One Year of Thrifty Living: May 2018

What a rough month (weather-wise) in the Midwest! It has been hot, hot, hot—upwards of 95-degrees for most of May. In this weather, it can be difficult to get motivated, especially for gardening, cleaning, or doing DIY projects. We powered through, and I’m happy that we were able to save $388.55 this month.

I began tracking our savings (project-by-project, coupon-by-coupon) in January. Now that we’re five months into our thrifty living experiment, I was curious to see which strategies have yielded the MOST savings so far.

DollarSignPostIt_pixabayThe main strategies we’ve used in 2018 have been:

  • Using coupons
  • Saving money on food by 1) planning meals around grocery sales and seasonal produce, 2) purchasing in bulk, and 3) growing some of our own produce
  • Taking advantage of credit card rewards by 1) making all large purchases on the credit card, which yields 1.5% cash back; then 2) paying off the credit card balance immediately so no interest accrues
  • DIY car repairs and other DIY projects (e.g., household supplies, beauty supplies, food supplies)
  • Thrifty gardening: 1) using recycled and up-cycled materials, 2) getting free seeds, 3) growing produce/herbs from seed rather than buying plants, 4) volunteering at the community garden in exchange for free produce
  • Line drying laundry
  • Other strategies, such as: 1) negotiating prices and comparison shopping, 2) finding free stuff, and 3) finding really cheap stuff at yard sales.

Here are the savings totals for each category from January to May 2018:

Category Total Savings
January 2018 to May 2018
DIY Car Repairs $1,000
DIY (Other) $257.38
Thrifty Gardening $175.43
Free Stuff / Yard Sales $132.50
Grocery Store Sales $119.36
Refund from Airline $110.00
Coupons $96.78
Credit Card Rewards $75.93
Garden Harvest $55.93*
Comparison Shopping $50.00
Negotiating Prices $25.00
Line Drying Laundry $4.68
TOTAL $2,102.99

*Garden season has just begun, so I anticipate this figure to grow quite a bit in June, July, and August!

It looks like the DIY car repairs have saved us the most money, although I realize that not everyone has an in-house mechanic (Mr. Thrifty Living is a diesel mechanic who can fix just about anything)!

However, anyone can learn to do a few simple DIY projects, and this is the second largest money-saving category. Since January 2018, we have saved over $250 making our own kitchen basics (e.g., bread, vegetable broth, salad dressing), household cleaners, and personal care products. DIY projects can be quite fun, and they don’t have to take a lot of your time!

We’ll keep trucking along and tracking our savings. See below for the details on our May 2018!

May 2018
Category Description $ Saved Running Total
Coupons Monthly 10% off coupon at co-op $21.41 $21.41
Coupon for tea $1.00 $22.41
Grocery Store Sales Sales on food items $10.68 $33.09
Store-wide 25% health & beauty sale $31.00 $64.09
Credit Card Rewards Cash back on credit card $18.45 $82.54
DIY Salad dressings $9.00 $91.54
Body wash $4.00 $95.54
Dishwasher detergent $4.00 $99.54
Lotion (all natural) $2.00 $101.54
Repairing sunglasses rather than buying a new pair $20.00 $121.54
DIY car repairs $200.00 $321.54
Garden harvest (organic produce) Baby spring mix $27.93 $349.47
Swiss chard $9.00 $358.47
Radishes $2.00 $360.47
Herbs $3.00 $363.47
Bok choy seeds (~ 2 seed packets) $4.00 $367.47
Other Line-drying 3 loads of laundry $1.08 $368.55
Yard sale finds (3 books for 50 cents each) $20.00 $388.55

Are you having success with any money-saving strategies?
I’d love to hear from you.

Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.
Let’s celebrate the little victories together,
and happy saving!

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