Is inflation biting you in the bottom line? With prices at a 40-year high, you’re likely looking for ways to fight back financially. In this blog, you will learn some of the basics of inflation along with 5 ways to busts the harsh blows to your budget.
What causes inflation?
Inflation is caused by many factors. Low levels of inflation are typically just a normal part of the economy. However, high levels of inflation, like the ones we are seeing now, are not necessarily part of the plan. The recent pandemic, supply chain issues, high demand on products versus a low inventory, money supply, the rising costs to produce goods and services, and other factors, may all play a role.
Will inflation prices go down?
Perhaps. But don’t bet your pocketbook on it. While some of the high costs may eventually smooth out, it is unlikely that the prices will drop to the exact level we saw several years ago. With this in mind, it’s important to reevaluate your budget and spending habits sooner rather than later.
What can I do about the rising cost?
As consumers, we may not be able to control the prices on the shelves; but we can control our buying behavior. The following 5 inflation busters may be able to help.
1. Revisit your budget
Even if you had your numbers down to a science in the past, the higher costs of, well… just about everything, means that your budget will likely need a reboot. One of the best ways you can fight back on inflation, is to go back to the drawing board and revisit your budget. To begin, write down each dollar your household brings in monthly (aka your net income). Next, list out all of your fixed monthly bills. These are the items that you must pay, such as your mortgage/rent, utilities, car payment, credit card bills etc. Once these are added, slot in the items that are necessary but could have a little wiggle room. A great example of this would be your grocery bill. Lastly, write down all of your expenses that are nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. Examples of this could be things like new clothing, entertainment – and yes, all of those impulse internet purchases. Cross check your list with last month’s receipts, bank statement, and/or credit card charges to make sure you account for every dollar you spend. To find out whether or not you need to make changes, add up everything you have in your expense section and subtract that number from the amount of income you bring in each month. If you’re spending more than your are bringing in, you’ll need to take action with tip #2.
2. Cut unnecessary spending
Here’s where the savings start to come in. Take a close look at your new budget. Do you see any areas in your expense column that could use a trim? Sure, new clothes, going to the movies, or even a gym membership are great. But if you’re running short on cash, these items may need to be put on a hold for while. Instead of shopping new, consider a friend swap. There are also several groups on social media where neighbors give away gently used clothes, furniture, and more likely near you. A quick search online could help you find tons of items for super cheap. Another way to trim expenses is to trade in those movie tickets for a friends style experience at home – equipped with sharable snacks of course. And while it’s important to stay healthy, that doesn’t mean you have a break the bank to get in a workout. A run outside paired with some online workout videos could also do the trick. Whatever you’re into, if you get creative, you could help minimize costs and fight inflation.
3. Renegotiate your bills
Items such as your internet, cell phone bill, and utilities, may not be able to be cut completely. But you might be able to negotiate them for a lower rate. To begin, call each provider to ask about any new deals or specials they may offer. If this isn’t an option, shop around to see if you can a find a lower rate with a different company. If the pros to move outweigh the cons to cancel, you might want to consider a switch. Many service providers also offer discounted rates for low-income households. So if you’re going through a financial hardship, or are just having a tough time making ends meet, be sure to tell your provider to see if you qualify.
4. Change the way to you eat
Before you have meal meltdown, we’re not telling anyone to give up the things they love. However, if you make some small adjustments to the way you eat and the types of dinners you make, you can really stretch your dollars at the grocery. For example, the cost of meat is obviously high right now. By swapping your main dish out for a vegetarian night, even for just a day or two each week, you could save some cash. Additionally, making larger meals such as soups, casseroles, or pot pie dishes could help you bust the impact of inflation. Shopping sales, using coupons, and going generic are also good money saving staples.
5. Go down to one vehicle
If you or someone in your household now works hybrid or remote, you may want to consider going down to one vehicle. Used cars, trucks, and SUVs are selling for the top dollar these days. And if it’s possible to take turns or use public transportation, going down to one vehicle is a great way to get cash now. Becoming a one vehicle household will also saving you money on gas, maintenance, and even payments if you still owe.
How will inflation impact my credit?
Inflation alone will not have a direct impact on your credit. However, your financial behavior during an inflation period, might. If you are charging more and carrying a high balance – or if you are missing payments, you will likely see a drop in your scores. Alternatively, if you follow the inflation buster tips above and practice responsible financial activity, your scores will be less likely to take a hit. For more ways to manage your credit, especially with high inflation in the mix, click below to access your $0 score.
Disclaimer: The content above is general in nature and is not a comprehensive list of the many factors that could impact inflation, saving money, or your credit. Always be sure to do your own research on which financial strategies are right for you.
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