Inflation has become a growing concern in the U.S., as prices for most basic goods have spiked during a pandemic-battered economy.
About three-quarters of Americans say they have experienced higher than expected prices in the past three months, with 94% reporting inflated prices on everyday items such as food and gasoline and 54% reporting price hikes on big-ticket purchases like appliances and electronics, a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey found.
The inflated prices directly clash with the nation’s median household income, which decreased almost 3% over the past year, the U.S. Census Bureau announced this week.
How to save money when income lowered but prices spiked? Here are some tips.
Make A List And Stick To It
Empty fridge, hunger and freestyle shopping are a recipe for disaster when trying to avoid overspending.
In an interview with TODAY, Diane McCrohan, associate professor in the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University, said “impulse buying” is one of the easiest ways to overspend and there is no easier way to spend those extra bucks when heading to the grocery store without a list and on an empty stomach.
“Never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach,” McCrohan said. “You will end up purchasing more food than you need. You may also end up with many snack foods you did not want.”
According to the CPI data, food prices increased about 3.4% in July, with every major category but fruits and vegetables showing increases.
Planning out weekly meals and making a realistic list of groceries items can be the key to spending less and avoiding the ever-tempting snacks aisles.
Watch For Sales
Whether it is take-out coffee, produce or home appliances, make sure to compare prices and keep an eye out for sales.
National and store brands often vary in prices but provide the same level of quality. Meanwhile, some stores like Costco and Trader Joe’s are just overall cheaper and provide larger discounts by sticking to their private-label brands. Take advantage of those promotions and stock up on nonperishable items.
As for big-ticket purchases, it might be a good time to wait.
CNBC noted that home building supplies hit a record high this year as demand for home improvements are high while supply has slowed down.
Neil Gilfedder, a senior vice president of portfolio management at Edelman Financial Engines, said remodels may become more affordable soon as the demand for raw materials slows during the winter months.
“Wait it out until it’s possibly cheaper in the future,” Gilfedder told CNBC.
If the purchase is not urgent, it might be a good idea to wait for holiday sales. National holidays like Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas often bring great discounts across a variety of shopping platforms.
In times of inflated prices and reduced paychecks, it is important to reevaluate spending habits.
Multiple subscriptions to streaming services can add up.
Choose whether it is worth the buck to have Apple Music, Spotify, Disney +, Hulu and Netflix all at the same time. Gym memberships and cell phone plans can also sneak up on people so cancel any unnecessary subscription services or ask for a cheaper plan.
There is no harm in asking for a discount. The worst that will happen is that the customer service person will say no.
Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York City, told CPI that consumers should look at the categories they spend the most on and try to create a budget overhaul to better control individual spending.
“As we shift out of COVID times, you’ll need to build a savings buffer, so you won’t get sticker shock when the bills come in,” Boneparth said.
The post Prices Are Rising, Here’s How To Save When Inflation Is Through The Roof appeared first on International Business Times.