A Year Experiment: Saving Money on Very Little Effort

In May of 2010 I started the experiment of seeing what a years worth of trying to save money would be on as little effort as possible. People were inspired by these posts, and I know I’ve gotten a few people to look up coupon codes through them in order to save money.

Some steps I took to save money:

  1. Planned my grocery list around what was on sale at my local grocer
  2. Took advantage of fuel discounts from my grocery store, sometimes getting up to 40 cents a gallon off
  3. A week before I was going shopping for groceries, I’d look up coupons on thecouponclippers.com for things I use regularly and spent $4 on coupons that would gradually save me $50 in the long run.
  4. When I was making a purchase online from different sites, I’d take a moment to google “coupon code for X”, usually it redirects me to retailmenot.com which is my favorite coupon site. But I’d do this for every purchase and it would only take a few seconds. Sometimes I’d find one, sometimes I wouldn’t, but I always looked.
  5. I took advantage of deals at local stores where available, like when I went shopping in March and got 55% off everything I bought.
  6. Occasionally I used my USAA credit card because it had a cash back option and I would pay off my purchases completely at the end of the month. My rebates were well worth it.
  7. Taking advantage of amazon.com’s free shipping feature can save a decent amount of money over the course of a year. Most things I didn’t need immediately so it didn’t matter to me if it took longer to ship. But lets be honest, even their free shipping feature is pretty quick, considering.
  8. I shopped around for cheaper prices on big ticket items, like dad’s compression socks.
  9. I reviewed my cellphone plan last year and found they had changed their pricing plans around to something cheaper, so I switched to the cheaper plan that provided the same stuff

Here is a rundown and the official total for the year:

May 2010 – $286.03
June 2010 – $174.48
July 2010 – $202.02
August 2010 – $387.79
September 2010 – $129.14
October 2010 – $145.24
November 2010 – $53.17
December 2010 – $143.94
January 2011 – $201.89
February 2011 – $92.09
March 2011 – $303.86
April 2011 – $60.72
May 2011 – $181.10

Total Saved in a Year: $2361.47

Not bad for hardly any effort :)

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Money Saved May 2011

  • $60.43 by buying groceries that were on sale
  • $3.85 by using coupons I purchased for a few cents off of The Coupon Clippers website
  • $55 by buying groceries that were on sale
  • $3 by using coupons I purchased for a few cents off of The Coupon Clippers website
  • $12.82 in shipping costs from amazon.com by choosing the free super saver method instead
  • $46 by looking up a coupon code for some domain name renewals, almost half off!

Total Saved: $181.10

Notes:
I don’t care what anyone says, looking up coupon codes if you’re going to buy something online is entirely worth it.

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Money Saved April 2011

  • $3 off for free shipping on a mothers day purchase with my sister
  • $53.33 by buying what is on sale while grocery shopping with my bonus card
  • $4.39 discount when ordering from drugstore.com due to previous orders

Total Saved: $60.72

Notes:
A cheap month, because I only went grocery shopping once for the entire month and didn’t really spend much. But they that’s savings all in itself :D

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Money Saved March 2011

  • $33.22 by purchasing groceries that were on sale
  • $7.00 on groceries by using coupons from “The Coupon Clippers” website
  • $45.19 by purchasing groceries that were on sale
  • $14.35 on groceries by using coupons from “The Coupon Clippers” website
  • $168.10 by going clothes shopping for the first time in years on a day where everything was not only 40% off, but I signed up for a store card for an additional 15% off, for a total of 55% off everything I bought. I don’t really plan to use the card, but if I do it will be paid off the very next day because I don’t like store cards.
  • $36 on a new pair of sandals I needed while they were on sale

Total Saved: $303.86

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Money Saved February 2011

  • $7.67 by using a 35% off coupon for a domain registration
  • $6 on an artwork purchase by taking advantage of 30% off deal
  • $5.99 by qualifying for free shipping on a drugstore.com order
  • $7 coupon for new medical ID necklace for dad by taking advantage of his Liberty Medical discount
  • $60.43 by purchasing groceries that were on sale
  • $5 coupon added to grocery savings

Total Saved: $92.09

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