Anxiety Rising as Quick as Inflation? Here are 5 Tips and Resources to Combat Inflation
By: Alicia Nelson-Bell, USU Extension Empowering Financial Wellness Program Coordinator
August 15th, 2022
With inflation at an all-time high, we are all feeling the effects of rising prices all around us. This can make it feel at times impossible to make ends meet. Our extension finance experts have come together and compiled our top 5 tips and resources to help you combat the rising prices.
- Free Cutting Expenses Booklet: Track Expenses for a month or two. Are you truly happy with how much money is being spent in each category of your budget? Is your spending aligned with your goals? If you find that there are areas of your budget that you aren’t satisfied with the amount being spent, download the free Cutting Expenses Guidebook. This free resource, is available for download here: extension.usu.edu/finance/inflation and has a variety of tips for cutting back spending in pretty much any category of your budget. As you are evaluating ways to reduce spending, you may consider asking yourself if purchases are needs or wants. While modifying your spending, don’t forget to allow yourself at least a small amount of fun money so you feel like you still have some money to enjoy.
- Meal Plan: The grocery category of the budget is one of those categories where we are all feeling the effects of rising prices. Meal planning is a great way to make the most of the money allocated towards this category.
- Here are a few tips for successful meal planning:
- Use the grocery ads to plan your meals around items on sale or low-cost items.
- Plan Meals around leftovers/that use similar main ingredients (same meat, rice, or same vegetable).
- Make a little extra to freeze and eat when you don’t feel like cooking. This will encourage you to eat out less which will save you money.
- Buy meat in bulk when on sale and freeze.
- Pretend you are on a cooking show and take the pantry/freezer challenge and cook with what you already have rather than buying more.
- Preserve in-season produce from the garden or grocery store.
- Get out of Debt and Stay out: This will allow you to have more money available to work with each month by eliminating these monthly payments. This will also save your hard-earned money from going towards interest charges. Powerpay is a free tool that can help you create a personalized debt elimination plan. You can create a free account and debt elimination plan by going to powerpay.org.
- How can you bring in more money: When considering ways to make ends meet and combat rising prices, we often focus our efforts on cutting back spending and forget the other side of things-bringing more money in. Brainstorm as a family what each member can do to bring in a little extra money to help pay for things. Are there jobs around the neighborhood that kids could do to earn a little money that would pay for their new shoes or toys? Can you do any odd jobs, work an extra hour a week, negotiate a raise, etc.? Get creative! The opportunities are out there!
- Utilize Cash Back Opportunities: Why not get rewarded for spending money on the things you normally do? Take advantage of ways to get money back. A couple of ways to do this are using a credit card with cash back rewards or using cash back apps. If using a cash back credit card, limit use to normal spending (not frivolous or extra spending) and make sure to pay it off each month to avoid interest charges. There are lots of cash back apps out there, including ones for grocery and retail stores and even at the gas pump.
Knowing how much is being spent in different categories of your budget can help you identify areas you would like to cut back. Use the Cutting Expenses Guidebook to find tips to help your family modify spending habits. Successful meal planning can help you utilize grocery funds more intentionally and may take practice. Now is the time to get debt free and stay debt free so you can keep more money in your pocket each month. Cutting spending isn’t the only way to combat rising prices, get creative and work together to bring in more money as a family and even utilize cash back opportunities through apps or credit cards.
Try out these tips and keep these questions in mind and see how much money you can save on impulse purchases so you can put more money towards the things you want most!