It has been an expensive year. Consumer prices rose an average of more than six percent between October 2020 and October 2021, making it tougher to stretch your dollar. It's all due to a word you keep hearing about in the news: inflation. Inflation, in basic terms, is when the price of everything consumers buy goes up, things like food, housing, fuel, clothing, and more, resulting in people having less buying power with their money.
But there are steps you can take to fight inflation. Here are five ways to ease the sting of those rising prices:
1. Go meatless. Have you seen the prices on steak these days? Meat prices rose an astounding 20 percent from October 2020 to October 2021. Pork costs are 14 percent more expensive this year than last. So even one meatless meal a week will help your budget. Better yet, cook a little more of your meatless meal and freeze it. It will cut your food costs even further.
2. Get a raise. This is a good time to review your accomplishments, especially now that work has likely returned to something closer to normal, then present a proposal for a salary increase. Even if the answer is no, present other options, such as more time off, which reduces gas expenses, or the ability to work from home a day or two a week. This can save money on gas, car wear and tear, and clothing. After the pandemic, the concept of a hybrid work schedule has been easier for many businesses to adopt.
3. Find a side gig. Can you fix things? Offer your skills as a handyperson. Good at writing and organizational skills? Help people fine-tune their resumes. Good at spotting valuables at thrift shops? Consider "flipping" collectibles or furniture you find for a profit. Check out YouTube for ideas and how to get started flipping your finds.
4. Rent out a room. If you have a spare room, especially one with a bathroom, renting it out even just for one semester to a college student can pad your pocketbook during challenging times. Offering a reasonable rent might save the student money as well. If you have an extra garage space, you could also rent that out as well to someone who needs short-term storage for their auto.
5. Keep your car in good shape. It's a tough time to buy cars, used or new, or to rent or lease. Maintaining regular service visits can keep your current vehicle on the road longer, which is a great saver these days.
And a bonus tip: Use your time wisely. By paying your bills on time and paring down your debt, you can improve your credit score. A lower credit score can reduce your interest rates. When it's time for you to finance a car purchase, you'll end up paying less for your automobile, which is money in your pocket!
Our Money Management Planner can help you budget for your changing needs. This 12-page workbook will guide you through the process of creating a budget and spending plan that works for the life you have today. Download your free copy to get started.
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