The New Year tends to bring added financial stress. Credit card bills from holiday spending need to be paid, your first property tax bill is due and it’s time to file your tax return.

There are many expenses we can’t ignore, but if you take a really hard look at your expenses you may be surprised to learn how you find an extra $500 per month that you could be putting back into your pocket.

“Get rid of all the just five bucks, just 20 bucks, just 100 bucks,” said one woman CTV News stopped to talk to in downtown Vancouver.

Tea Nicola of Wealthbar agrees.

“Survey audit all of your last three months of credit cards and accounts and find for things repeated that you’re not using,” Nicola advised.

She recommends you track everything you spend and take a close look at recurring charges on your credit card that may be obsolete.

“Things like old subscriptions that are lingering on the credit card. There might be $5 here $10 here but they add up over time,” she said.

You can also start with other obvious things like your daily latte at work. Cut out just one a week and you could save $20 a month.

Did you know that Canadians are on track to spend more than ever before on dining out?  

The average family spends about $300 per month. Try cutting that in half. That’s an extra $150 for your savings account.

There are many ways to save on your electrical bill too.  BC Hydro has some advice about how to cut $500 per year - or $41 per month.

Check your cable and internet package. You may find you’re not watching the channels that you’re paying for. Change your package and save up to $20 per month.

If you have a mortgage, talk to your lender about restructuring it – perhaps with bi-weekly payments. On a $400,000 mortgage, accelerating payments could save about $71 a month over the life of the mortgage.

Or how about trimming your grocery budget? The average Canadian spends about $500 a month. There are many food plans that could easily cut that in half putting an extra $250 into your pocket.

That brings our total savings to $552 a month.  And if you still want to find more, trying looking around the house. You might be surprised how much old stuff you could find to sell.

It’s amazing to learn what you can live without, once you get into the habit. It just takes getting started and having the discipline to see it through.

“Believe that there’s financial security and freedom on the other side and stick with it,” said Nicola.

If you find your bills are more than you can handle, it might be time to reach out for help and seek out a professional advice to help manage your bills or to consolidate your bills.  There are many credit counselling services that offer that and financial planners too.

However, the Consumer Financial Agency of Canada has plenty of free online tools that can help you get there on your own.