Ouch! Did you feel that? It’s the pinch of a changing economy! Statistics show that families are spending on average $350 per month more on basic necessities than they were just a year ago. Gas prices and groceries are at an astounding high. When income remains the same and everything else is going up, it’s time to get creative.
Some say these times may last for a while, so here are a few tips to weather this economic storm:
- Food – When it comes to food, it’s time to become a bargain shopper and coupon clipper. The sales paper is now a hot commodity, so track those bargains both online and in print then take advantage of these deals.
Shopping at wholesale and discount stores will also ease the sting of elevated grocery prices. Make a grocery list, and stick to it. Invest in foods that have a longer shelf life and come in quantities that can be rationed over time.
Cook dishes in larger quantities then freeze portions that can be served later. This saves time and money.
Lastly, avoid shopping with the kids if you can. They don’t always understand what it means to tighten the belt and can convince you to buy higher price items, unnecessary products and even a few impulse buys. Don’t do it!
- Gas – Who would have thought that gas would average more than $5 a gallon? Time to make some changes like cutting down on random ventures by car. Map out your daily travel and cut destinations that aren’t necessary or can be combined with another trip.
Take public transportation or carpool when it makes sense.
Consider investing in a bike, electric car or a smaller vehicle if gas is a main expense for your livelihood.
Use apps like “GasBuddy” to help find the cheapest gas near you.
Finally, just stay home! Date night in, family game night and other domestic activities help save coins without eliminating the fun factor.
- Monthly Bills – The unfortunate circumstance is that our monthly bills will not cease just because the cost of food, fuel, etc. is on the rise. Regular communication with debtors is a must. Reach out to your credit card companies, utility provider, cell phone carrier, etc. to see if there are any cost savings or special payment plans available to help keep your payment history in tact.
As hard as this may be to hear, there may be some amenities that you have to let go. For example, cable is a luxury; food is a necessity. Make a list of what can go and what needs to stay. Your bottom line might just depend on it.
After exploring all of the tips above, it wouldn’t hurt to make an appointment with a financial advisor. Most offer complimentary consultations and can offer even more sound advice on balancing a budget during these tight times.
Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a complimentary consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email [email protected] and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!
Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 3801 Ridge Road, Highland, IN 46322, which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.