to put these in my hiding place I THINK of your pirate’s gold!! Haha… it’s what kinda prompted the idea of me saving them more too – So I can check them out and see a pile of awesomeness whenever I want :) I also have a pile of your gold dollars here too, but I gotta trade them in for more $2s soon… go us!

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35 Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Haha, that cool. :-) Who wouldn’t want a pile of awesomeness to gaze at? You’re really trading in your pirate’s gold to get more $2s? You know, you could do both and have dueling stashes—that would be impressive.

You know, like each time you go on your mission, buy up all their $2s and all their pirate’s gold and see which one grows the fastest. It would also encourage you to save more, if you’re competitive at all. Just an idea. ;-)

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36 J. Money August 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

Haha true true… only thing is they always have TONS of pirates gold at the bank so I’d be running out of cash every single time! ;) But I do ask for all their half dollars and silver dollar coins though cuz some are worth a LOT more than face value and I’ve always preferred silver over gold anyways… plus, they only have a few of them – if that – when I ask ;)

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37 Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

Half and silver dollars are cool too. :-) I think I just like any money that is different.

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38 Wise Finish September 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

This is a grand idea – I can vouch for the fact that I also never spend $2 bills.

Does FDIC insurance extend to that shoebox? ;-)

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39 J. Money September 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

@Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – just got over $20 bucks worth of half dollars yesterday – one of them had a cross stamped on JFK’s head!! So crazy?? Maybe worth something?

@Wise Finish – HAH! I wish ;) I think you found the only downside of this plan… that, and if your house burned down.

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40 Holly October 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I just sold a tshirt at a craft fair and received $20 in $2 bills…. and you’re right… i cant bring myself to use them at all… instant savings.. :) Too bad they’re not worth more than $2 each.

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41 J. Money October 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

HAH! Awesome. Totally feels like a lot more though, huh? :)

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42 Mr. Cash March 12, 2014 at 11:10 pm

This is an awesome idea! I think I’ll just have to try this the next time I’m at the bank.

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43 J. Money March 13, 2014 at 6:43 am

Go for it! :)

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