Boot these cash-gobbling costs out of your life to free up more money each month.

3 minute read

When money is tight, it’s easy to focus on big monthly expenses like rent or mortgage payments, insurance, car payments, childcare and food. After all, that’s where most of your money goes, right? But you could also be spending a lot of money on expenses that aren’t necessary or that you could buy for a lower cost.

If you’re looking to get your finances in shape in 2022, you can start by eliminating these six expenses that chip away at your bank account balance or run up your credit card bill.

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1. Unused gym memberships

Depending on your fitness goals, paying $50 to $100 a month for a gym membership can be money well spent. However, if you signed up for a gym membership months or years ago, only to visit a few times and eventually abandon your gym routine, that money is trickling away like shampoo down a post-workout shower drain.

If you’re not benefiting from your fitness center membership, it’s time to either start using it or cancel the unnecessary monthly charge. You can always take daily walks or stream free fitness workouts to stay in shape.

Find out: How to Save Money on a Gym Membership

2. Dining out all the time

We all like to go out to eat or indulge in a tasty takeout dish here and there, but if all your meals come from restaurants, you’re spending a huge chunk of money on food every month. You could commit to never dining out, but that’s not realistic. You’ll just end up coming home with three family-size pizzas one night to make up for feeling deprived.

Preparing most of your meals at home and taking lunch to work a few days a week can free up at least a couple hundred dollars a month. Hate to cook? You don’t have to. Check out the prepared meals and sides, along with frozen foods at the grocery store to make mealtime easy while still saving money.

Find out: How Doing a Weekly Food Prep Can Save Money on Dining Out

3. Cable TV

With so many streaming subscriptions available, do you really need all those cable channels and the big bill that comes with them? Probably not. If you subscribe to a few streaming channels instead, you can easily stay under $50 total for TV entertainment.

Find out: 60 Creative and Simple Ways to Save Money

4. Forgotten subscriptions

Around 60 percent of respondents to a 2021 Chase survey said they’ve forgotten about at least one recurring payment in the last year. And 70 percent told Chase they waste more than $50 a month on recurring payments for services they no longer need.

You may also have a few recurring subscription payments that you signed up for long ago, didn’t use, and now you’ve forgotten all about them. But just because they’ve slipped your mind doesn’t mean you’re not still getting billed every month.

Take a look at your monthly credit card bills and debit card charges to find out if you’re paying for subscriptions you don’t use. Then cancel them to free up more money each month.

Find out: How to Save Money on These 10 Things You Can Get for Free

5. Full price items

You may get so excited while shopping that you happily shell out a payment for the full price on clothing, electronics, furniture, appliances and other items. But if you wait until things go on sale, comparison shop and check out the sale and clearance items online or in the store, you’ll often find a better deal than the cost of the full-price item.

If you’re shopping at a major retailer without price-matching items on the store’s website before you purchase, you’re probably paying too much. Always look up store items on the retailer’s website before you buy. If the price on the site is lower, many retailers — Target, Walmart, Office Depot and Walgreens, for example — will match the online price if you inform the cashier.

Find out: 10 Ways to Reduce Expenses So You Can Pay Down Debt

6. Unnecessary fees

You may not think much about paying $3 to $5 in fees every time you withdraw cash from an ATM owned by a bank where you don’t have an account. But if you use non-network ATMs all the time, you could blow through a lot of money without even realizing it. The same goes for credit card cash advance fees and late payment fees.

To rid your life of these unnecessary fees, use your bank’s ATM to withdraw enough cash for the week. That way, you won’t have to hit up another bank’s ATM and pay extra fees. As for cash advances, try to avoid them altogether. When you get a cash advance, you’ll usually pay not only a cash advance fee but also higher interest than you’d pay on a regular transaction.

Find out: Credit Card Fees and How to Avoid Them

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC