Small Savings Add Up and Here’s The Proof

coin jar

Some people are “pound wise and penny foolish.” That is, they focus their savings efforts only on big items while letting small amounts of money slip through their fingers. Having tallied up my “penny savings” from last year, I can tell you that small amounts of money can quickly add up to big savings.

Last year I decided that I would keep track of the small amounts of money I made or saved during 2007 to determine if these “money savers” were really worth my time or if I should be focusing my time on other things. I tracked coupon savings, rebates, certain discounts, money made from online surveys, and spare change. Each category had some ground rules,


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13 Responses to Small Savings Add Up and Here’s The Proof

  1. Teri says:

    It’s true.

    I think the only issue for me is when it comes to time trade-off. I find if I have to spend an inordinate amount of time to make a few pennies, it just isn’t worth it. Particularly when I make a pretty good wage. (When I made minimum wage, obviously it would be well more worth to save a few pennies).

    For one, I was trying to do surveys, and the hassle just wasn’t worth it. $300 for the year wouldn’t have been worth the time I imagine. (For me). I could have put that effort to overtime or something far more rewarding, and avoided all the endless spam.

    Coupons, rebates, discounts, those are all usually pretty worthwhile. I mean open the paper cut a coupon, save a $1. That is easy money. Not very time consuming. & this is all stuff we do. We easily save thousands every year.

    So for the most part I agree. $2330 is no chump change!

  2. poundwise says:

    I believe more people are “penny wise and pound foolish.” They scrape pennies together, coupon, and run all over town for the best deal on deodorant, but they buy a new car, don’t bother to check rates on savings, their mortgage, car and/or home insurance; they don’t shop around for pricing on major home or auto repairs, etc. One pound mistake will wipe out a lot of penny wisdom.

    While I believe in frugality and tending to all things large and small, I prefer the “big rocks first” mentality. The idea is that you have a bucket and you have a lot of rocks to put in the bucket. If you put the small rocks in first, you may find that you can’t fit all the big rocks in. If you put the big rocks in first, then you fit the small rocks in around the big rocks.

    Pound wise is the way to be, just don’t couple it with penny foolishness.

  3. Shannon says:

    I too keep track of my savings on these types of things, and over one year I generally save almost as much as I make with freelance writing and editing 5-10 hours a week.

    The time I spend doing the tedious jobs of clipping coupons and filling out rebate forms is just as valuable to our family’s accounts as the time I spend freelancing, which is my paying job. (My full-time job, parenting, has benefits but no salary.)

  4. Ivan Cadena says:

    Something that might turn out to be useful and easy: keep track of the savings in an Excel file or the like.

    Nice post, yeah!

  5. Data Babble says:

    Very encouraging. I will start keeping track as well.

  6. viola says:

    I use my coupons whenever I can, but I nere go out of my way. I have saved HUNDREDS….and also the spare change, sometimes I have

  7. Hilary says:

    I feel like the “Spare Change” way of saving is different from the others, because unlike the first four categories (which literally let you spend less money), the “Spare Change” category just rearranges your resources(unless you are a person who usually throws change away). I have a nice change purse and I try to pay in exact change whenever I can. So, I have no spare change savings, but I have more money in my bank account because I am not breaking 20s all the time.

    Maybe I am misinterpreting this, though…

  8. Debbie M says:

    Wow! I love seeing these hard numbers. Thanks for gathering all this data and sharing.

    I’m not so good with coupons because I don’t buy much that comes with coupons, but I have taken to pouring over the coupon book at my grocery coop and sales fliers for my favorite places and local drug stores, signing up for e-mails from my favorite places, and searching online for coupons when I’m planning to buy a bigger-money item.

    Hilary, even if you discount the spare change, her total is still over $2,000. I did once keep track of change I found on the ground, but it didn’t add up to much at all.

    Most of my best savings come from just not buying stuff. It’s hard to calculate that figure!

  9. Minimum Wage says:

    A small savings here, a small savings there, it all adds up to a lot of savingses.

  10. Aleta says:

    I am impressed with your total yearly savings. That is about $194.00 a month. I remember when the IRA’s contribution was $2,000. and most of the model scenarios used and some still due the $2,000 figure.

    I think there is a difference in which big ticket items some here have commented on. A big ticket item that is paid monthly such as health, car, and life insurance by shopping around should be the first items that you try to save on. Sometimes by increasing deductibles
    alone can save one a lot of money.

    If you buy a TV for $2.000 and you won’t buy another one for 10 years or so and you’re saving $50; it isn’t worth your time to run all over town. You can price shop on the internet.

    What really stuck with me was an article that talked about the consumption items such as you were listing that you spend on everyday as a real source of spending. I try to save at least 20% on items that I purchase and more if it has a coupon.

    I enjoyed your atticle and all of the facts that you gave us.

    The question is: How much would you have to earn in order to bring that much home. I apoproximate around $3,000 in a 15% bracket and social secutity; not counting transportation costs, lunches, clothing, dry-cleaning, child care expenses, gifts at the office, and etc. There are many costs involved when one earns money.

  11. Pingback: Her year of small savings equals 3 house payments - Smart Spending

  12. Colleen says:

    The other day I got $235 worth of groceries (all food we normally use) for $93. I used a combination of store sales, store coupons and coupons from the Sunday paper. I saved $140

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