To put it bluntly, times are tough. There’s no arguing that the economic environment today is affecting everyone greatly. Monthly payments are increasing, gas prices are skyrocketing, and grocery bills are growing. Not to mention, interest rates are also increasing, making it harder to get a reasonable loan. Because of this, if you were looking to move or change careers, you may have paused your plans.
This inflation period may have crept up on you, making it more challenging to know how to proceed. And while living during an inflationary period isn’t easy, there are ways to cut back without drastically affecting your lifestyle. If you’re not sure where to start, keep reading. Below are four wallet-preserving strategies for inflationary times.
Swiping your credit card is simple. Almost too easy, particularly when you’re feeling strapped for cash. On top of everything, the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to mitigate inflation. Only paying the minimum amount on your card will leave you paying even greater interest. And you know that having to spend more money won’t help your wallet.
Switching to a debit card is something you can start doing today to help your wallet. Some debit cards automatically round up each purchase to put that change into a savings account. Using a debit card is also a great way to start budgeting and know exactly how much you can spend each month. You will begin to feel in control of your payments and won’t agonize over monthly statements either!
You may remember your grandparents or parents clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper as a kid. Fortunately, coupon clipping has come a long way because of online shopping. It may take some time upfront, but it can be worth the effort. You can score major deals by purchasing certain products at select stores. To start, several browser extensions will do the promo code and coupon searching for you.
In addition, you can also use apps to save money or turn grocery points into gift cards. Ciabatta and Drop are just two apps that will help save you time and money. In addition, it’s a good idea to sign up for newsletters from major grocery stores and retailers you frequent often. These stores likely will share exclusive deals for registered individuals. It may take a bit of searching, but your wallet will thank you when you find your grocery bill has decreased each month.
It can be hard to know how to save if you don’t know what exactly you’re spending money on. You may notice some expenses you can cut back on by tracking your charges. For example, do you need to subscribe to five television services if you only watch Netflix? Can you commit to eating your lunch at home instead of getting Uber Eats every afternoon? These are just some payments that can quickly eat up your monthly budget.
Give yourself an afternoon to sit down with your monthly bills to track your expenses. Some items — housing, food, and utilities — are nonnegotiables. Others, such as new clothes and vacations, are nice to have but must be budgeted accordingly. If you are in a relationship, ensure your partner understands why you are being more careful of your spending. Being open about your expenses with your partner and family may make it easier to know when you have to say no to certain costs.
Once you’ve tracked your spending, you may notice that some purchases were compulsive or unnecessary. Online shopping has made it easy to check out with just a few moments’ notice. Your paycheck may leave your account as quickly as it was deposited! And you can likely already guess that spending your salary for its sake is no way to live during inflation. You don’t know what’s on the horizon and should plan accordingly.
One way to limit your compulsive spending is to implement the 30-day Rule. Instead of making a major purchase immediately, think it over for 30 days. If 30 days seems too long for certain items, you can try shorter periods, such as a 48-hour delay. At the end of the month, if you really want it or even feel like you need the item, then buy it. But if you’ve forgotten about it or think you can wait, then do so.
What goes up must come down, right? There’s no guessing when things will start to level out regarding inflation. Navigating times during an inflation period is tricky because you can’t just stop spending altogether. The trick is to find ways to save without affecting your day-to-day life too much. Making a few simple changes can help you feel more comfortable spending during this stressful time.