If you feel your budget has been tight lately, there's a good reason for it. We are living in unprecedented times and currently witnessing an economic crisis. Inflation rates in the United States and around the world are high and getting higher every day. While we might not like to acknowledge it, things are getting more challenging, and it's the reality for many people.
The inflation rate is higher than it's been since the early 1980s; the US annual inflation rate reached 9.1% in June 2022 - the highest it has been in 40 years!
Almost everything you regularly purchase is more expensive than it was a year ago. Prices of goods and services are increasing rapidly- faster than wages. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, food and electricity costs have each increased by 7.9%, gasoline prices are 38% higher, clothes are now 6.6% more expensive, used vehicles have increased by 41.2%, and even medical care costs are up 2.5%. No one knows if these prices will continue to increase through the end of the year.
The sad part is that wages are not increasing at the same rate as inflation, so you might struggle to keep up with your budget. You are earning the same amount but spending more. So how can you reduce your expenditure in relation to the amount in your bank account? Don't panic - following these few tips can help you more easily afford things you need.
Firstly, you need to know what you're spending on to decide what expenses are unnecessary. Look at your monthly and weekly expenses. Are there things you don't need? Do you have a monthly subscription that you can cancel, such as a video or music streaming service, pricey monthly gym subscription, cable tv, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, or unused health club membership? Do you pay someone to keep your house clean? Consider cleaning your house yourself while saving money until these prices come down. If you work outside your home, pack homemade lunch instead of going out to eat. Over time, you will notice a significant difference from the reduction in small expenses.
Making small changes to how you consume energy in your home can reduce your energy bill by a whopping 25%. However, the cost of keeping the temperature comfortable, water flowing, and light bulbs on can leave a dent in your pocket. You can start by turning off the lights when you don't need them, purchasing energy-efficient appliances, washing clothes in cold water, adjusting your fridge and freezer temperature, fixing leaky ductwork, adjusting the temperature on your water heater, taking shorter showers, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with led light bulbs.
Don't Waste Gas.
Currently, a tank of gas can cost you anywhere between $50 to $100 or more, depending on the type of vehicle you drive. To make each tank last longer, you can plan your trips efficiently. For example, whenever you go to the store, make a list of all the items you need in a week and make one big trip. If you have to run multiple errands daily, connect the routes in the most efficient way possible to avoid wasting gas. You also don't need to drive your car everywhere; you can walk. It's an excellent way to be fit and save money. Also, try reducing your speed by 5 to 10 miles per hour when you drive. This can improve your fuel economy by 14%. Finally, switch off your car while waiting in a fast food drive through. An idling car can use up to a half gallon of gas per hour!
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