Rising inflation has really been putting the squeeze on budgets with consumers paying more for everything from groceries to cars. Your hard-earned dollar is just not going as far as it used to. CNBC reported this month that annual inflation surged 7.5%, the highest since 1982. What can you do to combat inflation? Here are five helpful tips.
5 budget fixes to fight inflation
1 Buy generic & shop smarter
Buying generic alternatives instead of name brands when it comes to groceries, household products, and medications can help you save big over the course of a month. Most grocery stores offer store brands at a much lower price than national brands. Furthermore, they are typically comparable in quality with the same ingredients. When consumers buy brand names they are paying more because of the cost of marketing those products to the public. Another tip when buying groceries and household products; buy in bulk when possible for greater savings. Be sure to shop smart and compare prices. Especially when it comes to gas and items you buy frequently.
2 Cancel unused services & subscriptions
It’s time to audit your credit card and financial statements to get a full picture of recurring payments for subscriptions and services. Because they are on auto-pay, you have probably lost touch with just how many paid subscriptions are going unused. We’re all in the same boat. We sign up for a new online fitness subscription or streaming platform, only to stop using the service after a few months and then forget to cancel it.
If you subscribed to a service through Apple’s App Store, you can manage your subscriptions right on your device. Go to your Settings app and tap your name then locate and tap Subscriptions (it will only be there if you have subscriptions). Tap the service you want to cancel and select Cancel Subscription. Android users can do the same from Google Play. Click your profile icon in the app and select Payments & Subscriptions to view a list of services you signed up for. You can cancel from here or choose to manage/pause payments. The same can be done with subscriptions through Amazon. Go into your account and tap Memberships & Subscriptions then you can cancel what you no longer use.
3 Look for ways to curb energy costs
Soaring energy prices are a big driver behind inflation. Cutting down on your energy use can help you better fight inflation. Carpooling to share fuel costs, sealing air leaks around doors and windows, and unplugging electronics when not in use are all ways to cut down on energy costs. Invest in energy-efficient lightbulbs and set your thermostat to help you save. These tips can help you better prepare for the rising energy costs. Tap to read about Energy Financial Incentives for Pennsylvania Residents from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP provides plenty of tips for homeowners to take steps to make their homes more energy efficient at little or no cost.
4 Refinance your mortgage
A mortgage payment is probably your biggest monthly budget cost. With interest rates still low, you may have an opportunity to save on your monthly mortgage payment by refinancing. Tap for information on Mortgage loans and refinancing available at Benchmark Federal Credit Union. If our current rates are lower than you are paying and the fees to refinance are low, it may be a great time to refinance and save. You may also want to consider converting from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed rate while rates are still low.
5 Refinance high-rate debt
In addition to your mortgage, refinancing other high-rate debt can help you save. You may want to consider Benchmark FCU’s VISA Balance Transfer Promotion that offers 0% APR* for up to 12 months** on purchases and balance transfers. Paying off debt or at least making it less expensive by refinancing to secure a lower rate can give you more wiggle room within your budget.
Cut expenses and beat inflation
Our advice on the best budget fixes to fight inflation is to cut unnecessary expenses, follow a budget, and reduce the urge to dip into your emergency fund or retirement savings. When dealing with inflation, keep your financial priorities in mind. This includes budgeting for retirement savings.
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*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate subject to change and based on individual’s credit history. The ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE is subject to change on the first day of the billing cycle annually to reflect any change in the Index and will be determined by the Prime Rate on June 30th of each year as published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table to which we add a margin.
**0% Intro Rate is valid for purchases & balances transferred from other institutions within 365 days from card opening. The 0% rate will be in effect for up to 12 months from card opening & after the 12 months, the rate on all unpaid balances will convert to the rate member qualified for at card opening. 0% promotional rate is only valid for new VISA Platinum Cards & subject to expire without prior notice.