With inflation at record highs, many Americans are finding it difficult to stick to a budget. After all, when groceries have leapt in price and household staples can be double, or even triple, what they cost just a year ago, how can the same amount of money get you through the month?
Sticking to a budget during times of high inflation is challenging – but not impossible. Here are five ways to budget while in times of inflation.
1. Plan your grocery purchases
Groceries can take a huge bite out of a monthly budget. Fortunately, there are ways to trim your grocery bill, even when prices are soaring.
First, shop your pantry and fridge before hitting the store. You may not remember exactly what you have at home, and doing a quick scan of your food items can help you stick to purchasing only what you need.
Next, plan your week’s dinner menu before shopping so you can pick up exactly what you need for the week in just one go. The fewer trips you make to the grocery, the less you’ll spend on impulse buys. Also, when you have the ingredients you need and plans in place for dinner each night of the week, you’ll be less likely to make a last-minute decision to indulge in takeout or fast food.
Consider joining a club store at this time as well. You’ll need to spring for a membership, but you’ll enjoy steep savings on groceries and other products. Just be careful to only buy what you need, no matter how cheap an item might be.
Finally, don’t forget to shop sales and to couponize. Use apps like Reebee, Checkout 51, Flipp and Grocery IQ to stay in the know of what’s on sale in each store, and to download coupons for even bigger savings.
2. Consider an energy audit
With winter approaching and the cost of energy sources still climbing, this can be a good time to have an energy audit performed on your home. An audit will help identify energy drains around your home, such as air leaks near your windows and doors, so you can fix them to make your home more energy-efficient. You can also take additional measures toward saving on energy costs, such as switching all lightbulbs to LED bulbs, unplugging electronics when not in use and setting your thermostat a little lower during winter, and a bit higher in the summer.
3. Choose your indulgence
Everyone needs to treat themselves to something special every now and then, but with costs rising on restaurant meals, movie tickets and clothing, something’s gotta give. Take a closer look at your just-for-me purchases of the last few months, and try to narrow them down to just one or two treats. You can swap them with an enjoyable activity that doesn’t cost much, such as a hike or bike ride, or cut them out completely.
Alternatively, you can find ways to trim the cost of your indulgences. For example, if you love dining out but restaurant meals are destroying your budget, you can decide to eat out but skip the desserts and wines, or opt for a midday meal so you can take advantage of lunchtime specials.
4. Switch your auto insurance plan
If you’ve had your auto insurance policy for a while and you’ve maintained a good driving record during that time, there’s a good chance you can save a bundle by switching to a new insurance plan and/or provider. TruStage® provides Justice Federal Members with insurance products to help protect what matters most. You could save $700 on auto insurance* by switching to TruStage. To get a quote or explore your options, visit TruStage.com.
5. Transfer your balance to pay down debt
If you have debt, moving it to a new credit card with a zero-interest offer will make it possible for you to pay down your debt without incurring interest for a while.
Fortunately, as a member of Justice Federal Credit Union, you can take advantage of our 0% introductory APR** for an unparalleled 18 months on any new Justice Federal Visa Credit Card. If you’re ready to consolidate your debt, we can help! Learn more about our Visa Credit Card options or call and speak to one our Financial Service Representatives to find the right debt solution for you.
Times are hard for the average American consumer, but with careful planning, you can ride out the record-high inflation rates and keep your budget intact. These tips can help, but consider making a spending plan with the help of GreenPath™ Financial Wellness. As our trusted partner, GreenPath provides Members with free financial counseling. Learn more at GreenPath.com/jfcu.
*Average savings based on a countrywide survey of new customers who reported saving when they switched to Liberty Mutual between 10/2021 and 09/2022. Savings may vary. Comparison does not apply in MA.
TruStage® insurance products and programs are made available through TruStage Insurance Agency, LLC. Life insurance and AD&D insurance are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Auto and Home Insurance Program are issued by leading insurance companies. The insurance offered is not a deposit, and is not federally insured, sold or guaranteed by your credit union.
**APR=Annual Percentage Rate. Terms valid as of September 1, 2023. Subject to credit approval. If you have not previously received a credit card from us: An introductory rate will apply for the 18-month period immediately following the date your account is established. Credit card subject to the following: Cash advance fee, convenience check fee: either 2.00% of the advance or $10 whichever is greater ($50 maximum), Foreign transaction fees: 1.00% of each foreign currency transaction in U.S. dollars or 1.00% of each U.S. Dollar transaction that occurs in a foreign country. Purchases that take place in the U.S. through a foreign merchant will be subject to the foreign transaction fee. Credit cards have no annual fee, balance transfer fee or transaction fee. To view the Credit Card Account Agreement and Federal Disclosure Statement visit www.jfcu.org or see a representative for details.