How to beat rising costs and high inflation
Between the absurd gas prices, ongoing heat waves, and rising prices on pretty much everything, so many people are feeling the pinch this summer.
It’s hard to have a legendary summer when everything is so expensive. While banks and governments change interest rates, cell phone carriers add hidden inflation fees, and so much more that feels out of your hands, we thought we’d put together a few tips on how to deal with inflation on a more personal level.
Be smart about budgeting, saving, and spending
We talk a lot about budgeting here on the TextNow blog, and for good reason. Budgeting your money helps you save money more efficiently, while reducing the amount of stress you have about money. In the past we’ve talked about how to budget after your tax return, managing post-holiday financial stress, budgeting tools to help you, and spring cleaning for your wallet. But really what it all comes down to is making a realistic budget and sticking to it. Fire up a spreadsheet and get to it.
An important part of building your finances during inflation is to avoid credit card debt. When interest rates rise, so does the interest rate on any credit card debt you hold, making it that much harder to pay it off. If you’re only making the minimum payments, you’ll quickly accrue more debt on the card than you may expect. Paying down the principal is key to keeping your debt from spiraling out of control. If you find yourself in a situation where it’s too much to keep up with, you might want to look into debt consolidation, which can help you get on a payment plan to knock down your principal as fast as possible. You should also consider reaching out to a financial professional for assistance.
Here are more tips to stretch your dollars during a downturn:
Inflation hits the hardest at the grocery store. Can’t go without food, right? Beyond the obvious tips – look out for sales, use coupons, shop generic or store brands – an easy way to save money is by food planning.
By creating a food plan, you can build your meals around ingredients you already have or are inexpensive to get in bulk. It helps cut down on impulse food delivery, and if you grab the weekly flyer from your local grocery store, you can plan meals around what’s on sale that week. And remember, only go grocery shopping on a full stomach!
If you’re in a situation where you can take public transportation, or even just walk or bike to work, you’ll see a ton of benefits. Not taking your car to work saves on gas, which your wallet will like, saves on wear and tear of your car, which your mechanic will like, and cuts down on pollution, which the entire planet will like. Beyond that, investigate any discounts at the gas station, like a rewards credit card or any promotions. You’ll also be increasing your physical activity, which has all kinds of upsides and the potential to reduce health-related expenses.
If you are stuck driving, don’t forget to shop around for lower car insurance. A little comparison shopping for insurance could save you a nice chunk every month, or so insurance commercials claim.
Save money on your phone plan with an app like TextNow (Android, iOS)
We’re long past the point where a phone should be considered a basic need, right up there with clothing and shelter. A phone isn’t a luxury for people these days so much as an absolute necessity. And in lean economic times, paying your phone bill can feel like downright robbery.
But the price for mobile connectivity is usually somewhere between too expensive and outrageously expensive. This is where TextNow comes in.
When TextNow first developed our free Nationwide Talk & Text, we built it with complete flexibility in mind. We can’t control interest rates, but at least with TextNow you can control your phone bill. Whether you want to stick with our free ad-supported calling and texting, or you want to use it with your phone or tablet or laptop, over WiFi, or if you want to add-on extras like data. The key thing is with TextNow, you decide how much or how little you want to pay for it. No phone bills, no contracts. Ever.
Save money on gas with an app like GasBuddy (Android, iOS)
When you need to hit the road, make sure to bring GasBuddy. Next to food, gas prices are where consumers get hit the hardest with inflation. As you can’t drive around without gas, it becomes a little once-a-week game to find the cheapest gas price around. Well, you can stop playing games with GasBuddy. You can search for the best prices by city, state or brand. GasBuddy also has loads of tools and info about gas consumption in the US – price maps, fuel demand, and outage trackers.
Save money on clothes with an app like thredUP (Android, iOS)
ThredUP (besides having a pretty punny name) is a huge online consignment thrift store. And I mean huge. 21,037 items in the women shoes section alone. If you like looking for bargains, thredUP is your new favorite place. Sort by item, brand, trending items, price, or by clearance. It’s phenomenally comprehensive. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on thredUP, it might not exist.
Save money on groceries with an app like Basket (Android iOS)
When you’re ready to hit the grocery store, try using the app Basket. It’s a simple idea – Basket collects all of the information from your local grocery stores’ weekly flyer, plus websites to compare prices which they then compile into your own personal shopper to help find deals. There’s more functionality on the app too, including the ability to make shopping lists and crowd-sourcing from the community.
How are you saving money right now? Share your best apps, life hacks, and ideas with us below!