Learn just how much inflation is really costing you each month, and discover what you can do to help reduce that amount.
In some way or another, rampant inflation in the United States is hurting every citizen. Whether it is presenting just a minor inconvenience or has massively disrupted your life and budget, inflation’s presence is prevalent. Moody Analytics put out a lengthy report that revealed that, on average, inflation is costing US households at least $300 extra per month. That figure can be debilitating for families living on a tight budget or paycheck to paycheck. That staggering statistic is coupled with the fact that a potential recessionary period is looking more and more plausible with every passing week. Thus, it has become more important than ever to find ways to save money and cut costs amid all this economic turmoil that is percolating across the nation. Thankfully, there are various strategies that one can employ to preserve their quality of life during this time of fiscal strain and uncertainty.
HOW TO SAVE ON FOOD
Food has been one of the biggest sectors of commerce to be battered by inflation’s relentless effects. NBC reported that on average, food prices across the board have risen by an unfathomable 8.5%. This figure is even higher for products like dairy and poultry due to additional mitigating factors presented by a widespread avian flu outbreak. Needless to say, cutting costs on your grocery bill where possible is exceedingly advantageous at the moment.
The easiest way to start saving money on your grocery bill is to simply make sure that you’re not buying any more than you need to on any given visit. A great way to ensure this is to take time out to plan ahead. For instance, if you know you shop for groceries every week make a list of meals and snacks that you want to make that week. Write out a list of ingredients that you will need throughout the week and stick to buying only those items. By doing this, you’ll likely see a reduction in your monthly food output. An added benefit, a strategy such as this also helps to reduce the amount of food that you have to throw out because it spoiled before you could use it.
Another great strategy to rely on when you’re trying to save money on food amid soaring inflation is to not shy away from purchasing store brands. Consumer reports detailed that store-branded food items are typically about 25% cheaper than a comparable name brand. And, oftentimes store brands are of equal or better quality. For example, regional grocery giant Wegmans sells its quarts of organic chicken broth for $1.99, whereas name brand Swanson sells its non-organic variety for approximately $2.50. A savings of 50 cents can add up fast, especially when combined with additional savings garnered from purchasing other store-branded items.
HOW TO SAVE ON GAS
In a market where the national average for gas is $4.62 and climbing daily, any little bit of savings helps. To ensure that you’re always paying as little as possible at the pump, it’s favorable to always keep some cash on hand. This is because many gas stations will charge less money for those paying in cash. Even a few cents difference adds up, especially given how high gas prices are at present.
Leveraging convenient technology can also help you save a few cents per gallon at the pump. Many apps nowadays can pinpoint the gas stations near you with the cheapest prices. Some apps with this functionality to check out are GasBuddy, Gas Guru, and Waze. It’s also an advantageous idea to make sure you are employing effective strategies to make your gas last as long as possible.
HOW TO SAVE ON RECREATION
Even in a period marred by inflation, it’s important to take time out to enjoy life. This is especially true following the years-long pandemic that the world is still in the process of emerging from. However, with airfare prices currently out of sight and the aforementioned gas prices crashing through another gas ceiling on a daily basis, it’s not exactly the easiest time to prioritize recreation. That being said, there are things you can do to bring the cost of enjoying your leisure time down. First, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. If you know you are intending on taking a big trip, book it as far ahead as possible. The further out you pay for things such as plane tickets, the easier it will be to find more affordable prices.
On the flip side, forgoing the big trip and staying closer to home is also a good idea in a grossly inflated market. Take time to research your local area. Look for festivals and activities close by. Or, perhaps take time to visit your area’s flora and fauna. You might find that you live near one of the nation’s premier hiking or camping spots. You may even discover that you live close to the breathtaking beauty found inside one of the United States’ sweeping national parks. All of these activities can prove to be both memorable and exceedingly cost-effective.
Ultimately, in an economy plagued by intense inflation, there are many things that lie beyond what any one individual or family can control. However, there are small, simple strategies that one can exercise to make the duration of the period more livable. From opting to purchase store-branded food to vacationing closer to home to using cash instead of a card at the pump, even a tiny change can end up making a measurable difference in your day-to-day life.