Inflation would be the “money word of the year” in 2021. According to the December Consumer Price Index (a measure of the cost of things like food, housing, and transportation), prices rose 7%, the largest growth since 1982. This is why it will be important to learn to save.
I thought inflation was a thing of 2021?
As for 2022, we can expect it as well. Experts predict inflation will continue to rise throughout most of the year, but no one can be certain for sure. The reason is due to the possibility that supply-chain disruptions and product shortages will persist and cause prices to rise. High prices result from low supply and high demand.
My wallet would take a beating.
I agree, this isn’t great. Refresh your budget if your prices and habits are based on outdated tags. You should adjust your budget to reflect your current priorities and needs, plus a little cushion for higher prices. Don’t forget to include your long-term goals, such as retirement and short-term savings. The time has come to create more wiggle room – whether there is not enough money for everyone or you want to spend more on your goals.
What can I do to increase my budget?
Start with these ideas:
Shop for comparisons
You are not generic, but many less expensive items are. By substituting a store brand for a name brand, you could save 25% on average. Before you start shopping, use tools like Ibotta, Instacart, and TopCashBack.com to compare prices in-store and online.
Save money at the checkout
Your payment method matters. Consider a rewards card that gives you points or cashback if you spend a lot of money on gas, restaurants, or groceries. There are some cards that give up to 5% back on certain spending categories. Keep to your budget so you can pay off your entire balance each month. Otherwise, you will end up paying more in interest than you received from the benefits of the credit card. You can save more money by using cash. Compared to using a credit card, handing over cash hurts more, so you are less likely to overspend.
You can reduce and reuse
Reduce your regular spending by finding ways to reduce it. Make use of what’s in your pantry or freezer before going to the store. Or by implementing the ‘one in, one out’ rule. Reusing existing materials can also be an option. Rather than buying new clothes, you can have old clothes mended or altered to match your current style. Secondhand marketplaces such as eBay or Poshmark may be good places to sell items you’re no longer using.
On certain items, you can save up to 25% by purchasing more upfront. It is possible for non-perishable items like paper towels, freezer bags, batteries, and peanut butter to offer big savings without the risk of spoilage. To determine whether a bulk deal is really worth it, check the per-unit price vs. the sticker price.
Get rid of a subscription (or two)
It’s likely you signed up for at least one subscription that you forgot about. You can cancel any subscription you don’t need, including premium cable channels, shipping services, and phone apps. Besides, you don’t use those services anyway. The heavy lifting of canceling can be done by tools like Truebill or Trim.
There is room for discussion on your phone bill, cable bill, and Internet bill. See which deals your competitors offer, then ask your service provider if they can match it (or beat it). When the first person you speak to is unable to assist, don’t be afraid to ask for a supervisor. Just remain calm and polite. For a large medical bill, check with the hospital or your doctor’s office about a lump-sum payment plan with interest-free payments.
Save on your utilities
Utility bills are likely to rise due to rising energy costs. During off-peak hours, turn down your thermostat. Each degree your thermostat is lowered over an eight-hour period (such as when you’re sleeping) can save you about 1% on your annual electric bill. You can also keep food fresh and cut down on your energy bill by setting your fridge to 38 degrees and your freezer to 0–5 degrees. The temperature of your water heater should be set at 120 degrees to save up to $61 annually.
Fuel savings at the pump
Buying a hybrid is not an option for everyone. It is possible to find cheap gas using an app such as GasBuddy. Maintaining the proper tire pressure and driving at a steady speed can also reduce fuel consumption.
Obtain insurance at a lower cost
There are ways to lower your insurance premiums, even though you can’t control every factor that affects rates (like age, gender, and past claims). Even if your current insurer is generally satisfactory, you should shop around and ask about bundled deals. You could combine your auto and home policies. You might get a discount if you pay more upfront – such as annually vs. monthly.
I haven’t heard anything about housing from you…
This is true. You probably spend the most each month on this. The good news is that rent can be negotiated too. Discuss the reason why you should pay a lower rate with your landlord based on comparable properties in your area. Offering a longer rental or paying a few months’ rent in advance could make this a win-win situation. Even if they are unwilling to budge, try to negotiate for another concession such as a smaller security deposit, free parking, or better appliances.
Refinancing your mortgage is a good idea if you own your own home. Particularly if your credit score has increased since you originally applied for your mortgage. You are likely to qualify for a better interest rate if your score is higher.
Downsizing and getting a roommate are two other options for saving money on housing. Neither is easy. If you want to save a lot, you should consider them.
The price of everything has been rising steadily. We can expect this trend to continue throughout most of 2022. Adapting your budget may be necessary to save money. You can save a great deal of money by reducing unnecessary expenses, negotiating regular bills, and being aware of your energy usage at home.