Inflation. It’s affecting almost every industry, individual and aspect of our lives. While it’s uncertain how long inflation will last or its long-term effects, you can take strategic steps today to help protect your finances from its impact.
- Modify your budget for today’s costs. It’s always a good habit to revisit your budget when any life change occurs – like earning a raise, paying off a debt or purchasing a home; but it’s especially important to review now to adjust for today’s higher prices. First, review your income and spending habits. When you’re ready to refresh your spending plan, focus on your current needs and priorities, including short-term savings and long-term goals. By making room in your financial plan for your most important needs and wants, you can still meet your money goals!
- Look for savings opportunities when you shop. As the popularity of online shopping has grown, so has the opportunity for savings. Look for apps that can save you money in certain stores or on certain types of purchases. We all pay attention to the cost per gallon of gas or a gallon of milk, but do we do the same for laundry detergent or ice cream? It may be difficult to compare prices when brands use different measures, like ounces versus pounds, but you may be surprised how much can be saved by comparison shopping. When purchasing non-perishables, buying in larger quantities may save you money per item. A little research can go a long way towards savings on everyday purchases.
- Evaluate your recurring charges. As you review your spending, pay attention to those charges that are set up on auto pay. There may be membership and subscription services you can reduce or eliminate. It also pays to ask about discounts for the services you choose to keep. For example, you may be surprised at how much money you can save by paying annually instead of monthly. Find resources from your utility companies to save on energy bills. Every dollar saved each month adds up to substantial savings over time.
- Empower yourself for negotiation. The strategies you use to comparison shop on groceries can also be applied to other services – such as Internet, insurance and medical providers. Compare plans and prices to give yourself negotiation power with your current network service provider. The insurance industry is also competitive, so shopping around periodically can be a benefit. Another major expense for many is paying off medical bills. Many medical providers are willing to work with you to reduce monthly payments, sometimes even forgiving a portion of the debt. Whatever your expenses, you most likely have the ability to negotiate your out-of-pocket cost.
- When in doubt, talk to a professional. If you have questions about the impact of inflation on you and your financial plan, schedule time to talk to an expert about a strategy for your unique needs. Our friendly and knowledgeable professionals at Arvest are ready to help.
As almost everything continues to get more expensive, you can protect yourself by taking control of your spending, savings and investment habits. Updating your budget, negotiating your regular bills and cutting and adjusting your expenses are all smart money moves that can help as you deal with the effects of inflation. For additional resources on how to strengthen your spending plan, visit TheSkimm*.
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