Saving is on everyone’s mind these days. Here are a few ways that you can keep a little more cash in your pocket this spring:
1. Consider Carpools
According to data from AAA, commuters paid an average of 54 cents for every mile driven in 2008. So if you’re driving 10 miles to and from work five days a week, you may spend as much as $108 each month and $1,296 annually.
Recruiting another body to share the commute through carpooling can cut your costs by as much as half.
"As far as operating that car goes, you’ll only have to pay half of what it would take to run the car on your own,” says Jeff Arendt, a research scientist for the Texas Transportation Institute.
2. Fight Your Monthly Fees
Consumers can put more money in their wallets by shopping for better rates on credit cards, says Don Humphreys, president of Harrington Park, N.J.-based Voyager Wealth Management LLC.
“If you have a card that you’re paying one fee on, you can always find another with lower fees,” Humphreys says. “If you do a little comparison shopping, you could find one with lower fees and potentially cut up that MasterCard that you’re using now.”
Keep in mind that you’ll have to do a little bit of homework in order to make a well-informed decision. Study the terms and conditions for any card you consider.
3. Get Physical for Less
Cutting your gym membership can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Instead, use the exercise facilities at your local park or community center. Although some facilities, such as recreation centers operated by the New York City Parks Department, can run you $75 per year, others, such as the McFarland County Community Fitness Center in McFarland, Wis., charge $1 per visit.
Many cities allow you to search for parks with exercise areas through their web sites. For example, online you can find a facility in Louisville with a full gym, or a facility with a pool in Chicago.
4. Find Free Entertainment
Sometimes the best things in life are free (or at least low cost). If you don’t want to shell out big bucks for a good time, you can check out a free performance of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, listen to some music at the Spring Starlight Concert in the Park Series in Chandler, Ariz,. or catch the Fountain of Rings Show in Atlanta, Ga.’s Centennial Olympic Park.
You are going to have to do a little searching to find free or low-cost entertainment, but you can always find a show in the “Weekend” section of your local paper or by searching for free events in your town on Google (Stock Quote: GOOG).
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