With record grocery prices, increases in rent, soaring fuel costs, Americans are finding it hard to stretch their paycheck and stick to a budget. The solution is often tightening the budget to make your income stick around longer. Yes, budgeting is a challenge – but not an impossible one. Here are four tips for budgeting in times of inflation.
1. Planning Ahead Saves Money
The first step in budgeting in times of inflaction is with groceries. When compiling your grocery list, start by taking inventory of your pantry. Carefully select the meals you will fix for the week and stick to your shopping list. The less time you spend in the grocery store, the better on your wallet. Scan the store’s weekly flyer or shopping app to take advantage of sale items or coupons. Apps such as Checkout 51, Flipp, and Grocery IQ are a great resource. Also, stock up on paper goods and essentials when the prices are at their very lowest (hint: most stores issue coupons when the prices are at their highest. Prices typically have a 6-week cycle. Hold on to those coupons until the price drops.
2. Shop Your Car Insurance Plan For a Better Rate
Switch your auto insurance plan to assist with budgeting in times of inflation. If you’ve had your auto insurance policy for a while and you’ve maintained a good driving record, you might save a bundle by switching to a new policy and/or provider. Reach out to your current insurer to discuss your options. Ask about raising your deductible in exchange for a lower premium, reducing overall coverage or negotiating for a safe driving discount. After obtaining a quote, call several other providers to get competing quotes. Go with your lowest offer, or call back your present provider and ask them to match it for your continued business.
3. Generate Additional Income
When the paycheck doesn’t support the lifestyle you are accustomed to living, look for ways to supplement the difference. Ask for a cost-of-living raise at work, take on a second job, sell some items in your garage or attic, or use your artistic creativity to sell on Etsy or Ebay. Consider ride-sharing to work and meal prep to add to the effort.
4. Set Aside a Few Indulgent Dollars
Cutting back on your ‘for me’ purchases is a great way to tighten the budget. However, it is okay to treat yourself each month. Set aside some money for a special reward (i.e., new shoes, fancy coffee, date night, etc.). Choose your indulgence wisely as it won’t come around again until the next budget cycle. Additional thoughts to consider when budgeting in times of inflation are skipping appetizers and/or dessert when eating out, taking your lunch to work, cutting back on your subscriptions to magazines, streaming services, and item of the month clubs. Once the budget is under control and a healthy savings plan is in place, slowly add these back into your budget.
In conclusion, it is possible to ride out the inflation wave and maintain your finances like a pro. Consider the above tips for budgeting in times of inflation, and create your plan today. Have a questions regarding our program? Contact us.