During periods of heavy inflation, life can sometimes be pretty heartbreaking for someone living on an ordinary salary. Your wages certainly aren’t going up, but you’re paying more than ever for seemingly everything you buy. Meanwhile, if you have any savings, you’re watching helplessly as the buying power of that money slowly erodes. Given the fact that we’re now also in a bona fide bear market, there doesn’t seem to be much that you can do to grow your wealth at this time. For many people, staying in cash seems to be the best option at the moment.
If you’ve made the decision that you’re going to ride out this period of inflation with most of your holdings in cash, the best thing that you can do is find as many opportunities to save money as possible. If you don’t have an opportunity to earn more money at the moment – and most investments seem too risky to pursue – then the best option is to find ways to stop spending so much money on the things you already buy. Here’s how to do it.
If you’re a smoker, you’re already well aware of the fact that buying a pack of cigarettes every day is a ridiculously high expense for something that you don’t actually need and isn’t benefitting you at all. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, quitting smoking is one thing that you can do right now to mitigate all of the effects of the inflation that has taken place over the past year or two in one fell swoop. With the money that you save from not buying cigarettes – most likely thousands of dollars per year – you’ll immediately feel as if the current period of high inflation never occurred.
Of course, there’s just one issue with this idea: If smokers could just quit on command, there wouldn’t be any smokers left in the world because everyone would quit. If you’ve already tried to quit smoking and weren’t successful, there’s an alternative that costs significantly less and doesn’t require you to quit nicotine: You can buy an electronic cigarette instead. Switching to vaping is almost as good as quitting from a monetary standpoint. It’ll easily cut your daily nicotine expenses in half, if not more.
Stop Buying Premium Gas
We’re currently in a worldwide fuel crisis, and that’s only worsening the effect of this period of high inflation. Gas currently costs about double what it did in 2020 – and with today’s car prices, buying an electric vehicle simply isn’t realistic for most people. You’d probably do just about anything to save a little money at the pump, and some people have made the decision to start buying higher-octane fuel with the hope that it’ll provide superior gas mileage and lead to savings in the long run.
Unfortunately, though, the truth is that using premium fuel doesn’t produce a noticeable benefit in power or fuel economy with most cars and is actually a complete waste of money in many cases. Your car’s engine most likely has a knock sensor and will automatically adjust its timing based on the octane rating of the fuel you use. Unless your car’s manual specifically says that the vehicle requires premium fuel, you’ll probably get virtually the same performance with standard fuel that you do with premium. Ethanol-free gasoline will give you superior fuel economy, but whether you’ll actually save money by switching to E-free depends on the prices in your area. In many cases, the higher price of E-free gas negates the improvement in fuel economy.
Don’t Pay for Cable or Phone Services You Aren’t Using
The modern smartphone has given us the benefit of a lifestyle in which we’re always connected to our friends and loved ones, always able to consume our favorite media on the go and always able to look up any random bit of information regardless of where we happen to be at that time. The downside, though, is that you’re probably paying more for your mobile phone service than you did before you owned a smartphone. It’s entirely possible, in fact, that you’re essentially paying for several Internet connections simultaneously – you have an unlimited phone plan for each member of your family along with a broadband Internet connection for your home.
Meanwhile, you’re probably also paying for a cable TV service that you rarely – if ever – use. You probably watch most of your content on an Internet-connected set-top box.
During a period of high inflation, one of the most effective ways to save money is by eliminating monthly payments for services you don’t actually use. If you watch all of your streaming video content over the Internet, you should consider cancelling your home TV service. If your primary “computer” is your phone, it’s possible that you don’t even require home Internet service. If you’re paying for an unlimited mobile phone plan, why not use that instead? Alternatively, if you do use your home Internet service, it might not be necessary for your mobile phone plan to be unlimited. You can save a great deal of money by switching to a “roll your own” plan and only paying for the data you actually use.
Pick Your Food Up Instead of Ordering Delivery
Many people have jobs that require them to be on call and available to work at unpredictable times – and if that’s the case for you, there’s a good chance that you spend a significant amount of money on food delivery services each week. When you’re exhausted from work, after all, it’s hard to find the motivation to get into the kitchen and cook. Food delivery services, on the other hand, make it possible to get a meal delivered to your door in minutes. It’s very tempting.
The problem with food delivery services, though, is that having food delivered to your door usually means that you’re paying a service charge and may even be paying more for each item than what you’d pay if you ordered from the restaurant directly. To make matters worse, you’re even expected to tip the delivery driver as a percentage of those inflated costs. It’s not uncommon for a delivered meal to cost 20-30 percent more than what you would have paid if you’d picked the meal up yourself. Instead of ordering delivery, visit the restaurant yourself and pick up a take-out meal on your way home from work when you don’t feel like cooking. Although cooking your own meals is always the best way to save money on food when your finances are tight, picking up a take-out meal still costs significantly less than having food delivered.