I don’t know about you, but I feel the weakness of this economy each time I pump a tank of gas or visit the grocery store.  Prices are rising and unfortunately, wages aren’t rising to keep up.  Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t a desirable way of life and making more money might not be an option.  So, in times like this, we must figure out how to save money.

A couple of months ago, I took a look at my spending and managed to cut out $100 worth of things I could live without.

1. Cancel unneeded subscription services.  Lots of subscription services make money from people who pay but don’t actually use the service.  A few months ago that was me.  I cancelled a credit monitoring service – $12 – and movie subscription service – $22 – and saved $34 a month.

2. Reduce your cable options.  I was also paying for HBO and Cinemax – $26.  I love movies, but I’ve been watching tv a lot less during these summer months, so I cut out the premium channels for awhile.

3. Reduce insurance costs.  Make sure you have the right insurance coverage.  I was able to save $16 between renter’s and car insurance by reducing coverage and asking for discounts.  You can also increase your deductible to decrease your monthly rate.  If you end up with a higher deductible, make sure you have that amount tucked away in your emergency fund.

4. Change your rate plan or get rid of the cell phone all together.  Make sure you’re getting the best use of your cell phone rate plan.  If you’re constantly paying for overages, you either need to talk less or increase your minute plan.  Or, if you always have minutes left over, go to a lower plan.  You can also stop buying features like ringtones and wallpapers.  If you have a landline phone and a cell phone, get rid of one of them.

5. Cook more.  By that I mean, cook more frequently (rather than going out) and cook enough to have leftovers.  It’s been proven that cooking your own meals costs a lot less per month than eating out everyday.  You can eat the leftovers the next day for dinner or pack them in your lunch.  One-dish meals like casseroles, soups, spaghetti, and lasagna are easy to make in large quantities.

6. Buy store brand ingredients.  When you’ll be mixing ingredients together to make a dish, you won’t notice a difference between a store brand and premium brand.  For example, the next time you make lasagna – use store brand noodles, ricotta cheese, and eggs.  You can even experiment with store brand sauce if you have seasonings to fix it up.

7. Drive smart.  When the price of regular gas is reaching $4.30/gallon in some places, saving on gas will certainly help.  Drive during the times of day with the least amount of traffic.  This will cut down on the stop and go that burns gas.  When you’re driving longer distances, set your cruise control to 65 or 70 to stop yourself from accelerating and decelerating too much.

Those are my tips.  What are you doing to save money these days?