Simple tips to budget when dealing with inflation
SUSAN EISNER firstname.lastname@example.org @solveyourdebts
Inflation. The dreaded i-word has been in the news for the past year and it doesn’t seem to be something we can escape. With the price of everything on the rise, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed about your finances. While you can’t stop inflation, you can take some steps to combat it. The first step is to adjust your budget. If you don’t have a budget, you need to set one up right away. A budget is a plan for how you will spend your money, and now more than ever, you need a good plan. When you don’t follow a budget you tend to overspend and you may even start using your credit cards or line of credit to make up the difference. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself falling deeper into debt with interest piling up. Once you develop a budget, here are five things you can do to fight inflation: 1. Review your spending habits: Right now, you probably feel like there isn’t enough to go around, but there could be areas where you are spending that can be adjusted. Without a budget, it’s difficult to know. Is there anything you are spending money on that you can cut out for a while? Are there areas you are overspending? 2. Look for ways to save: Find ways to save in your day-to-day spending, such as gas and groceries. To save at the grocery store, start buying generic products instead of name brands, select your items based on meal planning, go to the store with a list, and buy in bulk but only if it makes sense for you and your family. Save on gas by doing your errands all in one day, joining a gas rewards program, stopping using cruise control, or carpooling. 3. Earn a little extra: The best way to offset increasing expenses is to earn more income. A good side hustle can go a long way. While your current situation may not allow for another job outside the home, there are jobs you can do online from the comfort of your home, while still in your PJs and sitting on your couch. 4. Decrease your expenses: It’s never fun to have to cut things out of your budget, but if it decreases your financial stress and gets you one step closer to financial freedom, isn’t it worth it? Look at pausing monthly subscriptions or anything that’s not vital at this time, if only temporarily. Do you still watch cable? Can you change to just one streaming service? Make your coffee at home instead of making a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks run each day. It can really add up. Advertisements might be annoying on the free music platforms, but can you tolerate them to cancel your premium plan? Reducing spending on items such as these may seem like it might not make a difference, but all combined and over the time span of a year, you can really save hundreds of dollars. 5. Bargain Shop: Prices may be going up everywhere, but you can usually find better prices if you take the time to do a little research. For example, before making online purchases, check several websites before placing your order. When food shopping, compare prices online before heading to the store. Shop at the grocery stores closer to your home to save on travel. Lastly, download the Gas Buddy app to search for the lowest price near you at the pumps. Susan Eisner is the CEO of SolveYourDebts.com. For over 25 years, she and her team have been helping Atlantic Canadian families learn how to manage credit wisely, reduce debt and live debt free. For more information, go to solveyourdebts.com.