One Year of Savings!

Do money-saving tips actually save you money?  Just how much money can you save through frugal living?

The Internet is full of stories about people who paid off debt and saved money through frugal living. I love these stories! But I often wonder how much money folks really save with DIY projects, shopping for sale items, finding free stuff, etc.

For the next year, I’ll keep track of how I save money. Each month, I’ll include:

  • Specific strategies you can use to save money 
  • How much money you can save using each strategy
  • Links to additional resources—fun stuff you can try!

So, Frugal Friends, here’s to a money-saving New Year! Click here to read One Year of Savings





Garden Savings: Free Seed Libraries

It’s March, ya’ll!! Time to start planning those spring gardens. For those of us who love to garden, late winter and early spring is an exciting time. Spring gardens offer the hope of fresh, homegrown produce….and saving lots of money on groceries!

How much you spend on your garden is really up to you. Gardening needn’t be an expensive hobby, especially if you can get started on the cheap! One tip for saving money is to find FREE packets of seeds.

Where can I get FREE seeds?

seedlings markus-spiske-104913

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One year of savings! March 2018

Isn’t saving money so much fun? We’re on the third month of recording our savings for 2018! This has been quite an endeavor. We saved nearly $1,000 in January and several hundred in February by using coupons, store discounts, DIY projects/repairs, etc.

March is going to be an especially fun month for saving money. In addition to our usual money-saving strategies, gardening season has officially begun in the Midwest. I’ll be scrounging around for lots of free garden stuff (e.g., seeds, trellises, compost) as we get our community garden plot set up for the season.

As always, I’ll update my savings chart as the month progresses.
Stay tuned for a full list of our March 2018 savings!


March 2018

Category Description $ Saved Running Total
Coupons Monthly 10% off coupon for local co-op (found in mailer) $16.89 $16.89
Sleepytime tea coupon (found in box) $1.00 $17.89
Grocery Deals Udon noodles sale $1.80 $19.69
Organic sugar sale $0.50 $20.19
Sleepytime tea $0.99 off per box (2 boxes) $1.98 $22.17
Toothpaste sale (one tube) $1.00 $23.17
DIY Homemade organic bread (4 loaves) $7.96 $31.13
Homemade organic dijon salad dressing (2 cups) $2.00 $33.13
Homemade dishwasher detergent $4.00 $37.13
Homemade organic vegetable broth (8 cups) $3.98 $41.11
Garden Free seed library—5 free seed packets $49.30 $90.41


One Year of Savings! February 2018

Update on February 28th, 2018: While we didn’t save quite as much in February as we did in January,  we did manage to save a grand total of $210.25!

Our February savings comes from these strategies:

  • buying sale grocery items and planning meals around those items
  • using coupons found online and in mail flyers
  • making our own basic food items (e.g., bread, vegetable broth) from scratch
  • using our rewards credit card for large purchases to get cash back (and paying off the balance immediately to avoid interest!)
  • taking advantage of free stuff!

Check out the specifics, below!

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Money-Saving Homemade Veggie Broth

In the Midwest, we’ve had an unusually cold and snowy winter. Nothing warms the house like homemade vegetable broth! Let it simmer on the stove for 45 minutes…or a few hours…your house will smell amazing, as well.

What are the advantages to making your own broth?

  • You will save loads of money! If you like to buy organic broth, it usually costs at least $2.00 for about four cups. If you make homemade broth, it will cost you virtually nothing because you are using scraps!
  • You will “recycle” all of those lovely vegetable scraps that would otherwise be composted (or worse, thrown away).
  • Homemade broth tastes much better than store-bought broth.

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Take a Break: 5 Hygge Meditations

Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus your mind on a few simple meditations in the spirit of Danish Hygge:

1. Make a hot mug of tea, coffee, or cocoa. Sit down in your favorite chair.  Wrap your hands around the cup, breath the steam in deeply. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

2. Sit near a window or (better yet!) sit outside and listen to the birds. Listen very carefully. Can you hear them talking to each other? Focus on one birdcall if you can, and listen for the response to that call. It’s amazing what you’ll notice in nature when you shut out all the other noise.

wheat and sun glenn-carstens-peters-112923

3. Find a sunny spot. Sit for a few minutes. Focus on the warmth. Think about the sun’s energy soaking into your body and energizing your cells.

succulant window pexels-photo-246425.jpeg

4. Find a plant, indoors or outdoors. Examine its leaves. Touch the leaves gently. Are they smooth? Fuzzy? Do they tickle the tips of your fingers?

tea lights pexels-photo-243125.jpeg

5. Light a candle. Sit in a comfortable position by the candle. Focus on the flame. How many different colors do you see? How is the flame moving? Is it dancing? Swaying?