Monday, June 3, 2013

So What Did I Save?

Articles always tell you that you can save something like $500 a year by doing things like making coffee at home instead of buying it, but who really tracks that?  I mean, money saved isn't really income, so unless you take that amount and consciously do something with it, you don't really notice.  For the month of May, I decided to take a look at where and how much I saved, and it's kind of an interesting list.  I'm not going to do anything with this info, besides feel a little bit smug, but it's a nice reminder of all those little tweaks that net real savings.

The yoga studio I go to is rather expensive and I would never be able to afford it normally.  The best priced package is $100/month, and since I often only go once a week, that would just not be worth it.  I used to buy a 20 class card for $250, which is a lot of cash to pony up at once, even if it is the best value.  What they also do, however, is a scholarship program for those who love the yoga but can't quite afford it, and a work trade program.  I'm a part of the work trade program, which means that after my 10am Monday class, I stay late and clean the studio.  For the cost of 30 minutes spent vacuuming, washing towels and swiffering, I get unlimited free yoga.
Savings: $100

Eating from the Pantry:
Since we're moving, we have barely bought groceries for the month of May.  Instead, I've been concentrating on only eating food we already have because that's less to move.  Yes, I've had some strange meals this month-- frozen pizza with baked beans comes to mind, but I don't really care.  It's all food I like, after all, or I wouldn't have bought it.  I've uncovered foods tucked away in the deep freeze that I forgot I ever bought, and I'm rather proud of my ingenuity.  This is something that I try to do (or at least think about trying to do) a couple times a year, but I always kind of stall out at the beginning of the project and don't make much headway.  This time, I kept telling myself that it made no sense to buy more stuff just to move it twice.  As a result, the only bread we've had in the house for the past two weeks has been pita bread or English muffins, and I've learned that you can just put EVERYTHING on an English muffin and life goes on just fine.

Savings: $200

Pizza Groupon
In addition to eating from the pantry, I have been subbing in the occasional takeout pizza because, let's face it, sometimes a bag of frozen veg with a side of baked beans and  Trader Joe's frozen dumplings just doesn't sound appealing.  What's better than takeout pizza?  Abundant takeout pizza subsidized by a groupon.  I bought two groupons for $15 each that redeem for $30.  The place I bought them from makes huge pizzas, so we got two days of leftovers out of it.

Savings $30

Dinner Coupon 
Similarly, the other night we wanted to get out of the house and eat somewhere moderately fancy.I dug into my coupon caddy and came up with a gift certificate for $50 that I only paid $25 for.  We were able to have a nice dinner for far less than we normally would have paid.

Savings $25

the weather lately has been perfect for biking.  It's been a bit cold for actually doing stuff outdoors, but I prefer it chilly when I'm pedaling, so I biked a lot this month.  It got to the point, after a while, where I was actually resentful of the days I needed to drive.  I love my bike.

Savings: ~$10

Can Redemption
Massachusetts gives you back $.05 for cans and bottles.  We had a ton of cans in the basement because we're lazy about cashing them in, but since we need to get rid of them anyway, I sucked it up and made the trip.  Four bags of cans equals $18 toward the purchase of delicious beer that I would have bought anyway.
Savings $18

Car Insurance
I always pay my car insurance in six-month chunks, which saves me $51 off the price of the policy.  I also reduced my premium amount owed by $53 by using that Big Brother device that monitored my driving habits, and I dropped my coverage to liability only since my car is pretty old and not worth much anymore.  I still think the amount I pay is too high, but at least I'm saving $106 every time I renew, and it's about time I started shopping around for a new provider.
Savings $106

Total Savings $489

Not bad!  Of course, I have to turn around and give that money right to the government in the form of  student loan payment, but better than blowing it all on hats!  What other areas of savings have people found?  I'm sure there's something I'm overlooking, but it never, ever hurts to ask.

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