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Make no mistake about it; the average American consumer is being ripped off left and right by companies across the board. Since the “Great Recession,” a lot of Americans have unfortunately found themselves the victims of skyrocketing monthly expenses. Here is a quick list of eight expenses that you are more than likely paying too much for each month.

1. Gym Membership
Photo: lifehacker.comIf you are spending more than $40 a month for a gym membership, it is time to reconsider your gym. If you live in a major metropolitan area like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles, it should be relatively easily to find a chain gym that will charge anywhere between $10 to $30 a month for basic gym access.

2. Personal Training
Like gym memberships, personal training is another monthly expense that you can easily cut down to make it more affordable. Long gone are the days when a personal trainer can justify charging $70 to $100 per session. Look for online deals, group personal training sessions and classes to save money versus wasting big bucks on individualized training.

3. Car Loan
A lot of people rely on financing in order to purchase automobiles. If you find yourself in situation where your interest rate is unbelievably high and you are barely paying off the principal, consider auto loan refinancing. By doing this, you will be able to negotiate a lower interest rate.

4. College Tuition
Costs of obtaining a college degree in the last decade or so have gone up tremendously. However, with the advent of online colleges and other low-cost educational systems, students are now able to obtain a college degree for half the price. Shop around before committing to a degree program.

5. Internet
Major internet providers have literally lost their minds charging anywhere between $50 and $70 a month for high speed internet access. Although this doesn't compare to what people paid back in the 90s for dial up internet service; mobile tethering and other low-cost internet services are popping up all over the place. If you live in a large metropolitan area, look into the possibility of sharing Wi-Fi service with a neighbor.

6. Gas
Ever since Hurricane Katrina and the War in Iraq, it seems as though gas prices will not stop going up. However, you do not have to pay those extreme prices to fill up your gas tank. Some metropolitan areas like Chicago have high gas prices because of gases. Shop for gas in a different county or a nearby state that has a much cheaper gas tax rate.

7. Utilities
Utility providers like electric and gas companies for decades have monopolized and limited people's ability to choose between different providers. Many states have recently deregulated this industry and now are allowing smaller companies to offer affordable electricity and gas rates. Do not be sold into thinking you have to choose the large energy provider. Many options are out there and consumers are literally saving hundreds of dollars of month on their utility bills.

8. Airfare
Buying airline tickets can be quite expensive. If you need to fly somewhere but are being bombarded with expensive ticket choices, your best bet is to shop for airline tickets during off hours. The best time to look for tickets is at night and Tuesday through Thursday.

You should always strive to be a conscious consumer and avoid having companies take advantage of you. Money is hard to come by nowadays and we need every penny we can get our hands on!



Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.



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