If I Had a Nickel

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....for every-time I'd seen this trope, I'd have...well, I guess I could buy a candy bar or something....

A Stock Phrase, in response to a frequent event. The character will say something along the lines of, "If I had a nickel for every time X happened, I'd be rich." Expect "nickel" to be replaced with whatever currency appears in the work.

A common variant is for the character to simply trail off after the first part, eg: "If I had a nickel for every time X happened..." Additionally, this trope might be Played for Laughs by having the second part of the phrase add up to something impossible (for instance, getting $5.47 from nickels).

This trope often overlaps with Noodle Incident and Oh, No, Not Again, in that this is usually the first time we've seen this happen to them.

This becomes a Subverted Trope when a character instead says something like, "If I had a nickel for every time X happened...I'd have two nickels." Lately, this subversion has become common enough that the trope looks to be heading towards either Dead or Undead Horse Trope territory.

Examples of If I Had a Nickel include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Seto Kaiba: If I had a dime for every time you said the word destiny, I'd be even richer.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Superman, as Clark Kent, in Superman III: "If I had a dime for every kid who asked me to get Superman's autograph..."
  • I.Q.: "If you had a nickel for every nickel he has, you'd have a whole lot of nickels!"
  • Baseketball: "If I had a nickel for every time this ball's gotten me out of a tight spot, I'd have a shitload of nickels!"
  • Apollo 13:

Jim Lovell: Well... if I had a dollar for every time they've killed me in this thing [a simulator], I wouldn't have to work for you, Deke.

Lora Madigan: I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing.
Kenneth Mason: If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that.

  • From Cybill, courtesy of Maryann (Christine Baranski), Deadpan Snarker divorcee:

If I had a nickel for each time my ex-husband didn't perform ... Actually, I do have a nickel for each time.

If I had a nickel for every cigarette your mother smoked, I'd be dead.

Comics[edit | hide]

Jokes[edit | hide]

  • If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed... Oh wait, he does!
  • If a nickel popped out for every joke at the expense of [insert popular hate target here], nobody would be poor.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • A repeated joke in Discworld novels.
    • In Night Watch, Nobby Nobbs says that if he had a dollar for every watchman's funeral he'd attended he'd have $19.50. He did the math right, it's just that one of them woke up before they buried him.
    • And in Lords and Ladies, Mustrum Ridcully says that if he had a penny for every time he'd been kicked out of the tavern in Lancre, he'd have $5.38.
    • In Moving Pictures, Windle Poons says that if he had a penny for every time the Watch chased him home, he'd have "fivepence-ha'penny", (because they once gave up halfway).
  • In So Long and Thanks For All The Fish Ford Prefect says: "If I had a pound for every time one part of the universe looked at another part of the universe and say 'thats terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon asking you to bring me a cup of coffee, but I don't and I am."
  • Maximum Ride uses this occasionally.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Assumpta Fitzgerald: Thanks for last night. You were good.
Enda Sullivan: If I had a pound for every time a woman said that to me...

  • The Daily Show: "You know, if I had a nickel for every time Bush has mentioned 9/11, I could raise enough reward money to go after bin Laden."
    • The Colbert Report: "If I had a nickel for every time [subject/topic]...I'd really like that!"
  • Gossip Girl:

Lily van der Woodsen: <to Serena> Don't leave your dirty package on the table.
Chuck Bass: If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that.

  • Oz: "If I had a nickel for every time I didn't understand, you'd be talking to an empty chair."
  • The Steve Harvey Show:

Regina: Steve, can I see you for a moment?
Steve: Ya know, if I had a nickel for every time a woman approached me with that question...
Regina: You'd have 12 minutes on a parking meter.

  • Tales from the Crypt episode "Only Sin Deep": "You know somethin' honey, if I had a dollar for every time you stood in the mirror admirin' your face, I could get off these streets and retire to the Bahamas."
  • Two and A Half Men, "An Old Flame with a New Wick": "If I had a nickel for every time a girl broke up with me and came back as a man, I'd have a nickel!"
    • "Those Fancy Japanese Toilets:"

Walden: Relax, I'm not going to hook up with your mom.
Alan: Yeah, if I had a dime for every time I herd that I'd have $3.60. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it's happened 36 times.
Walden: That's a weird thing to keep track of.

  • X-Play: "But first, we start with World War II; oh, if I had a nickel for every time I said that, I could finally afford to buy myself a pony."
  • The Young Ones episode "Bomb":

Neil: If I had a penny for every time I had to answer the door, I'd have £5.63.

Kevin Bacon: Man if I had a dollar for every jock strap my stalker stole from me...
Jack: You'd have $187!...
(Kevin Bacon looks at him strangely)
Jack: (nervously) ...It's just an expression.

  • Used humorously in the short-lived sit-com Dweebs when Carey talks to her boss, Warren, about the rest of the guys telling her about how they used to be bullied:

Warren: If I had a nickel for every wedgie I got in junior high... Oh wait... I do (smiles).

  • On one episode of Cram, one of the trivia "facts" used in the Bonus Round went something like: "If you had a nickel for every time anybody ever said 'If I had a nickel,' you would have 78 trillion nickels."
  • Running gag on Whose Line Is It Anyway?:

Drew: Boy, if I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me...
Ryan: You'd have a dime.

Lila: (On the phone talking to Fran) Oh, you have no idea how happy I am to hear your voice.
Fran: Oh, you know, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that... I'd have a nickel.

  • The Seinfeld episode "The Rye", where George's parents, Frank and Estelle have dinner with the parents of his fiancée, Susan Ross:

Estelle: I couldn't help but notice that you have quite a library in there.
Mrs. Ross: If I had a dime for every book he's actually read, I'd be broke.

Music[edit | hide]

  • "If I had a dollar bill for every time I've been wrong, I'd be a self-made millionaire and you'd still be gone"—a Reel Big Fish song.
  • There's a song by David Ryan Harris called "If I Had a Dime"

If I had a dime for every time I thought of you
I would be through scraping for crumbs...

  • Similarly, Redmon & Vale's "If I Had a Nickel (One Thin Dime)"

If I had a nickel for every time
I wished your love was still mine
I'd have a dime, one thin dime.

  • In the Olivia Newton-John song "Please Mister Please", the singer laments that "if I had a dime for every time I held you, [...], I could swear I'd be the richest girl in Nashville, maybe even in the state of Tennessee."
  • "Missionary Man" by Eurhythmics:

If I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled under my chin

If I had a dollar for every time
I repented the sin but commit the same crime
I'd be sitting on top of the world today

If I had a dollar for every name that you just dropped
you'd be here and I'd be on a yacht.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Mahasti: You missed your time! The Vizier has already begun to transform the women I imprisoned! You buy yourself hours at best!
The Prince: <knocks Mahasti over the edge of the rooftop> If I had some sands for every time someone said that to me. <a cloud of sand comes to him from Mahasti's corpse> Oh! I do!

    • And again:

Mahasti: Your journey will not end well!
The Prince: If I had sands for every time someone said that to me... <collects some sands of time> Oh, apparently I do!

Web Comic[edit | hide]

Sora: Man, if I had a nickel every time a roommate commited a crime against humanity...
Namine: You would have $7.12.

Violetta: If I had a Belgian chocolate mimmoth for every hour I've had to listen to Tarvek blather on about those stupid muses, I'd weigh a thousand kilos.
Professor Mezzasalma: ...really?
Violetta: Oh yeah, I worked it out once.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Homestar Runner: "Man, if I had a nickel for every email I get, I would throw them at people in the food court. From that railing, like up above."
  • During "The Annoying Orange Comedy Roast":

Liam The Leprechaun: If I had a nickel, for every time the Annoying Orange annoyed me; well I wouldn't need to find my pot of gold now, would I? (laughs) I still want to though.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • From Kim Possible, in the episode "Ron Millionaire": "If I had a nickel for every time I heard that [talking about Bonnie's comment]...I could have grande-sized!" The plot of the episode revolved around Ron actually receiving a huge royalty check from Bueno Nacho, tabulated as a nickel for ever Naco(a fast-food entree of his own invention) sold.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "If I had a dollar for every brain you don't have...I'd have one dollar."
  • Parodied in The Simpsons:

Dr. Hibbert: Oh, if I had $75 for every novelty I've removed...Oh, by the way, the operation will cost $75.

  • Brian on Family Guy used this expression (without spelling out the "I'd be rich" part of the thought), and was completely dumbfounded when his girlfriend's companions didn't recognize the saying on its own.
    • It seemed, though, that Brian himself didn't understand the expression well enough to explain it to them. He seemed to be dumbfounded not only because they were unfamiliar with the expression (which is indeed a bit ignorant), but also because he hadn't thought about the expression enough to immediately know the answer to the question "What does that saying mean?"
    • Another episode had Meg combine this with Curse Cut Short: "If I had a nickel for every time my parents walked out instead of teaching me to drive, I'd be one rich-"
  • Hey Arnold!:

Harold: If I had a dime for every time somebody called me dumb...I'd sure have a whole bunch of dimes!

  • In Adventure Time, after he frees Tree Trunks from the power of a crystal apple, Jake tells Tree Trunks if he had a penny for every time someone has been driven mad with magic power...he'd be Abraham Lincoln. Incidentally, this is a pretty common event in their world.
  • Phineas and Ferb's clip show episode plays with this trope from Doofenshmirtz, Phineas, and Linda. Doof and Linda realize that the total amount equals that of a candy bar.
  • King of the Hill episode "To Sirloin With Love":

Hank: If I had a nickel for every time I buckled under pressure, I'd have five nickels.

    • Also used by Cotton, to describe "The Hole" at his old boot camp.

Cotton: If I had a nickel for every boy who went crazy in there, I'd be eating nickel soup.

Frankie: If I had a dime for every time I heard that one...

  • The Oblongs had a subversion: "If I had a nickel for every dollar I had, I'd still be rich"
  • The Xs had a double subversion. When dad said that if he had a nickel for every time his cooking skills saved his life, he stopped to make the calculation, and said he would have 5 dollars. While the money isn't a lot, that actually is a lot of Life saving.

Other[edit | hide]

Sue Scott's character: If I had a nickel for every time I have seen people talking on the phone while they drove today, I could buy the Taj Mahal. Or a studio apartment in Brooklyn.

  • Mitch Hedberg: "If I had a quarter for every time this happened, I'd be making money in a very odd way."