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How I Saved Week 4: No Spend Challenge (Almost)

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how to save money

Each week I share how I saved money, hoping that some of these frugal ideas could be helpful to you.

Check out the Resources Page for tons of other money saving resources!

If you’ve read other How I Saved posts, feel free to skip down to the deals.

If you’re new, here’s a little background about why I share my savings…

You’d be surprised how much money you can save when you really put your mind to it. It’s the accumulation of lots of small choices and habits that dictate the path your finances take.

The money that you save might seem meaningless in small amounts, but it truly adds up. It leaves more money in your bank account that you can use to pay off debt, save for the future, or do more of what you enjoy.

I absolutely love saving money and wanted to start sharing how I save each week. Not to show off, but to hopefully demonstrate different ways to save and maybe inspire you to want to do the same.

I strive to save on groceries, eating out, clothes, gifts, gasoline, etc. You name it, and I want to save money on it.

My main motivation for saving money is to pay off our mortgage in the next 2-3 years. Every dollar saved is in honor of that goal.

We’ve paid off thousands of dollars in debt over the past couple years. Wouldn’t it feel so awesome to be completely debt free? And get to keep most of your paycheck instead of immediately sending it away to pay bills? I think so.

I thought I’d share how much I save each week by using my favorite savings formula: combining sales and coupons. Or whatever other ways I come up with to be frugal. Hopefully some of these methods can be applied to your life.

You can get caught up and read the rest of the How I Saved posts here.

Related: Flat out broke? Try these 5 tips.

Here are my savings for Week 4 – January 22-28

 

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Grocery Savings:

This is the easiest way to save money. Each week, plan your shopping trip(s) based on what’s on sale. Then combine those sales with matching coupons to get the most bang for your buck. I always aim for at least 50% savings.

Related: Use one of these 5 easy meal planning strategies to make the most of your grocery budget.

I use coupon matchup sites to plan my deals. My favorites are Kroger Krazy, Meijer Madness, and Bargains to Bounty. They make it so easy by spelling out exactly what the sale items are, and which coupons to use. Such a couponing time saver!

The absolute best place to print coupons is coupons.com. It’s where I get all my printable coupons.

Here are the deals!

This week I thought I would try to spend as very little as possible. A spending freeze challenge of sorts. I had a busy week with appointments, work, blog work, and other random things.

I find a busy week is often a good time to incorporate a ‘No Spend’ week into your month, since you’re so busy that you won’t miss shopping. I personally feel like a No Spend month is kind of unrealistic. But a week isn’t so bad.

In case you’re unsure what a ‘No Spend’ is, it’s when you commit to not spending money on nonessentials for a specific amount of time. If you find yourself spending money every single day, try just a one day No Spend to start. Then try a No Spend week or weekend.  That means no Starbucks, eating out, going to the movies, or going shopping.

No Spend rules usually allow for necessities like gas and maybe some grocery staples, but that’s it. Nothing frivolous. I try to incorporate No Spend weeks at least once every few months or so, and more often if I have a specific goal in mind.

This week I did need to buy gasoline and a few groceries, but that’s about it.

Here’s what I spent:

coupon matchups

Meijer Shopping Trip:

I skipped my weekly Meijer trip this week. I could have gotten a couple coupon deals, but none of them were spectacular. And I’m really working on editing my inclination to sometimes buy items just because I have a coupon for them.

Unless they’re free, it is still money out of pocket.

Kroger Shopping Trip:

Ditto for Kroger this week.

It’s kind of impossible to approximate how much I saved by skipping these stores. I can’t know the amount, but I know I saved 100%. : )

Aldi Shopping Trip:

Aldi is one of the most effortless ways to save money on groceries. You’re going to save 20-50% on most  items there, compared to other stores. You don’t have to wait for sales at Aldi. Some items are a little cheaper during certain seasons, but everything is always affordable.

I buy many staple items there, or whatever else I need/want that I can’t get cheaper elsewhere. For the purpose of these How I Saved posts, I’m going to estimate a 30% savings (and I think that’s being conservative). I am saving money by shopping at Aldi, so it totally counts.

This week’s Aldi haul included bread, applesauce, almond milk, apples, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, a taco seasoning packet and more.

Amount Spent: $18.33

Amount Saved (assuming 30% savings): $5.50

Related: Want some basic grocery savings ideas? Try these 5 tips.

Aldi shopping tips

I use a collapsible shopping basket like this one for my Aldi shopping.

Ibotta Savings: I didn’t have any Ibotta rebates to use this week. If you are new to Ibotta, sign up here for a $10 welcome bonus rebate.

Gasoline Savings:

About 10 minutes from my home, there’s a gas station that is always 15-20 cents cheaper than all the other ones around. When I can, I try to fill up my tank there.

On the day I was in the area, they were a full 20 cents cheaper, and the Meijer gas station across the street had matched their price! I was excited because I had a 5 cents off per gallon mPerk digital coupon. It was the perfect storm of gasoline savings.

Amount Saved: $3.75

Miscellaneous Savings:

Because I was doing a No Spend, I didn’t do any miscellaneous spending.

Amount Saved: 100%

Grand Total Savings for Week 4: $9.25

Obviously that savings doesn’t cover what I potentially saved by going on a spending freeze. But it’s a nice feeling to have the money in the bank, right where I left it. : )

Total Savings Year to Date: $245.10

You can get caught up and read the rest of my How I Saved posts here.

Check out the Resources Page for tons of other money saving resources!

What are your tricks for saving money? Have you ever tried a No Spend week or weekend?

Linking up Thrifty Thursday here.

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