As of March 10, 2022, the national average for gasoline reached USD 4.32, the highest price in U.S. history. Furthermore, prices of other goods and services are up 7.9%, the highest inflation rate in 40 years. How can we combat inflation?
Making minor adjustments to daily behaviors could result in significant cost savings.
Let’s see how.
- Generic doesn’t necessarily mean less quality, but it definitely means saving money.
- Replace one-time-use items with repeat-use ones.
- A straightforward way to combat inflation is to place your money in a high-yield savings account or invest in stocks.
Inflation is on the rise
First, here are a few examples of goods that have increased in price recently. These figures are from the U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics website:
|Item||Price in February 2021||Price in February 2022|
|A dozen eggs||$1.60||$2.01|
|One pound of 100% beef||$4.25||$4.63|
|A gallon of whole milk||$3.37||$3.88|
|A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline||$2.50||$3.59|
|Utility (piped) gas per therm||$1.12||$1.41|
Ways to combat inflation
Powerful ways to fight inflation would be to invest in real estate, switch to solar power for your home, or buy an electric vehicle. But all those options involve a substantial up-front cost. If you can do it, mazel tov! However, since many of us can’t, here are small ways to save.
1. Take a second look at your subscriptions
Ever sign up for a streaming service just because it was the only one that featured that movie you really wanted to see? Or ever accept the free trial for the premium version of an app and forget to cancel? Take a few minutes to review your subscriptions and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I still use this app or service? How frequently?
- Is this subscription similar in services or features to another I’m already using? For example, are you paying for a gym membership and Apple Fitness+? Can you use one instead of both?
- Are the features in the subscription worth the price (e.g., is skipping commercials that important to me)?
- If a subscription allows sharing with family and friends, can I invite others to use the product or service and split the cost?
2. Use generic over brand name
True story: A man invites his friend to the men’s suit factory where he works to gift his friend a suit. He then takes his friend through the production line to where the machines attach the label. The man then explains how clothing from the same production line will receive either a generic or a brand name label.
The lesson: Generic doesn’t necessarily mean less quality, but it definitely means saving money.
3. Sell and buy used items
Savvy shoppers can buy used items, and friends wouldn’t be able to tell it isn’t new. Explore thrift stores or secondhand shops – you may be pleasantly surprised at the quality of items you find.
Perform a KonMari-inspired cleanse of your home and see what items you can sell. For either shopping or selling online, here are some suggested sites:
4. Shop reusable
For instance, say you enjoy lighting a scented candle and cozying up to the smell of lavender and rose petals. Instead of spending $25 for one scented candle, you could spend $28 for an aromatherapy oil diffuser that comes with six bottles of essential oils. The latter purchase will have a much longer run.
Are there any other one-time-use items that you can replace with repeat-use ones? Here are a few ideas:
- Glass straws instead of plastic or paper ones
- Silicone baking cups instead of paper ones
- Microfiber Swiffer pads instead of disposable ones
- Reusable sandwich bags instead of disposable ones
5. Save on gas
There are several ways to cut down on the cost of gasoline for your vehicle:
- Keep the tank half full (we’re optimists). That way, the pressure is off buying whatever gasoline is available.
- Use apps like GasBuddy to search for gas stations with the best price near your location.
- If you can walk somewhere, do that instead of hopping in the car. The added benefit is getting your steps in.
- Avoid quick acceleration and breaking.
- Not using the A/C will increase fuel economy, so roll down the window if the weather is pleasant and the pollution is low.
- Carpool where possible.
6. Make your savings work for you
A straightforward way to combat inflation is to place your money in a high-yield savings account. There’s a little research involved when finding a banking solution that best suits your needs and circumstances.
Another option is to invest in stocks. There are a particular set of stocks that do well in times of inflation, like oils, grains, and metals. However, if you are unsure, some apps, like Betterment, calculate and perform the optimal investment for you. You can choose how conservative or aggressive you wish to be in the investment.
7. Resist impulse buying
It’s so easy to add that chocolate bar on the rack next to the checkout counter to your groceries, but these little purchases add up. Here are some tips to reduce impulse buying:
- Do meal planning to minimize the times you order in or eat out. Packing a lunch and cooking your meals is a great way to combat inflation.
- Be careful with promotional emails. If you can’t avoid clicking to see what’s new, try clicking “Unsubscribe.”
- Try a 24-hour rule. If there is a non-essential item you wish to purchase, delay it for 24 hours and then see how you feel the next day.
8. Improve or learn skills
Your career should also survive an unstable economy. Are there skills in your field that you can master? Can you foresee new technologies or processes that will impact your industry that you can learn? Between a good work ethic and continued self-improvement, you can get your salary to keep up with inflation.
See more stats on the economy.
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