In an age when many people live paycheck to paycheck, every dollar saved counts.

But people may not routinely think about all the ways they can cut expenses and make their financial lives less stressful, says Chris Heerlein, partner at REAP Financial LLC and author of Money Won’t Buy Happiness – But Time to Find It.

“You really should try to cut costs whenever possible, within reason,” Heerlein says. “For example, if you eat before you go to the movies, you are less likely to be tempted to buy popcorn, candy and drinks. In fact, if you just wait for the movie to come out on DVD, you can rent it and save a whole lot more.”

Once you begin to explore all the cost-cutting possibilities, you may be able to trim $300 or more from your monthly expenditures just by making a few quick phone calls or asking the right questions in your day-to-day dealings, Heerlein says.

Heerlein says just a few ways to do that include:

  • Ask for card a credit interest-rate reduction. If you don’t carry a balance on your credit card, then you are in good shape. But many people do carry a balance – in some cases a large balance – and that can be a killer on your monthly budget, especially if you just pay the minimum payments. Heerlein suggests calling your credit card company and asking politely for a rate reduction for a short period. “Most of them will do it if you have a good payment record,” he says. “I’ve seen companies cut the annual percentage rate in half for customers who just ask. You can also ask if they have any zero interest balance transfer offers.”
  • Reduce annual fees on credit cards. Some credit cards come with big annual fees because they provide a lot of perks. Just like the interest rates, you can call the credit card company to ask them to waive the fee or reduce it. “Of course, it helps if you have been a good customer for many years,” Heerlein says.
  • Seek lower rent. If you plan to stay in the same location for at least four or five years, you would be better off buying a home. But if you need to rent, it’s possible to negotiate how much you pay. “This is especially true with apartment complexes,” Heerlein says. “If you live in a large complex, there could be between $50 and $200 of wiggle room in your monthly rent.” When the apartment manager shows you the apartment, mention that you are looking at other apartments because that’s a bargaining chip for you, he says. An additional bargaining chip could be to offer to pre-pay a few months of rent in exchange for a reduction. “I have owned rental property, and I was always willing to do that for people,” he says.
  • Take advantage of online coupons. Heerlein says that whenever he shops online, the first thing he does is type the merchant’s name into a Google search to see if there’s a coupon code for the item he wants.

“There are plenty of other places you may be able to negotiate a price reduction, like with your cable company or your cell phone provider,” Heerlein says. “The most important thing to remember is that it never hurts to ask.”