By now, we’re all tired of hearing about inflation. This year, we’ve become all too familiar with headlines declaring the highest inflation rate in 40 years, and then seeing it with our own eyes at the grocery store and gas pump.
But worrying about inflation will not make it go away. Experts quoted by CNBC expect that prices will eventually subside, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it will happen due to ongoing supply chain issues and geopolitical conflicts, among other contributing factors. Regardless of expert opinions, it seems we are stuck with higher costs for the time being.
What can FPPA’s active and retired Members do to lessen the impact of inflation on their wallets? Here are four tips that might help keep inflation in check in your daily life.
According to TIME and US News & World Report, economic uncertainty is not, in general, a reason to pull investment funds out of the market or reduce contributions to 457 or other defined contribution accounts. Instead, ensure that your investment portfolio is properly diversified to deal with market ups and downs.
Trim Unnecessary Expenses
Between 2015 and 2018, US households spent $59,000 annually, according the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Denver TV station KDVR notes that of that spending, “about $9,000 was spent on nonessential items like food away from home, entertainment, alcohol, tobacco, smoking supplies, apparel and services.” Simply reducing out of home meals and entertainment to a few times a month can save hundreds of dollars each month. Combining trips for errands and reducing unnecessary travel can also go a long way to reducing pain at the gas station.
Find Better Prices With Technology
Using an app like GasBuddy can help you save a bundle at the pump. When you notice that your tank is getting low, simply open the app to see real-time gas prices in your immediate area, or use the map feature to see prices at your destination to determine whether to fill up now or later.
Similarly, apps like those from Target can help you find discounts on day-to-day purchases. Target’s app offers many ways to find discounts on items you’re already planning to buy, like sorting discounts by your local area or the ability to scan individual products in-store to see if additional discounts apply. As a bonus, all the discounts and coupons are digital, so no clipping is necessary.
Negotiate Your Bills
If, after you’ve cut out unnecessary recurring expenses, you find that your bills are still too expensive, it may be time to negotiate. According to NextAdvisor, “Your internet bill, medical bills, and even your rent are all up for negotiation,” adding that it takes “Arm[ing] yourself with the right approach and the most useful scripts to give yourself the best chance of saving.”
Bottom Line: Find What Works For You
There are plenty of strategies to reduce monthly bills that are not covered here. Moreover, everyone’s financial situation is different, so there is no one size fits all solution for beating inflation.
Often, the best starting point for finding the solution you need is a well-formed Google search. If there’s a specific expense in your budget that’s causing fiscal frustration, Google it. Chances are, you’re not the only person asking the same question, and solutions might already exist that people are talking about online. Just be sure to stick to reputable sources, and avoid financial scams. On the internet, like almost everywhere else, the old saying still applies: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Ryan Woodhouse is the Content and Publications Manager for the Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado. When not creating content for FPPA, Ryan can be found fly fishing in the Colorado high country or shouting at the TV during University of Wisconsin football and basketball games.