The world has been experiencing record highs of inflation the past year and while we don’t know how this will play out in the near future, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon but it is possible to counter inflation in 2022 with these frugal hacks that will save money and offset rising prices.
According to the bureau of labor statistics prices are now up 5.3% as of August 2021.
This is a huge jump, making it almost impossible for you to not be feeling a pinch in your monthly budget.
Many are fortunate to be able to depend on a raise at the beginning of the year, only it’s possible your raise may go unnoticed as the higher cost of living will eat up the margin.
And increased costs can often lead to increased financial stress – especially if you’re someone who is not guaranteed a raise in the new year.
How to Counter Inflation in 2022
Looking at ways to live a more frugal lifestyle and adopting frugal habits to lower household expenses can help you counter inflation as prices continue to rise.
In addition to trying to cut expenses, it’s also important to continue to increase your income over time; however, with the holidays right around the corner life inevitably gets busier so finding time to work extra hours or start a side hustle may prove difficult.
Counter inflation in 2022 with these frugal hacks to save money and stretch your dollar.
Start working to create new habits now so they’ll be second nature by the new year!
Save Money with Cashback Apps
Using cashback apps is one of the easiest ways to save money.
I have been able to save a substantial amount of money over the years (to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of dollars over the past couple of years) by using multiple cashback apps!
TopCashback has both an app and a website but I prefer to use the desktop version.
TopCashback also has a Chrome extension (similar to Rakuten) that notifies you when you’re on a website that has an active cashback offer – this feature makes it virtually impossible to miss out on earning cashback when shopping online.
I especially love this site specifically because they pass off 100% of their commission to the consumer (that’s us) so you earn a higher percentage of cashback when shopping through TopCashback versus many of the other cashback sites.
One drawback I’ve noticed is the website can sometimes be a bit sluggish however the higher percentage of cashback far outweighs the site speed for me.
Plus TopCashback partners with over 4,000 online retailers so there’s a high probability you’ll have plenty of opportunities to earn cashback.
Cut Back on Food Costs
Scaling back your grocery bill always feels hard because we all love to eat but with prices soaring you’ve likely seen your weekly food costs follow suit.
For most, food is one of our largest household expenses…usually, second to our actual housing costs.
I know that may be shocking but that’s good news because when we are spending a lot of money in a specific budget category that usually means there are a lot of opportunities to cut costs in that same category.
Taking steps to lower your grocery bills will help you counter inflation by offsetting the higher food prices.
Order Groceries Online to Save Money
If you aren’t yet ordering your groceries online, you’re missing out!
I know groceries and fresh produce may seem like a funny thing to shop for online but it is a game-changer.
Not only does it save you so much time, offer so much convenience, and avoid so much frustration standing in the long lines and dealing with the crowds but it really helps you to stick to your budget as you’re shopping.
You can keep an eye on your virtual cart total and always see how much over budget you may be going – or if you’re under budget and have some wiggle room to add additional items.
Ordering your groceries online allows you to easily edit your cart to remove items without having to go back through the store to put things back once you’ve realized you’ve spent too much money.
Lastly, it helps curb those spontaneous purchases you make while standing in line waiting to check out (this is always a struggle for me)!
I’ve used Walmart Grocery Pickup for years now, both my husband and I love it – and we’ve never looked back 😆
Cut Food Costs with Meal Planning
Consistent meal planning helped us slash our grocery bill in half and get out of debt much more quickly.
Maybe meal planning sounds like a giant pain to you but I promise you, once you get in the habit it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
In fact, once you successfully integrate meal planning into your weekly (or monthly) routine it can be done in just a couple of minutes each week.
(Rather have someone else create your meal plans for you? This is my very favorite meal planning option…completely done-for-you and SO affordable!)
Plus, over time you’ll develop your own system and flow and you’ll find it makes life so much easier.
TIRED OF BUSTING YOUR FOOD BUDGET EACH WEEK?
Consistent meal planning helped us slash our food budget in half!
Creating an intentional plan for food shopping, preparing meals, and reducing food waste will save you thousands of dollars every year…
Click the button below for your free planner.
Stock Up on Essentials During Sales
In addition to the rising prices, unfortunately, we are starting to see a lot of shortages again.
I’m sure you have seen the images of all of the freighter ships sitting in the ocean and heard of the supply chain issues the world is currently experiencing.
These factors are causing us to begin seeing shortages at the grocery stores again of meat, other food items, and common household products like cleaners and toilet paper.
Being intentional when you are planning out your shopping trip for the week can help you better prepare and be able to stock up on staples when they’re on sale at a good price.
Take a quick look in your pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator when creating your meal plan to see if you have all the staples you need.
Is there something your family uses that would have a big impact on running your household efficiently if you had to go without?
Plan ahead to maintain a small stock of any items you consider to be essential and research to determine when and where these items will be on sale at a good price so you can budget accordingly and allow yourself to purchase a bit more than you normally would.
Having a backup will ensure you’re not affected by any shortages that may be coming your way and also allow you to get the best price possible so you’re not subject to possible price gouging in the future.
Note: Be sure to only purchase what you need to be prepared and not “panic buy” and fill your entire basement with toilet paper.
Embrace Minimalism to Lower Expenses
Yes, minimalism has been having a moment the past few years, but I think it’s often over-exaggerated.
The media seems to only depict the extremely minimalist lifestyle, but embracing minimalism does not mean you have to sell everything you own and sleep on the floor.
Instead, minimalism can simply mean cutting back on some of the excesses in our lives.
It’s already a great time of the year to purge your home of unused or unwanted items with the holidays coming since many of us will see a number of new items entering our homes.
Embracing minimalism may also look like scaling down holiday celebrations in some ways.
If you’re hosting Christmas dinner, try turning it into a potluck so each guest can contribute instead of one person having to spend hundreds of dollars to host the family celebration.
Maybe embracing minimalism for Christmas morning looks like changing up the way you usually shop for your kids and buying more meaningful gifts…
Maybe it means sitting down and actually creating an intentional holiday budget for the first time ever…
Maybe it looks like making some of your Christmas gifts and decorations this year instead of purchasing them…
Consider implementing these changes together with your kids or as a family and maybe even create new traditions that last for years to come and help you experience more joy as a family this holiday season…
Embracing minimalism in your day-to-day life could look like borrowing things you may only need once or twice instead of purchasing them and ultimately having to store them year-round…
Or, it could look like repairing things you do use often instead of purchasing a new one if it breaks or is damaged…
Even moving things around in your house and shopping from other rooms in your home to create a more minimalist aesthetic instead of swinging by Target each time you want a new tchotchke for your shelf is a great way to embrace small minimalistic habits.
» READ MORE: 5 Best Financial Tools To Manage Your Money Better
Negotiate Your Bills
Now is a perfect time to contact your service providers and try to negotiate rates on things like utilities, insurance premiums, and especially any outstanding medical bills that you may have.
With so many people out of work, there are a huge number of bills going unpaid, and believe it or not, most companies would prefer to give you a reduced rate or allow you to settle past due bills for a smaller balance, which allows them to recoup a portion of the balance instead of risking you defaulting altogether and not paying anything.
It may feel funny to ask for a discount and yes, it can be annoying to deal with terrible hold music and being transferred around from person to person, but more often than not, you will be surprised at how much money you can save with just one phone call.
Tips to negotiate your bills:
- You catch more flies with honey – be kind, polite, and remember the person on the other end of the line is simply doing their job.
- Smile when you’re talking – people can hear that smile through the phone. The more pleasant you are, the more likely somebody will be to work with you to try and reduce your rate (or at the very least transfer you to the right person who can help you with your request).
- Don’t be afraid to call multiple times. It’s inevitable that you’ll be told “no” here and there. It’s possible to receive different information or responses from multiple different people within the same company. If you get a “no”, simply call back again. It’s likely you’ll get a different employee on the line – and will probably have to go through the entire request again – but you never know when you’ll catch the right person at the right time and be able to save yourself a ton of money!
Review Your Budget and Spending
It’s a great idea to get into the habit of doing this every six-ish months regardless of your financial and economic situation but if you’re not doing so, I encourage you to carve out some time this week to sit down with your spouse or partner and review your budget and spending.
If you’re not currently tracking your spending, make this a priority for a couple of weeks and be sure to review the spending data you collect in detail.
Remember, your budget should reflect your priorities and values in life – this should be true whether you have a lot or a little extra in your budget.
Your spending is telling you exactly what you are prioritizing so if you take a look at your budget and notice you’re paying for eight streaming services but you can’t seem to find any extra to afford the co-pay to take your child to the doctor even though you believe your children are your priority your budget is painting a different picture.
Your budget is telling you that your priority is watching movies or TV.
Once you have a good idea of what your budget is trying to tell you, you’re able to make adjustments.
You’re able to cut expenses that don’t align with your values, you’re able to change where you’re spending your money, and you’re able to shift your spending so it accurately reflects your priorities.
If you are really struggling to pay your bills and be able to stick to your budget during these times it’s probably a good idea to start from scratch and create a bare-bones budget, which will allow you to survive on much less than you may be living on now.
Learn How to Say No
This last habit may be the most important one…learn to say “no”.
Did you know the word “no” is a complete sentence?
It absolutely is.
It doesn’t require justification…
It doesn’t require an explanation…
You don’t have to feel bad or guilty about your “no’s”.
As a lifelong people-pleaser, I realize how tough this can be. But sometimes we simply have to say “no”. If something doesn’t fit into your budget, you can say “no”…
If you don’t want to spend money on something that is making you feel bad, you can say “no”…
If there’s something you really, really want to spend money on but you know deep down inside it’s just an emotional purchase and won’t actually fulfill you in any way, you can say “no” to yourself too…
Practice saying “no” and not feeling guilty about it. Practice saying “no” and not feeling as though you have to explain yourself.
Depending on your specific situation you may just find that this super-simple tip ends up saving you more money than any of the others discussed above.
Making these frugal habits part of your life will help you fight rising prices and counter inflation so you can reduce financial stress and start your year off right.
Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.