If one of your goals for the new year is to find ways to reduce expenses, keep reading. I have a few methods that will really help you get your expenses under control. Whether your goal is to save for a large expense like a vacation, your child’s college education, or your retirement, it’s important to plan ahead. You’ll want to start saving as early as possible and save small amounts. It’s easier to do this over a long period of time rather than trying to save a large amount of money all at once.

Before we work on reducing expenses, it’s key to know your starting point. Spend the next 30 days writing down everything you spend your money on, or download your latest bank statement and go through it line by line. You may think that you know where your money is being spent, but you may find some surprises. A few dollars here and there can really add up. Once you have a firm idea of where your money is going, here are 5 ways to reduce expenses.

Eliminate your subscriptions whenever possible. Do you have magazine subscriptions, premium television channels, gourmet food boxes, gadget of the month clubs, or newspaper subscriptions that you can eliminate? Try canceling them for at least a year to see if you really can do without them.

Commit to not eating out or purchasing prepared food. This can include your latte on the way to work in the morning, the sandwich you buy at the cafeteria at work, or the prepared wings or rotisserie chicken you buy at the deli at the grocery store. Making your food at home, from scratch, is a fantastic way to save money on your expenses.

Don’t buy new while you’re trying to save. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy. It just means you should check second-hand stores for clothes, get books and movies from your local library, and rent tools you only need for a day, rather than buying them new. While this step may not be possible 100% of the time, it will work enough to help you save money when you need to.

Depending on your lifestyle, reducing your grooming expenses may help you save quite a bit. This can include things like haircuts and colors, manicures and pedicures, your gym membership you use for the sauna or spa, or the types of health and beauty products you buy at the store.

Consider downgrading the services that you pay for. Can you lower your cell phone plan rate by cutting back? Can you raise your deductible on your health or auto insurance? If you have a landscaper or cleaning service, can you cut back the number of times they visit?

By taking a look at all your expenses, you should be able to find a number of ways to cut back to save.