Inflation has been accelerating to its highest rate since the beginning of 1982. This means that at a 40-year, all-time high, it’s time to take a long hard look at your spending habits and trim where you can to save for the essentials like energy and food. There are a number of strategies to implement to offset inflation while still living within your means.
Separate Your Wants from Your Needs
When you first see something you want, it definitely feels like a need. The desire to have it in your possession takes hold, and you find yourself impulse buying (yet again). A good trick to stop buying things you want and save your money for things you need is to wait 48 hours before purchasing any item you suspect falls into the impulse or ‘want’ category. After 48 hours, you might be surprised to see that you have changed your mind.
Tighten the Purse Strings
While the idea of intentionally cutting back might send a shiver down your spine, there are things you can do that won’t amount to any loss of daily enjoyment.
- Find affordable car insurance. Most people don’t realize they’re paying more for insurance than they need to. Research car insurance quotes and find a policy that meets your needs while providing good coverage for you and your family.
- Track your entertainment spending. After reviewing your income and spending habits, decide how much you would like to put toward things like movies, concerts, and day trips every month and stick to it.
- Buy previously loved items. Gently used is a popular expression for secondhand items and the stigma against them is quickly disappearing. That is because most people are in a position where they want to save money, and consignment shops and garage sales are the perfect place to find items that are ready to be used and worn and are still brand new to you.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Just because your neighbors have a hot tub, doesn’t mean you should have one, too. The desire to keep up with the Joneses is an endless cycle that has the potential to not only drain your life of joy, but drain your bank account, as well. Remember that what outsiders see is just the tip of the iceberg. You don’t know their credit card debt or other loans and how they might be struggling. While it might not be as glamorous, living within your means by being happy with what you already have will help you enjoy life and save money.
Have a Grocery Store Plan
Human psychology is hard at work at the grocery store. The layout, the lights, the pile of juicy oranges set into an appealing pyramid and all of those chocolate delights at checkout are meant to entice you to buy. Whenever you go to the store, have a list and stick to it. Never walk into the store hungry, and use digital or printed coupons whenever possible.
Become Your Own Handyman
Resources abound to help the average individual figure out how to do things around the house. Want to fix a bike tire? Change the oil in your car? Diagnose the noise your washing machine is making? All are potential new skills you can acquire by reading DIY forums and watching how-to videos online. Not only will you save money, you’ll also gain a new found confidence and hey – you can boost your income by loaning your expertise to friends and family or, at least, get a free meal out of helping!
Create an Emergency Fund
The sunny days are great and tend to make us think that every day will be sunny from now on. That, of course, just isn’t the case. Being prepared for a rainy day will allow you to maintain your budget and way of life without dipping into savings or having to cut deep into the grocery budget for the month. A good rule of thumb is to save up 3-6 months of expenses so if the hot water heater or washing machine stops working, you’ll be covered.
Revisit Your Love of Nature
One way you can be sure to enjoy life without spending any money at all is to spend time in nature. Find the trails available in your area or travel to a nearby lake for a picnic. When the weather is nice, opt for a hike instead of a movie inside a crowded theater. Take along a sketch book and explore your own creativity. Fueling your imagination will help you discover alternate ways to make ends meet harmoniously.
The news might be all doom and gloom when it comes to rising inflation costs, but that doesn’t mean you and your family have to stop enjoying life. When you make some minor tweaks and modifications, you’ll find that you likely already have everything you need!