With inflation reaching 9.1% in June (the highest we have seen in 40 years), it can be difficult to keep up with the higher prices and added expenses. But not all hope is lost! Below are a few ways to conserve your money without having to eliminate the joys of life.
Use Public Transportation
As gasoline prices continue to skyrocket all over the country (some cities and states seeing record numbers), an effective way to alleviate the cost is by utilizing the public transportation system your city provides. Overall, you can save a significant amount of money. Not only will you save on gas and other maintenance expenses by using your vehicle less, but it is also better for the environment.
You could even go a step further and start riding a bike more often. This will decrease your expenses even more, is increasingly better for the environment, and can also provide great health benefits such as a decrease in stress and body fat levels while increasing the strength of your bones and muscles.
Make a Meal Plan
By planning your meals ahead of time, you won’t feel the need to buy unnecessary food items while grocery shopping for the week, and you’ll also be able to cut down on food waste. You can also plan the servings big enough to have leftovers throughout the week, saving you the extra costs and time spent making more food. By spending more time planning your meals at the beginning of the week, you can significantly decrease your overall costs in time and money during the week.
Shop at Thrift Stores
Thrift store shopping has proven to be an effective way to save money, without foregoing the experience of adding to your wardrobe. You can eliminate the costs of spending on new and designer items and contribute to the betterment of the environment by buying clothing second-hand.
Only at thrift stores can you find special or “vintage” pieces of clothing and accessories that may not be available anywhere else, which creates an exciting and unique experience.
Find Creative Ways to Spend Time With Friends
Not all of your hangouts have to involve going on a shopping spree or eating out at restaurants. With the right group of people, you can have a good time no matter what! Make some food at home and go for a picnic, stay inside for a movie night, take nature walks together and turn it into a photo shoot, or host a board game night. There are plenty of ways to spend time with friends while saving money in the process. In fact, the interactions you have can be more special and natural when you think of creative ways to have a good time!
Cut Down on Leisure Items
Whether it’s your daily Starbucks drink or a monthly subscription you barely use, cutting down on items that aren’t necessities can decrease your expenses significantly. Recurring expenses can be easy to ignore when the subscription provider automatically charges your card each month, or when getting a daily Starbucks coffee has become second nature, but it is important to visually identify the expenses that continue to drain your bank account (many of these luxuries will do that). Doing this can incentivize you to spend less and save more.
Create a Budget
One of the most efficient ways to save money is to create a budget and stick to it. It is very easy to spend more money than you can afford when you don’t have a clear idea of how much money you have to work with. Visually draft out your income and necessary or fixed expenses and see where you can cut back on spending in other places. If you have some extra money at the end, prioritize savings before you spend on extra luxuries.
While this inflation season can be a difficult time for many, these are some solutions that can make this time more bearable and less stressful for your bank account. It can require discipline to change your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you have to forego all of the pleasures and experiences of life. By practicing habits like these, you will produce long-term results in savings and other benefits.
This blog was written by Haika Mrema, Vice President of NeW at Baylor University.