15 creative tips during inflation

Struggling to keep up with rising costs and need ways to save your money?

You pay a lot more for your groceries (eggs are up 32.2% and meat 14%). Filling up your gas tank leaves you speechless (the average price is $4.35 per gallon). Buying or leasing a new car is impossible because prices are up and supply is down. Utility bills keep climbing, and if you have money left over for the holidays, beware as airfares are up about 30% from last year.

It’s inflation.

“Inflation is a tax that reduces your purchasing power due to higher powers,” said Barbara O’Neill, a professor at Rutgers University who specializes in financial resource management.

Individuals and families can make decisions to help them through this costlier time, O’Neill said. Below are tips she says will help cut some expenses and make the dollar last longer.

Save money with these tips

  • Stay away from the housing and auto markets at this time if possible.
  • Reduce your risk of medical costs by getting your flu shot, getting regular physical exams and screenings, exercising regularly, and taking necessary medications.
  • Ask for generic prescription drugs and opt for the 90-day supply of drugs by mail instead of a 30-day supply at a local pharmacy.
  • Save on energy costs by closing off unused rooms, checking weather stripping and caulking, and improving attic insulation. A free energy audit can also be useful
  • Make smarter grocery decisions by buying items on sale and selecting generic or store brands, and shop at flea and farmer’s markets near closing time when items are on sale.
  • Buy gently used clothes from consignment stores. Look for sales on furniture and appliances and shop at thrift stores, garage sales and online auctions.
  • Be flexible when traveling by looking for airfares with weekend or midweek specials, and be flexible on travel dates. Avoid peak dates and times.
  • Choose the right vehicle to drive by looking at those that cost less than average to insure and look for discounts such as “safe driver” rates and premium reductions for short distances.
  • Buy a car that has just been used, about two to three years old, so a lot of depreciation has already taken place.
  • Use restaurant discount codes such as “early bird specials”, take a “dog bag” of food home for another meal, eat an appetizer as a meal, and eat out instead of dinner . Lunch meals are less expensive.
  • Choose a cell phone plan that offers packages for TV, Internet, and phone services. They are cheaper.
  • Pay your bills electronically and, if you’re concerned about bank security, use a prepaid debit card to avoid postage charges.
  • Pay credit cards in full to avoid interest charges. A cash back credit card is also useful. Avoid credit cards with annual fees and no grace period.
  • When it comes to utilities, play with your thermostat. Try to have the least difference between indoor and outdoor temperature to save money.
  • Investment advice: “If you have a long-term investment strategy, stick to it and don’t panic,” O’Neill said.