If you feel like your budget is being blown by the current inflation rates, here are a few tips for you to stretch your dollar with the rising inflation costs!
Don't Waste Gas
Gas prices are consistently rising at the pump and depending on the type of vehicle you drive, you could expect to spend upwards of $100 each time you fill up. To help make your tank of gas last longer, consider:
- Mapping out errands to find the most efficient route
- Packing a lunch and eating at work
- Reducing your driving speed by 5-10 mph to improve fuel economy
- Turn your car off when waiting in drive-thru or school pick up lines
Reduce Your Energy Bill
Energy bills can really add up when you are trying to keep your home cool in the summer or warm in the winter. Good news is, there are a few things you could do around your home to save a few bucks on your bill each month:
- Seal up drafty doors and windows
- Use LED lightbulbs instead of incandescent bulbs
- Take shorter showers
- Wash your laundry using cold water
Set Up A Budget
Having a budget in mind will substantially lower the financial stress in your life when you're trying to stretch your dollar. Using a zero-based budget will give each dollar of your income a purpose. This method means that your income minus your expenses equals zero, which eliminates unnecessary mindless spending. To set up a budget, ask yourself a few questions:
- Review your monthly bank statements. What do I spend my money on each month?
- How can I save money on some of my biggest expenses?
- Is getting a second job something that could work for me?
- What extra expenses, like gourmet coffee or takeout, could I cut out?
Shop Smarter For Groceries
Before you go to the store, make a menu and list out the ingredients that you'll need for each meal, stick to this list and only buy what you need. After your grocery trip, consider meal prepping so come lunchtime each day, you are not contemplating going through a fast-food drive thru! Here are a few tips to help you shop smarter next time you are at the store:
- Buying generic brands rather than name brand products will help you save money.
- Instead of fresh produce, consider buying frozen goods. Frozen fruits and veggies last much longer resulting in less waste.
- Look for coupons or stores that offer fuel discounts or other perks.
- Consider buying staple products such as rice or potatoes that produce many meals for a smaller cost.
Pay Off Debt
Paying off monthly debt obligations can free up more money per month that can be put towards other expenses. Making the minimum payment on accrued debt each month is important and will keep your credit from falling. And, if you find yourself with $50 extra in your budget, put it towards that debt. Not only will this keep you on track to be debt free quicker, but it will also get you one step closer to financial freedom in the future.
Sarah is the Media Specialist at Heartland Bank. She graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a degree in Communication Studies. Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and friends and organizing and decorating her home.