5 Ways to Fight Inflation- Survival Strategies for Tough Times
In 2022, inflation has become one of the main causes of financial strain on the average person. The cost of nearly everything has gone up and there seems to be no end in sight. What do you do when your paycheck doesn’t go quite as far as it used to, despite having essentially the same habits and lifestyle? There are ways to help fight the effects of inflation and help ease the burden on your bank account.
Compare Your Food Spending
How do you know what the average person or family spends on groceries? It’s different for everyone, right? While that may be true, there are creative ways to find out. Have you ever heard of a Cost of Food Report? The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes monthly reports outlining the average amount spent on food, broken down by age range and gender. They have different versions for “thrifty, low, moderate, and liberal” budgets. These guidelines can give you an idea of whether your food costs are above or below (or maybe right on target with) the national averages. You may be surprised!
Reduce Grocery Bills
There are lots of ways to cut back on the amount you spend on groceries. Try cutting back on buying expensive brands where you can. There may be some items that you can’t part with, but there are likely many more than you can. Start trying the store brand and eliminating the higher cost items where you can. Swapping meat for veggies or pasta a few nights a week can save you a lot and be just as delicious.
Start looking at the weekly ad for your grocery store and making a list. Limit your list to items you actually need and only buy what’s on your list. When the grocery store has a sale on non-perishable food items, stock up on them. Canned goods, pasta, dried beans, and rice will all stay good for at least a year. Purchase meat in larger packages at a lower price per pound and freeze it. For example, purchase a 5 Lb. package of ground beef and portion it into five 1 lb. bags for freezing. Many people don’t realize how many things can be frozen. The Farmer’s Almanac offers some guidance on how to freeze food and what kinds of food you can freeze.
Save On Gas Costs
The cost of gas these days is hard to stomach, and there aren’t many ways to find a “cheaper” option. What you can do is start being wise about gas points. If you shop at any local grocery store, most of them offer a rewards program that involves gas points. If there was ever a time to take advantage of these points, it’s now. So many people let their points expire, and even more people don’t even have a rewards card.
Gas points are one money saving tool that almost everyone should be able to use. Everyone eats. Everyone buys groceries. You are already spending money that could be earning you rewards. Now, that being said, you should make sure you’re getting the best possible gas points for your money. Look into your local stores to see which gas station you can redeem your points at. If you have to drive a distance and go out of the way to get the gas, it may not save you that much in the end. Try to make sure you can redeem your points at the gas station you already frequent, or one nearby, if possible.
Next, check the weekly ad for your grocery store and plan your shopping around the best gas point deals. Often, stores will include any special sales that will earn you bonus points in their flyer. Try to take advantage of good sales coupled with extra gas points to get maximum savings.
Another way to help save on fuel costs is to drive less and plan your trips wisely. Combine trips and errands to cut back on the amount you drive. Cut down your trips to the grocery store by making a list and trying to get everything you’ll need for the week at once, instead of multiple trips throughout the week.
Compare Checking Accounts
Chances are, you have a checking account. You may even have several. Does your checking account offer any type of reward or, even better, pay interest? If your checking account is just a place to store your money you’re missing out on opportunities to stretch your money a little further.
At Citizens Savings Bank, our free Kasasa Checking accounts rewards customers for doing simple activities like signing up for eStatements and using their debit card. Our Free Kasasa Cash Checking account pays interest, while our Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking account offers cash back rewards.
Those rewards can be automatically deposited into a free Kasasa Saver account, where they earn interest. So, you have a savings account that earns interest (free money) and your checking account rewards you each month (more free money) by depositing even more into your savings…to earn interest.
Maximize Your Savings
If you have a savings account, even if you aren’t able to save as much these days, it pays to maximize your efforts. You can do this by opening a savings account that earns interest. At Citizens Savings Bank, we offer a Free Kasasa Saver account. A traditional savings account that accrues interest will help give your savings a boost. The rate of interest you’re able to earn depends on the type of account you have and the rates at your bank.
If you’re looking for a way to earn a little bit more interest, there are alternatives to traditional savings accounts, like money market accounts. A money market account is similar to a savings account, but they typically earn a higher interest rate. Most banks will allow you to write a certain number of checks each month from your money market account. For some people a money market account is the next savings step after setting up a savings account and saving for a while. Take the money you’ve been able to save and invest it into an account that pays even more interest.
A CD, or certificate of deposit, is another great option. Generally, CDs earn a higher interest rate than money markets but there is one big difference. A CD requires you to commit to leaving your money untouched for a set amount of time. The idea is to save, so you’re discouraged from taking money out. Your money isn’t held hostage, you can always get it, but most banks will charge an early withdrawal fee if it’s before your term is over. There are many different terms you can choose from ranging from 91 days to 72 months, so you have that flexibility. Obviously, the longer you choose to leave your money alone, the more interest you earn.
Inflation can wreak havoc on your finances, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to survive if you get creative and look for ways to help you balance things out.
Citizens Savings Bank has multiple locations throughout Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. For branch locations and hours, visit our website. We also have a Customer Support Team ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1-800-692-6279 or email [email protected]. Member FDIC.