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Frugality Fights Inflation

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

July 5, 2022

With inflation now eating away at the average family’s monthly budget. We’ll share some ideas today about what you can do about it. To get an idea of how serious inflation is, a survey by the market research firm NPD Group showed that 4 out of 5 Americans now say they’ll cut back spending, buying cheaper products or fewer of them. So we might learn a trick or two from folks who’ve always been frugal. A recent Wall Street Journal article showed how some of these penny pinchers are taking their game to the next level to fight inflation. For example, some folks are now calling wholesalers to see if they have distressed food items with damaged packing at a lower price. Another tactic taking an entire month off from any spending that isn’t absolutely critical, like food, shelter, and transportation. They’re also overhauling their monthly budget to see if there’s anywhere they can save a few dollars. One gentleman in the Journal article needed about $7, 000 in roof repairs but did it himself for only $1, 000. Now, we wouldn’t recommend something like that for everyone, but maybe there are other simple home repairs and improvements that you can take on yourself. Examples might be: fixing a leaky pipe or replacing a faucet; painting the interior or exterior of your home; unclogging a garbage disposal; Hanging wallpaper; or installing a light fixture. These days you can find more Youtube videos than you can shake a screwdriver at for fixing just about anything. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always call in a contractor. But it never hurts to try, and you could save some cash that you can apply elsewhere in your budget. Some very frugal housewives are getting sneaky to save a few pennies here or there. If certain family members insist on higher-priced items, they’re not above slipping generic stuff into brand-name containers of ketchup or cornflakes. Talk about your blind taste test! Another trick these always frugal folks learned over the years, and one we’ve suggested before: ignoring pay raises. What does that mean? It’s not changing your spending habits even a little bit when someone gets a promotion and more money. Far too often people just increase their lifestyle whenever they get a raise, so the extra money just gets gobbled up. But holding fast to your budget when more money starts coming in would be a powerful inflation-fighting tool. Just stick to your spending plan! Here’s something else these frugal folks have been doing for years: Grow your own vegetables. If you need any incentive, just look at your last grocery receipt and what you’re paying for veggies. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow yourself include tomatoes, peppers, radishes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, carrots, and zucchini. It will take a little work and some upfront costs for seeds and fertilizer, but a home garden is a great way to cut grocery costs. Now, retailers are well aware that inflation is making folks cut back on spending, and they’re changing tactics as well. Expect to see smaller sizes of certain items, and innovative products like dish soap dispensers that pump out even the last drop of detergent so there’s no waste. One major retailer has completely revamped its advertising campaign this summer. It’s moving away from things like apparel and toward lower-priced items like rice, beans, flour, and other staples, putting them in larger bags that offer more value. Some big-box retailers haven’t caught on quite as fast and now find themselves with far too many TVs and kitchen appliances, which they now have to offer at deep discounts just to get rid of them. I guess if it’s in your budget and you really, really need it, now’s a good time to shop for a big-ticket item. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● How do you build and manage an emergency fund? ● Should you prioritize building a fund for routine expenses before a general emergency fund? ● How do you determine whether it's wise to refinance a mortgage? ● When should you retire to maximize your Social Security benefits? ● Should you pay off all debt before purchasing property? ● How do you determine the wisest investment strategy in the current market?

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