I’m beyond excited to be writing this post and sharing it with you today! This is a post that I never imagined writing but I am so happy to be able to write it and share it with you.
Last year, I began an interesting blog series where I shared little ways that I saved each month. I began the series on a whim because I wanted to remind myself – and all you, my frugal readers – that the little pieces of savings do indeed add up.
Over Christmas break, I found myself wondering how much I actually saved during the past year. Some of the things were pretty little (salvaging produce and using digital coupons) but others were bigger (redeeming gas rebate cards). I spent some time this past week going over all of my past lists and adding up the savings. Please note, I estimated the savings and estimated very conservatively as I did not want to misconstrue my savings to anyone.
When I went through the 11 months of the year for which I compiled lists totaled up the 77 ways I saved, I was amazed to realize that I saved our family over $2500! The little things really did add up to big savings!
I’m going to share highlights of the list below, along with links to each month and all the ways I saved, to get you thinking of how you can save too. I really didn’t think my little bits here and there would add up to this much. It just goes to show that every little bit really does add up! If I can do this, you can do it too!
I started the year by recommitting to baking bread again. I did the cost comparison and found it only cost me $0.48 a loaf to bake bread, so it was well worth my time. As I shared last week, I’m pleased to say that I made it all year without buying any sandwich bread! We ate at least one loaf of bread a week and bread of that quality runs around $2.50 a loaf (at a low price). Based on that conservative estimate, we saved at least $2 a week, with this one simple substitution! I’m planning on continuing to bake our bread this year. Here is the bread recipe I use. It’s really easy – and so delicious! Estimated Savings: $104
Even in the midst of winter, we saved by turning our heat down to 64 degrees at night. I know it saves us money but it’s difficult to estimate exactly, due to the percentages and varying energy costs. I did a lot of Googling on the subject and believe that turning our heat down at night saves us at least $10 a month. I actually thought it would be more, but considering that we do it for several months, the savings adds up. Estimated Savings: $50
It’s hard to believe our baby boy turned 1 this year! We took Nathan’s one year pictures at JC Penney, using a $25 credit they sent us. I also used an additional coupon for $3.99 portrait sheets and paid for most of our pictures with a gift card that I had. Estimated Savings: $50
I had lots of savings in April! My biggest savings came from / with my blog. I spent money on my blog but also saved. I chatted with my website hosting company and was able to reduce my bill by $5 a month. I locked in my bill for 2 years at that price. I also invested in the Elite Blog Academy class (well worth the investment) and used a coupon code to reduce my cost slightly. These were expenses I was going to occur anyway so I was thankful to save this much. Estimated Savings: $195
I started cutting Nathan’s hair this month. I invested in a nice hair cut set on Amazon (affiliate link – but I really love it!) and I know it will pay me back many times in the years to come. Nathan has thick hair (like his parents) so I’ve already cut it 5 times this year. It’s been a learning curve but thankfully, he’s a baby so it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. He also has a lot of wave so it’s easy to cut layers in his hair. Youtube has some great video help, if you’re interested in cutting hair at home. Estimated Savings: $50
We paid for gas on our family vacations using gift cards we had earned throughout the year. We have a Visa credit card that has a special deal with our Marathon gas stations. When we pay for the gas, we automatically get $0.07 off each gallon. Plus, we reach a certain level of purchases, we earn a $25 Marathon gift card. We mainly use this Visa card for our gas and earn at least one $25 gift card a month. Since we pay the credit card off each month, it really is free money we’re earning! As soon as the gift cards arrive in the mail, I set them aside and save them for our summer vacations. It’s one less expense we have to worry about when we travel – which we do a lot! Estimated Savings: $300
I redeemed 3 free Shutterfly books in July. I shared a lot of tips and tricks for getting free Shutterfly books in this post. I have started creating a 20 page 8×8 book for each trip that we take. I’ve also created different books for Nathan’s birth and baptism, too. This is in addition to our yearly (larger) 8×11 family scrapbook. By using free codes, I am more than happy to pay the $7.99 in shipping for a beautiful keepsake. Plus, I use our Discover cashback rewards to purchase a $25 Shutterfly gift card for only $20. That means the shipping ends up being free, too! Estimated Savings: $114
I used Mperks throughout the year whenever I shopped at Meijer. They made some changes to their program this year that I wasn’t as thrilled about but I still saved a decent amount. Over the course of the year, I took advantage of several Mperks freebies, clipped Mperks coupons and redeemed several earned rewards that all saved me money. The personalized rewards are my favorite way to save. Since Meijer is the main grocery story where I shop (along with Kroger), I saved quite a bit with Mperks throughout the year. Estimated Savings: $101
I redeemed a free membership for New Moms at Sam’s Club. It was an offer that quickly became very popular. I know some of you were able to get it as well. I don’t shop at Sam’s Club more than once a month but there are some Instant Savings Deals that save me money. Some of the things I buy at Sam’s are chocolate chips, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, some dairy and produce. Estimated Savings: $45 (for the membership fee) and another $30 (for grocery savings)
I had a huge savings in October when I canceled a follow-up doctor’s appointment. You can read more about it in my October post. The gist was that I had some blood work that caused my ob concern early in my pregnancy and so I had to visit a hematologist. Thankfully, everything came back normal and with the doctor’s permission, I canceled the follow-up appointment. Since we have a high deductible and hadn’t met our deductible for the year, I knew we would be paying everything out of deductible. I’m glad I did because when the bills eventually arrived that one appointment cost us over $600 out of pocket! It was necessary so I went, but I’m glad I saved by canceling the follow-up appointment. Estimated Savings: $500
I used several gift cards and coupon codes in November to save. I used a $10 off $10 at Kohls, as well as $10 off $10 at LL Bean. I used those coupon codes to go Christmas shopping and stretch our gift giving budget even further. I did that in December with a $10 off $10 coupon code at JC Penney. Sometimes it pays to stay on mailing lists for coupons such as these! Estimated Savings: $30
Estimated Yearly Savings: $1519
Now, if you notice, I only highlighted 11 ways I saved (one for each month) out of 77 items total. As with all my estimates, I’m going to be conservative. I went through the rest of my monthly lists (which you can read via the links above) and added up all the other little things I did to save. I estimate that I saved at least $988 from the rest of the items on my list. That brings my total of estimated savings for the year to $2507.
You may not save in the exact same ways that I did but you can certain save in countless ways. Start looking for the savings around you. Eat your leftovers. Use coupons. Redeem free offers. Earn free gift cards. There are so many ways we can save!
If I, a stay-at-home Mom, who is already living frugally, can save so much in so many little ways, just imagine all the ways you can save money, too!
I hope this post serves as an encouragement to you. Saving from making big changes like cutting cable or refinancing your mortgage are great things to do. Still, if you feel like there is nothing big left you can do to save money, start saving with the little things! This list proves that all the little things – done over time – will save you money.
So, what are you waiting for? How are YOU going to save this year?