As the economic tides shift, many of us are feeling the pinch of rising inflation. From the grocery store aisles to the gas pump, prices are going up and wages often don’t keep pace. Living within budget becomes incredibly difficult during these times as budgets generally rely on expenses remaining fixed. Here are some of our tips for cutting expenses and keeping under budget during periods of inflation.
- Prioritize Needs Over Wants
Cutting back means going back to the basics. List all your expenses and categorize them into “needs” and “wants.” While it might be tough, consider cutting back on or eliminating some of the “wants” temporarily. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun, but maybe it’s opting to brew your own coffee in the morning instead of hitting the drive-thru. One smart habit is to wait 24 hours before making any non-essential purchases to help yourself determine if you really need the item or if you’re being affected by an impulsive decision.
- Shop Smart for Groceries
Food prices tend to see some of the most noticeable hikes during inflationary periods. Here’s how to keep those costs down:
- Buy in Bulk: Often, purchasing items in bulk can result in savings per unit. Superstores like Costco or Sam’s Club often feature great prices on their bulk deals.
- Use Coupons and Loyalty Programs: They might seem small, but those savings can add up over time.
- Opt for Store Brands: They’re often just as good as the brand-name versions but come at a fraction of the price.
- Plan Your Meals: This minimizes trips to lunch during the work day and ensures you’re only buying what you need.
- Monitor Your Energy Usage
Utilities are a necessity, but there are ways to reduce your electrical consumption and lower your bills.
- Unplug Unused Devices: Devices left plugged in, even if turned off, can use “phantom” energy.
- Switch to Energy-Efficient Bulbs: They last longer and use less power.
- Adjust Your Thermostat: Even a degree or two can make a significant difference over a month. Depending on the year, you can always make up the difference by layering up!
- Review Your Subscription and Memberships
From streaming platforms to gym memberships, monthly subscription-based services add up each month. Decide which services you are truly using and enjoy and consider canceling the rest. Remember, many platforms and gyms allow for easy re-subscription if you decide to return. There are even new services that can help you track and cancel any of the monthly subscriptions you’re currently paying for! One example is Rocket Money.
- Negotiate or Switch Providers
For recurring bills like cell phone, cable, or internet services, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many companies offer temporary deals for switching, and then you can always switch again once that deal expires. Sometimes, just the act of inquiring about better rates or mentioning a switch can result in discounts!
Saving is the Always the Best Bet in an Uncertain World!
Saving money may seem like a daunting challenge when expenses and costs are rising for everyone, but it truly is always the smartest decision you can make for yourself and your future.
Having funds to rely on can help shelter you through hard times. With a proactive mindset and a few adjustments to your spending habits, you can safeguard your financial well-being. Inflationary periods come and go. By cultivating resilience and adaptability, you’ll not only survive but thrive
Want to learn more? Follow the link for more information – Keep your finances on track with these budgeting articles, featuring activities focused on inflation, the 50/30/20 rule, savings, college & living costs, income & expenses, and more.