Are you using all the entitlements and deals available to you?

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Many people are deep into tax season right now so they are itemizing and calculating their amounts. As for myself, my taxes were done in March (yes, I am a nerd) but I have thinking about other ways we can reduce our expenses lately, namely the hidden things. One thing about having a husband who works from home is that he often has benefits he never uses. Since his company’s office often does events such as happy hours he also gets a certain amount of money set aside that he can use for these things as well. Of course, he never uses them because he works from home and often forgets. Here is a sampling of things he has available to him:

Gym $40 a month
$20 every 2 weeks for lunch
$50 month happy hour

That is over $100 a month in non-taxable benefits that he forgets to use. The worst part is that our family YMCA membership is $130 a month. We technically could be saving $40 on that alone if he just did the paperwork. The problem is that doing the paperwork is often a hassle. For the longest time he had a corporate credit card and didn’t have to file receipts, so the incentive to bill for these things just wasn’t there. His company just redid their corporate card policy and now he has to submit receipts for his expenses again, which means it’s no more of a hassle to submit an extra one.

So basically, for 20 minutes of paperwork we would be getting more than $100 worth of benefits. Since the YMCA membership includes all the kids sports activities (for which we also get a tax credit) and gets us deals on summer camps and birthday parties, we are coming out even more ahead. I mean sure, Mr. Tucker and I go to the gym to work out and to take classes as well but the real benefit is the kids’ activities.

$50 is also a decent night out for us, so we are foolish for not taking advantage of this considering it’s like his company is paying us to have a date night!

$20 buys more than enough pizza for a family of four!

While the point of this story is to review the things we often forget about, everyone has something in their lives they could be taking advantage of, but don’t. Some employers offer reduced public transit passes, gym memberships or other benefits that employees don’t often investigate. Your membership in a professional or an alumni association can get you lower rates on insurance, car rentals and hotels all you have to do is look into it. We currently pay 50% less on term insurance because we get it through my alumni association.

So check to see if you qualify for extra benefits and deals based on your job, school or professional associations. You may be surprised.