The U.S. inflation rate has begun to stabilize from month to month, but it’s still higher than it was a year ago. For consumers, high rates are affecting their budgets and causing them to look for creative ways to make extra cash.
If you’re one of those Americans who are trying to fight back against inflation, here are a few places where a change may help you save money.
Cancel streaming services
If you have a subscription to a streaming service such as Netflix, Disney+, or HBO Max, you may have seen a rise in prices in recent months due to inflation. Disney+ in particular made headlines for announcing a price increase.
The good news is that most of these services are month to month, so you won’t be charged a cancellation fee for signing off for a few months. Consider rotating through a different service each month instead of paying for multiple services at the same time.
A whopping 66% of Americans are planning to cut back their subscriptions to save money, according to a Statista survey.
Reduce dining out
During the pandemic, Americans had to flex their cooking skills as restaurants and bars were closed due to quarantine protocols. Even though restaurants are open now, many have had to raise prices due to increases in the cost of ingredients and supplies.
That means it’s time to put your cooking skills to use again by cutting back on dining out. You certainly won’t be alone, as 39% of consumers polled by Statista are also reducing their restaurant, cafe, and bar trips to help fight inflation.
Save on groceries
One of the biggest sectors that have been hit by inflation is food. Food costs were up 11.4% in August compared to a year earlier. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on groceries.
Check online for deals at your local stores or to get coupons, including those offered by food manufacturers. You also may want to pick up generic versions of your favorite products instead of the name brands.
Become a warehouse member
Warehouse retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club may cost you more money when you walk through their aisles, but buying in bulk could save you money in the long run.
You also may want to shop at those stores for non-food items like prescriptions or cleaning supplies to keep money in your wallet.
Cut back on utilities
Utility bills are fixed items on your budget that have to be paid every month. After all, you need water, electricity, and gas for your everyday needs at home.
Adjusting your thermostat a little could save you money when it comes to high-energy appliances like your furnace or air conditioner. And don’t forget to check with your providers about payment options that can help even out seasonal rate spikes.
Save money on gas
Gas has been a big factor for many Americans when it comes to inflation hitting their wallets. Check out different ways you can save money such as using a particular gas station’s app for loyalty rewards.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans in the survey plan to reduce their spending on transportation.
Your membership to stores like Costco or Sam’s Club may save you money if you fill up at their gas stations as well. You can also get cash back every time you fill up with these top credit cards for gas.
Start a side hustle
Instead of cutting money from your budget, try adding some cash to your bottom line with a side hustle.
Consider becoming a shopper for places like Instacart or Shipt, or use your car to be a rideshare driver for Uber or Lyft. You can also try turning a craft or hobby into money by selling things you create online or at local markets.
Pro tip: Find more ideas for making some cash on the side with our list of the best side hustles.
Pay down debt
It may be tough to cut back on your debt, but finding ways to crush your debt now could save you money later.
Interest rates for things like mortgages or credit cards have been going up in recent months, so consider paying those down sooner to avoid additional debt.
Open a savings account
If you’re able to save a little extra cash each month, consider investing it in a high-yield savings account. These let you earn more money on your savings and could help offset any cost increases due to inflation.
You also may want to check with your bank or financial institution about other products they may have to help you earn money.
Find new ways to travel
Traveling for vacation or business may have a big price tag on it, particularly with inflation affecting gas and food. Instead, consider checking out local attractions near you like museums or parks you don’t normally visit.
You may also be able to save money on your next trip by booking your vacation through Costco or other retailers. And remember to check directly with resorts. They may offer additional incentives if you book through them rather than a third party.
Pro tip: You can also earn airline and hotel points for your next trip with these top travel credit cards.
Put the brakes on transportation costs
Cars, trucks, and SUVs are expensive to operate during high inflation not just because of gas. You may also be spending money on insurance, maintenance, and other fees.
Check with your provider to see if there are ways you can save money on car insurance. Set aside some cash for regular maintenance like oil changes or tire rotation, which could save you from a major repair bill later on.
And if you’re paying off a car loan, your provider may be able to help you refinance or renegotiate for a better rate that could bring down your monthly cost.
Do home maintenance yourself
Being a homeowner can cost quite a bit of money due to common monthly expenses as well as repairs or other issues that crop up. But you may be surprised at common fixes you can do yourself instead of paying someone to do it for you.
Look online for the best ways to paint a wall, fix a toilet, or repair a door handle. And remember to get different estimates for repairs you can’t do by yourself to find the best deal.
Save on supplies for your hobbies
When you’re stressed out about everyday expenses, it may be a good idea to retreat into a favorite hobby.
You may be surprised, however, to find that your hobby could be hurting your budget. In fact, 30% of consumers in the Statista survey say they plan to reduce spending on their hobbies to fight inflation.
Look for supplies online or at garage sales instead of buying them from stores. Your local library can also be a great place to check out books rather than buy them. You may be surprised at other things you can get access to for your particular hobby or interest.
Create a budget
Regardless of where you decide to cut costs to fight against inflation, the best option to help you out is a budget.
Create a monthly budget you revisit regularly to rebalance it as your needs change. Remember to factor in everyday costs as well as one-time expenditures.
Don’t forget to add space in your monthly budget to save money for an emergency fund, savings account, or retirement investments for the future.
Pro tip: If the idea of budgeting scares you, these popular budgeting apps can make it easy and maybe even fun.
Inflation may be hard on your wallet, but there are ways you can battle back to help ease your financial stress. Remember to get creative and find different options that may work for you.
Keep in mind that saving even a little bit here or there can add up and put you on the right side of your money when inflation goes down.