Inflation is increasingly putting financial pressure on US households across the country. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers are currently paying 6% more for goods and services compared to in March 2022.
Paying for basic necessities such as housing costs, food bills, energy and transportation is therefore becoming increasingly challenging, especially for those in low-income households. It is not surprising that many have had to turn to the likes of cash advances and installment loans to survive. With this in mind, Pheabs presents 5 easy tips and tricks on how to fight inflation and save money during this turbulent period.
5 Easy Ways To Save Money
1. Reduce Grocery Costs
With food costs 9.5% higher in February 2023 than in February 2022, you may find your grocery costs have risen significantly over the past year. It is therefore beneficial to create a meal plan before heading to the store to ensure that you only buy the food that you need. Not only will this reduce wastage, but it will also prevent you from overspending on goods that do not get used.
Preparing the food in advance and making sure you have food ready to eat will also stop you from ordering take out which can be costly. You can also consider taking your prepared meals into work so that you can avoid spending unnecessary money in restaurants or cafes.
Choosing cost-effective foods through low-cost staples such as rice, potatoes and pasta, as well as frozen vegetables and fruit, will help to keep you full and ensure your bank balance remains happy. Look to swap branded products for the supermarket’s generic version as this should lead to significant cost reductions without a major difference in quality or taste of the product.
It is also worth shopping around to work out where you can buy your groceries at the cheapest prices. Some stores may offer loyalty promotion cards or coupons which can help you save extra dollars in no time.
2. Cut Your Household Bills
There are many easy ways you can look to save on your household bills. Reducing your energy consumption is one of them. By making simple switches, you may see your energy bills significantly go down in price.
Having a shower instead of a bath and turning off the tap whilst you brush your teeth are two simple examples of ways to save money. You should also turn off the lights or television when you leave a room. If you live in a particularly hot climate, consider planting a big tree over your house to create more shade in the summer months so that you do not need to use a fan or air conditioning as much.
You should also consider canceling or pausing any TV subscriptions that you rarely use. Subscription costs can certainly add up, so cutting back on channels you do not use will save you some extra dollars.
3. Save Money On Transport
With gas prices surging, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize your transportation costs. Limiting your driving as much as possible or car pooling will certainly help to reduce your fuel costs. You can also empty your boot to reduce drag and keep extras such as the radio or air conditioning off unless you really need it.
Your local gas station may offer coupons or gas reward cards so keep an eye out for this and make the most of any opportunities that come your way. It may also be worth investing in a bicycle as although you would have to outlay money for this, in the long run using it to get around to nearby locations would offer free transportation. If you do not like cycling, walking will not cost you anything or using public transportation may even work out more cost effective than driving.
4. Be Organized
With prices increasing, being organized and planning ahead will certainly stand you in good stead. For instance, booking a vacation at least 6 to 9 months in advance will mean that you should get much cheaper rates than if you book a few weeks before. Or alternatively, you could do research and find a staycation that offers the same perks at a much more affordable rate.
Likewise, if you know you are going to need to purchase a product within the next 6 months, keep an eye on it online and wait to see if any discount codes appear so that you can buy the item at the best rate. You could also consider waiting till well known dates such as Black Friday or Boxing Day which are known for big price reductions.
5. Budget Carefully
Budgeting effectively and monitoring your spending habits will help you to combat the negative effects of inflation. This way if you notice price increases, you can tighten your budget and spend accordingly.
Track your expenditure by noting it down in a spreadsheet or you could use a budgeting app. This way you will be able to see if you are spending too much or sticking to your budget accordingly. In turn, you can then use this to adapt your purchasing rate if need be to make sure you are not living beyond your means. For instance, you might spot a gym membership subscription which you rarely use and can replace with walking to nearby places, which would also save you money on fuel at the same time.
Being savvy with your savings will also help you to fight inflation. For instance, you can put your spare money into a high interest savings account or you can look at stable investments to help combat inflationary spending.
With rising prices making basic costs such as food, energy, transportation, vacations and housing increasingly expensive, now more than ever it is important to be savvy to fight inflationary pressures. Creating a budget and monitoring it carefully, and making some simple changes to your lifestyle should stand you in good stead for a positive financial future.