We hear the word constantly, but what does inflation mean? Inflation refers to the general increase in prices of goods and services over time. When inflation is high, it can make it more difficult to manage household expenses and make ends meet.
There’s a mix of experts who agree and disagree on how bad inflation is in the American economy. The average American doesn’t need an expert to tell us, though – we are all feeling the pinch! From the price of eggs and beef to the housing market, the increase in prices has definitely risen.
Coping with inflation often feels daunting. However, there are several actions you can take to help control your household expenses during times of high inflation.
Create a budget
The first step in coping with inflation and controlling your household expenses during high inflation is to create a budget. This will help you keep track of your income and expenses, and make adjustments as necessary. You can use a simple spreadsheet, or one of the many budgeting apps available.
If you don’t have a good handle on your income and expenses, it’s really tough to manage your money through inflationary times. You’ll easily find yourself with less and less cash available for purchases but not have a good understanding of why or where the extra expenses are coming from.
Reduce unnecessary expenses
Take a close look at your expenses and see if there are any areas where you can cut back. This could include reducing your cable or phone bill, cutting back on eating out, or finding ways to save on groceries.
Subscription services like Instacart and Doordash typically cost you more money than they save. Prices can be higher on the apps, plus service fees and tips add up. It’s a lot easier to control your spending by shopping and preparing your own meals at home.
Meal subscription services seem like a good idea, too, but the cost of the ingredients plus shipping is nearly double what you would pay to get the items at your grocer. Consider meal prepping instead if you want the convenience of having meal solutions on hand. Pick a day of the week and prep ingredients and/or select menus for the week ahead. This way it will be easier for you throughout the week, in the same manner a food subscription service is.
Shop for sales and discounts
When prices are rising, it’s even more important to take advantage of sales and discounts. Look for deals on groceries, household items, and other essential items, and stock up when you can.
When coping with inflation, don’t fall into the trap of snapping up everything because it is on sale or discount, though. Make lists prior to shopping. Add things to your list that you regularly need to stock up on like toilet paper, laundry detergent, cat litter and so on. Those will then be the items you stock up on when you see a sale or discount.
Plan your meals around sales, too. Look at the sales your grocer has this week and plan your meals for the week around the ingredients on sale. This is a great way to maximize your food budget!
Consider alternative options
For non-essential items, consider alternative options that are less expensive. For example, instead of buying pre-packaged food, you can buy ingredients in bulk and prepare meals at home.
Start hobby farming or gardening! There are so many fresh vegetables and herbs that are quick, easy and inexpensive to grow, even in limited spaces.
Do without. Reduced waste living is healthy for your pocketbook and the environment. Certainly buy all the essentials you need, but learn to reduce, recycle and re-use all other items. Simple changes like utilizing the library instead of buying new books every month and composting your scrap foods are great ways to start on your zero waste lifestyle journey.
When inflation is high, it’s important to prioritize your spending on necessities such as housing, food, and healthcare. Make sure that you allocate enough money to cover these expenses, and don’t skimp on them in order to save money in other areas.
Invest in assets that maintain value. Inflation can erode the purchasing power of money, so it’s important to invest in assets that maintain their value over time. This could include real estate, precious metals, or stocks in companies with a strong track record of performance.
Seek professional advice
If you’re having difficulty coping with inflation and managing your household expenses, consider seeking professional financial advice. An experienced financial advisor can help you create a budget, invest your money, and manage your household expenses in a way that minimizes the impact of inflation.
High inflation can make it difficult to manage household expenses, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact. By creating a budget, reducing unnecessary expenses, shopping for sales and discounts, prioritizing necessities, investing in assets that maintain value, and seeking professional advice, you can help ensure that your household expenses remain manageable even during times of high inflation.