With the inflation rate hitting a 40-year high, consumers are looking for ways to manage rising costs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s main inflation gauge, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose a significant 7.5 percent in January from a year earlier. Increases in the indexes for food, energy, and shelter were among the largest contributors to the increase.
Prices have skyrocketed in the past year or so due to an influx of cash into consumers’ pockets that resulted in surging demand. This coupled with COVID-related delays in the supply chain caused a perfect storm for inflation. For many of us, meeting these rising costs means careful review and revision of our monthly budgets.
6 ways to manage rising costs
1 Use the GasBuddy app to help you save at the pump
Gas prices seem to be increasing every day. The GasBuddy app provides real-time gas price information at 150,000 + stations across the county, in addition to offering cashback rewards on purchases with brand partners and through the Pay with GasBuddy payments card. As a result of its real-time pricing information, GasBuddy shows you where to find the cheapest gas near you. While GasBuddy seems to be the most popular, other apps can help you save at the pump as well. A few others to consider include Gas Guru, Waze, and AAA TripTik Travel Planner.
2 Focus on money-saving grocery tips
I’ve noticed my grocery bill has been increasing each week. If you’re in a similar bind, here are a few things that may help.
- Eat breakfast at home, rather than hitting the drive-through on your way to work.
- Plan your meals in advance of shopping and buy only the items on your list.
- Buy store brands, rather than national brands.
- Buy in bulk when it’s more cost-effective.
- Stock up when there are sales on your favorite items.
- Compare prices between your regular grocer and other discount stores.
- Start couponing. Check out coupon.com for a selection of digital and print coupons.
- Use a rebate or cashback app. Dosh, Fetch Rewards, and Ibotta are just a few examples.
- Sign up for a grocery store loyalty program.
3 Evaluate telecom, cable & internet providers
Cutting unnecessary services, as well as bundling services, are the best ways to save on your telecom, cable, and internet services bill. This may mean consolidating services under one provider. In addition, you can also look into reducing your internet speed. While many internet providers are taking high speed to the next level, it may be something you just don’t need and shouldn’t have to pay for. If you’re already taking advantage of streaming services, it may be time to cut the cord on cable. Even though prices have been rising for streaming services, trimming your cable costs can still help your overall budget. Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate pricing with your telecom and internet providers to help manage rising costs.
4 Refinance and save with a debt consolidation loan
Debt consolidation can be an effective way to meet the financial demands of inflation. Consolidating multiple credit card debts into a low-rate balance transfer credit card can help you pay down high balances and save on interest. If you have outstanding loan debt, you might want to consider refinancing for a lower rate or applying for a debt consolidation loan. Check out the options at Choice One Community Credit Union to help you refinance and save. Similarly, balance transfer credit cards and debt consolidation loans can help you streamline your bill payments and focus on one easy-to-track payment.
5 Build Savings
Although you may be struggling to meet rising costs, it’s still important to allocate a portion of your budget to savings. Likewise, building an emergency fund in times like this is still important to overall financial health.
6 Consider a side hustle
A side hustle or side job can provide a great opportunity for increasing your income to help better meet the demands of rising costs. Choosing a side hustle that you’re not only passionate about and talented at but can also monetize is an important first step. Think dog walking, driving for DoorDash or Uber, renting your home out via Airbnb, selling handmade crafts or jewelry, or freelance writing. Looking for freelance work? Sites such as Fiverr or Upwork can help match your talents with a company in need of those skills. This might include design, marketing, or business services among others.
Reassess your budget to better manage rising costs
A primary concern has been the rising cost of living. Having a well-planned budget is imperative to ensure you can cover rising expenses. Continuously re-evaluating your budget may be needed as prices continue to fluctuate. This means finding areas to reduce spending. We hope our ideas above can help you accomplish this goal.
Read more money-saving Choice Words blog posts for additional tips to help you build more cushion into your budget and better manage rising costs.