Money-Management Tips to Help You Combat Inflation
Inflation may be pinching your budget, but it doesn’t need to derail your long-term financial plans. Instead of waiting and worrying about economic factors beyond your control, feel more empowered by focusing on these fundamental tips for managing your money.
Pay down high-interest debts.
Americans owe more than $860 billion in credit card debt, with the average person owing more than $5,900.* If you have credit cards with variable interest rates, you will likely see your interest charges go up, and this can make it even harder to pay your cards off. If possible, consider transferring balances to cards with low (or even zero) introductory rates, and try to avoid charging new debt.
Start saving for a rainy day.
Believe it or not, there is an upside to inflation: The higher interest rates that cost you money on loans and credit cards can earn you more money on savings accounts. Now is a good time to find a high-yield savings account and build your rainy-day fund.
Invest extra cash.
If your high-interest debt is paid down and you have a healthy emergency fund, put your cash into investment vehicles like a 401(k), IRA, or brokerage accounts. These accounts have a higher rate of return than savings accounts, but the money isn’t accessed as easily. (That’s why you want to have savings accounts for short-term emergencies and investment accounts to build wealth over the long-term.)
Get the best prices.
When was the last time you shopped around for insurance coverage, cell phone plans, or cable/internet service? You may be overpaying for some of these things, or you may be missing discounts you’re entitled to. If you don’t want to change providers, call and try to negotiate a lower price. Be sure you ask to be put through to the cancellation department, because these are the employees who are authorized to give the best discounts. (Sometimes just the threat of leaving is enough to get a temporary price cut!)
Cut unnecessary costs.
Trial subscriptions and memberships typically become permanent if you don’t cancel them, and you may not have noticed all the small automatic payments that are skimming off your bank account. Review your bank records and cut any subscriptions, memberships, or services you aren’t using.
Evaluate your spending.
It happens to the best of us. That tendency to eat out more often than we cook at home, or the desire to reward ourselves with clothes, accessories, or gadgets. We get a raise or bonus, but instead of saving or investing that money, we spend it as fast as it comes in. Time for a “tough love” look at your budget so you can rein in spending and find money to save and invest.
Hold off on major purchases.
Inflation raises the price of everything, so now is not a great time to buy a new car, entertainment system, appliances, or furniture. Delay as many purchases as possible and wait for prices to level out again.
*Average Credit Card Debt in America, MoneyGeek.com