This year is all about saving money every day while trying to increase your income potential. If you did one thing each day that could save as little as $5 over the course of a year, you could have an extra $1800 in your pocket at the end of the year. Not all of these tips may apply to you, so to keep it fair, not all of them will apply to me.

When I moved into my first apartment, my grandmother told me not to worry, she was taking care of my kitchen. Frankly, I was relieved because putting together a kitchen can be ridiculously expensive the first time around. The box arrived and I was honestly not sure what to do with it all. There were bowls, plates, dishes, drinking glasses, wine glasses, silverware/utility trays with every utility known to man. When I peeled off the stickers on the bottom of the plates I realized…I had a “Dollar Store” kitchen.

My grandmother is not impoverished by any means, so I was a little confused by her fascination with the Dollar Store. (I had only been in one a couple times.) Then I did the math. I had a fully outfitted kitchen for $37. She also went to the commissary with my grandpa, and they got me a gorgeous Revere ware copper bottom cookset for half price. For around $80 I had a fully functional high quality kitchen and a great lesson: Spending as little money as possible on the less significant things (plates and glasses that I would inevitably break) allowed for the purchase of what was important (the higher quality cookware).

The real key to making a good purchase at the “dollar” store or other discount retailers is being aware of quality over name. For plates, does it say it is dishwasher/oven/microwave safe? Are there any chips or signs of poor quality? Can you get matching sets? More availability means more choices for quality. (Also: You might go to Ross or TJ Maxx instead to get a name brand you’re comfortable with. A 16-piece set for under $20 is near equivalent to “Dollar Store” pricing.)

Eight years later I still have half the utility items, and the trays. Whe I upgraded to my wedding set, we sold the dollar store set for almost what my grandma paid for it. It was a great starter set, and allowed me to replace things as other things fell apart. It was also such a wonderful gift.

Shopping sensibly at dollar/99 cent stores can really stretch your budget. Between party items, first aid supplies, plates, and sometimes even food, you can certainly save at least $10 each year.

365 Days of Saving Money: $2502 Annually (Running Total)