CC Image courtesy of Treehugger on Flickr

If you’re like me, there isn’t one giant, glaring unnecessary expense in your budget that you can simply eliminate and save big bucks each month. Rather, saving money comes from chipping away at lower dollar amounts that have managed to increase over time. Admittedly, it’s much less satisfying to dock yourself $10 for eating out here or $20 for groceries there in order to save money. However, for many of us these types of adjustments are a necessary part of making sure you’re living within your means and saving the most you can, considering your income and expenses. Here are a few areas a lot of people over look, and ways to cut back that you may not have thought about.

Check your autopayments

No, not the payments you make on your car (though you SHOULD be checking those, and re-evaluating your need for a new car, but that’s a whole other post!). Check your bank account for recurring withdrawals that you may have forgotten about. Maybe you signed up for a magazine that you don’t read, or maybe you have a computer backup system you’re paying for when you could be utilizing a free version. Go through your online statements and look for these types of debits. Generally they’re not much – maybe $5-10 – and by themselves wouldn’t seem worth the hassle of investigating. But if you have a few such expenses, you could knock of upwards of $50 from your monthly spending.

Government Services

Utilize free resources. Why buy books when you can use the library? Even if you’re an e-reader person there’s a pilot program with the New York Public Library allowing books to be “checked out” to e-readers, and many classics are available for free on devices like the Kindle. If you’re starting a business or need help finding housing there are often resources in your city or county available to you for free. In terms of entertainment, find out when free concerts are being offered, or free museum days. Almost all cities have programs such as these which help residents experience the area without doling out much cash, if any. Your taxes support these endeavors, so might as well take advantage! 

Gym Memberships

It’s obvious that if you’re not using your gym, you should cancel your membership. But even if you are, there are often cheaper ways to get a similar workout. The YMCA usually has inexpensive memberships with reduced rates for students, and some operate on a sliding scale depending on income. Watch for promotions, too. Gyms will sometimes greatly reduce your payments if you pay for a month or a year at a time. And there’s always the home workout option – check out the myriad of fitness apps and podcasts which will make you sweat but are cheap or free.

With a little bit of creativity, you can get a handle on expenses that can add up to big savings!

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