How To Save Money As Inflation and Consumer Prices Rise

Prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs rose 2.2 percent in September from the month before. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Like a guest who overstays his welcome, inflation is getting on our nerves. For people with enough income or savings, rising prices are just an annoyance. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, inflation means a much harder time paying for food, gas and other items. It could mean skipped meals or late rental payments.

The latest inflation data, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed prices increasing 9.1 percent over the same period a year ago. Increases in prices for housing and energy — fuel, oil, gasoline, and electricity — were the largest contributors to the uptick. The higher cost of food also drove inflation.

“Inflation has been a surprising and unwelcome guest seeming to persist at an elevated level at a time when we’re all hoping to put the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic behind,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate. “Like the pandemic-caused downturn itself, it exacerbates wealth and income inequality. The wealthy can adjust. Those on lower incomes, not so much. It is as if some people just can’t catch a much-needed break.”

Predictions last year that rising prices might be temporary were wrong. So, until things stabilize, here’s how to handle increases in consumer prices.

Five charts explaining why inflation is at a near 40-year high

What changes should I make to my budget to beat inflation?

Coping with inflation comes down to reviewing how you spend your money. Even if you’ve cut until it hurts, you’re going to have to look for additional trims.For instance, could you take in a roommate or move in with someone to reduce your housing costs?

No, the housing market isn’t in a bubble. But there still are many things to worry about in 2022.

Obvious places to cut are eating out, streaming services and unnecessary car trips. When was the last time you looked at your mobile plan?Use apps and the Internet to find lower prices, including for gasoline.

“When prices aren’t changing all that much, people may be inclined to invest less of their time shopping, thinking that it might not make all that much of a difference,” Hamrick said. “Think of shopping right now as investing time to find better deals.”

Supply-chain disruptions continue to push consumer prices up. One way to cope is to put off unnecessary purchases until supply issues are resolved and prices go down. “Whether it’s an updated iPhone or another piece of clothing to mostly hang in the closet, most Americans simply consume more than they need to,” Hamrick said.

Is there anything I can do to reduce my food costs?

In an inflationary environment, substitutions can be your financial friend.

Here’s why your food prices keep going up

Food prices have been rising largely because of weather-related shortages, transportation issues and lack of staffing. Meat and fish prices are going up faster than vegetable prices, so take that into consideration in your at-home meal planning.Hamrick said he went shopping to make crab cakes and saw that the price for crabmeat was up 50 percent.

“I bought chicken thighs and cooked them at a fraction of the price,” he said. “Now’s the time to try to spend time when possible preparing meals at home, using lower-cost items as much as possible.”

Four ways Americans are feeling inflation

Should I change how I invest for retirement?

Inflation doesn’t really change what you should have been doing all along, which is diversifying, said Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner who founded the fee-only Life Planning Partners, based in Jacksonville, Fla.

“Through thick and thin, the best way to prepare for any economic environment is to have a diversified portfolio,” McClanahan said. “If you aren’t already practicing diversification, now is the time to make that change.”

If you’re an ultraconservative saver who has shied away from stocks because you’re scared of the stock market, you might want to consider that inflation is also a risk. If you don’t at least keep pace with inflation, you’re losing the purchasing power of your money.

“Where interest rates are right now, investors need to take on slightly more risk to get a return that may beat inflation,” said Ben Bakkum, quantitative investing associate at the digital adviser firm Betterment.

Inflation is soaring. Time to rethink your emergency savings.

Is there anything I can do to take advantage of inflation?

If you have some cash that you don’t think you’ll need for a while, consider purchasing bonds, McClanahan recommends.Inflation-indexed Series I savings bonds, which are issued by the Treasury Department, allow investors to earn a combination of a fixed interest rate and the rate of inflation, adjusted semiannually.

The composite rate for I bonds issued from May through the end of Oct. is now 9.62 percent, a portion of which is indexed to inflation every six months. To buy and own an electronic I bond, you must establish a TreasuryDirect account. Go to treasurydirect.gov.

6 key things to know about inflation-indexed bonds paying 9.62 percent

Is there any good news about inflation?

If you receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you’ll see your payments go up because of rising consumer prices. The Social Security Administration announced a 5.9 percent benefit increase for 2022.

Social Security benefits to rise 5.9 percent for roughly 70 million people in 2022

And, if inflation relents next year, which some believe is possible as supply chains normalize, Social Security recipients will continue to get the higher payments anyway, Hamrick said.

Additionally, one of the few potentially beneficial effects of inflation will be that the Federal Reserve may well lift benchmark rates sooner rather than later, and more than previously believed, he said. That’s welcome news for savers. “Previously miserly returns on savings should begin to rise,” Hamrick said.

What scaremongering about inflation gets wrong

It’s hard not to panic about inflation when your paycheck doesn’t go as far as you need. Still, keep things in perspective. It’s not the 1970s, when prices skyrocketed. “Recent headlines about increasing inflation have been alarming, but inflation itself is not abnormal if it’s not out of control,” Bakkum said.

By

Source: How to save money as inflation and consumer prices rise – The Washington Post

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Related contents:

What changes should I make to my budget to beat inflation?

Is there anything I can do to reduce my food costs?

Should I change how I invest for retirement?

Is there anything I can do to take advantage of inflation?

Is there any good news about inflation?

Brazil reduces to 5.85% official inflation forecast for 2022 The Rio Times

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Zappable   https://jvz3.com/c/202927/367328/

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