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In this episode, one woman walks us through the various expenses she realized she was overpaying for, and how you can reduce these same costs in your own life.

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

This episode is sponsored by Visible. While you can already get Visible’s great service on Verizon’s 4G LTE network for $40/month for unlimited EVERYTHING, it pays to party. Click below to see how you can save even more money on your monthly bill with Visible’s Party Pay plan:

Video by Grace Lee

Written by Holly Trantham
The Financial Diet site:

Making It Work is sponsored by Visible Mobile.

Get an unlimited cell phone plan for as little as $25 a month. I've personally never been opposed to spending money.

If I know an item is really high quality and that I'll actually get used out of it, I have no problem making room for it in my budget. Back when I was flying pretty frequently, for instance, it was always worth it to me to pay a little more for a seat upgrade on a cross-country trip. However, since my husband and I set some major savings goals for ourselves about a year ago, I've been keeping meticulous track of my spending and finding areas to cut, especially those where I wouldn't notice the difference.

Here are seven things I realized I was overpaying for and how I've corrected my spending since. Number 1, my monthly metro card. I used to always get an unlimited metro card because it simply felt like the best deal.

But eventually, I started to re-evaluate whether I actually needed it in the first place, even during quote unquote normal times. An unlimited 30 day metro card for the New York City subway is $127 a month. A single ride is $2.75.

When I was riding the subway most frequently, I was going into the office about 3 days a week on average and otherwise I'd go somewhere that required public transportation about one other time per week, meaning I would take about 8 subway trips per week on average. If I'd only purchased paper ride cards, I would have spent about $94 a month on average on subway rides, a.k.a. $33 less per month than my unlimited pass. I know life isn't quite going back to normal anytime soon, but I'll definitely be sticking with my pay per ride card when I go back to riding the subway with more frequency.

Number 2, my unlimited cell phone plan. Like many millennials, I was on my parent's cell phone plan for longer than I care to admit. Not because it's embarrassing to be on the same plan as your family, as long as you're paying what you owe, who cares?

But because it was definitely not the best coverage in my area. So I finally switched to my own unlimited data plan and I was paying about $75 a month. I thought paying a lot for an unlimited data plan was just a fact of life.

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Number 3, dry cleaning. I used to let my dry clean only clothes pile up for months before actually taking a load to the cleaners, partly because not having a car makes this a very annoying endeavor, and because it was so annoying how expensive it was to dry clean anything in my expensive city. Even when I only took a handful of shirts, I'd walk away with a $30 or $40 bill.

When I found out about at home dry cleaning sheets, it was a total game changer. I can run a load of five to six items in the dryer and it comes out to about $5 per load. Over the course of the year, that's easily $100 saved for me.

I'll still take items to the cleaners for deep cleaning when necessary, but the dry cleaning sheets work perfectly for everyday maintenance. Number 4, mascara. At some point, I found out that you just shouldn't keep mascara longer than three months I've always thought mascara was one of those worth it makeup items to splurge on.

But when you know you're going to have to toss something after just a few months, maybe even before you've used it all up, you start to think about it differently. I'm now an $8 L'Oreal mascara loyalist after having purchased $25 Laura Mercier ones four years. And I haven't looked back since making the switch.

Number 5, bank fees. I stayed with the first think I ever got an account with for years because making a change felt annoying and pointless. But I was constantly being hit with fees, from a minimum balance fee to regular ATM fees, to, yes, an occasional overdraft fee.

I finally made the switch to an online only bank that has way fewer fees, and it's made my banking not only more affordable but so much simpler. No more having to call a representative to challenge yet another fee I didn't know about. Number 6, allergy medication.

Like anyone with seasonal allergies, I take an over-the-counter antihistamine pretty regularly, which can easily cost over $30 a month for a name brand medication. I started switching to the generic version at the drugstore, which, depending on the store, I can sometimes find for half the price. I just make sure to find the correct dosage I'm looking for and I truly cannot tell the difference.

The FDA even requires generic medications to be just as effective as their name brand counterparts. Number 7, books subscriptions. I'm a pretty avid reader and it's really important to me to support authors and local bookstores I love.

So when COVID hit and started immediately taking a toll on small businesses, I signed up for three different book delivery subscriptions with different independent bookstores I like. Every month, I get several different new books delivered at a slight discount and feel good about supporting these stores. However, that was adding up to $50 to $60 a month for books I didn't even take out myself and most of which I still have not touched.

I think it's wonderful for independent bookstores to offer these types of subscriptions, but I'm way too picky of a reader for them to be a good option for me. I've gone back to supporting booksellers by preordering books I actually know I want to own. Again, I would never advocate for cutting any and all spending that's worth it to you just because it's "extra", but by regularly taking stock of my spending, I can make sure I'm making the most of my money and staying on track towards my goals.

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