Let’s face it: the cost of living is fighting off our butts. If you are wondering why you are having trouble moving forward, it is because the game is rigged against you.
While wages have risen over the past two decades, they have not kept pace with inflation. To make matters worse, the cost of large purchases, such as homes, cars, and college degrees, has risen Faster from the pace of inflation. In other words, the cost of everything goes up much faster than your salary.
The government has an easy way to measure this – something called the Consumer Price Index, which is basically the price of common things we pay for all the averages together. The Bureau of Labor Statistics compared prices in February 2021 to those of the previous year, and found that grocery prices were up 3.5%!
In the big picture, the cost of living has essentially doubled over the past 30 years, according to a number of studies and a cost-of-living calculator from the American Institute for Economic Research.
Are you having trouble keeping up? We have seven financial moves you can start making today:
1. Lower your food budget by planning ahead
Grocery is a big part of the high cost of living, so it’s a great savings target. Try to prepare for the next week with some meal planning.
This goes beyond just creating a shopping list. Real meal planning helps you save money because it helps you use what you buy, and prevents wastage of food and money. It also prevents you from spending extra cash on emergency lunches or eating out late at night.
First, figure out how many meals you are responsible for preparing each week. If it were only you, your answer might be 21: Seven breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you have a family, count the number of meals per person – dinner for three counts as three dinners, even if you all ate the same.
Now find out how much food you’ll need to buy to get to your next grocery trip. If you buy the same items over and over, you know what items to stock when they go on sale. Stocking discounted items also helps you freeze meals for the future. If there is a way to buy in bulk and prepare the foods you eat often, do it!
2. They get paid every time you buy toilet paper
No matter how strategic you are, groceries are still a big part of your budget. Everyone has to eat. You can also get a little cash back while packing your groceries.
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for purchasing toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, simply take a picture of your receipt showing that you’ve purchased an item from one of the brands listed on Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards.
Over a million people already have them, so they must be onto something.
3. Stop Overpaying for Online Stuff
With the cost of everything so high, you have to keep an eye on every penny. Wouldn’t it be nice if you ever get an alert when you’re shopping on Amazon or Walmart.com and you’re about to fall?
That’s exactly what this free service does.
Simply add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay, and others to see if your item is available at a cheaper rate. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price drop alerts, and even see an item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes and assume you’ve found the best price. A popup will appear letting you know if that particular shoe is available elsewhere at a cheaper rate. If there are any coupon codes available, they will be automatically applied to your order. *
Last year, this saved people $160 million.
You can get started with a few clicks to see if you are overpaying online.
4. Get $540 per year of your car insurance in minutes
Every dollar counts here. Reducing necessary expenses can make a big difference. So when was the last time you checked auto insurance rates?
You should shop your options every six months or so – it might save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. This is probably not the first thing you think of when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
The website called Insure.com makes it very easy to compare car insurance rates. All you have to do is enter your zip code and age, and it will show you your options.
By using Insure.com, people saved an average of $540 per year.
Yes. That might be $500 in your pocket just to take a few minutes to consider your options.
5. Stop paying your credit card company
Talk about the rising cost of living: Credit card debt is the most expensive type of debt, and your credit card company gets richer by tearing you apart with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne can help you fight back.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan that you can use to pay off each of your balances.
Benefit? You will have one bill left to pay each month. And since interest rates on personal loans are low (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll be out of debt. who – which Much faster. Plus: no credit card payments this month.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in the business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry – they won’t send you spam emails with phone calls.
6. Add $225 to your wallet to watch the news only
Keeping up with the cost of living is a little easier when you can add a little more income. for example:
It’s been a historic time for news, and we’re all constantly refreshed to get the latest updates. You probably know more than one news junkie who fantasizes about himself as a respiratory expert or political mastermind.
And research companies want to pay you to keep watching. You can add up to $225 per month into your pocket by signing up for a free account with InboxDollars. They will give you short news segments to choose from each day, and then ask you some questions about them.
You just have to answer honestly, and InboxDollars will keep paying you every month. This may sound too good to be true, but it has already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about a minute to sign up, and start getting paid for watching the news.
7. Leave up to a million dollars for your family
As the cost of living continues to rise, have you ever thought about how to run your family without your income after you are gone?
How will they pay the bills? Sending children through school? This is the time to start planning for the future by looking at a life insurance policy.
You might be thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you can leave your family running up to a million dollars with a company called Bestow. Life insurance rates start at just $16 per month.
There has been an increase in interest in life insurance during the pandemic, as more Americans realize they may need it. Also, more people are looking for life insurance without a screening because they don’t want to go to the doctor’s office for an in-person check-up. Companies like Bestow use algorithms rather than medical tests to evaluate applicants.
If you are under 54 and want to get a quick quote on life insurance without leaving your home, get a free quote from Bestow.
In short, keeping up with the cost of living is tough. But following these seven steps can give you a boost.
Mike Brasfield ([email protected]) is a featured writer for The Penny Hoarder. He, too, struggles to keep up with the cost of living.
* Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.