Investors responded to the consumer price index (CPI) soaring to a 40-year high of 8.6 percent in May, topping market forecasts of 8.3 percent. Yet adjusting for inflation, retail sales have barely budged. These are all signs of increasing financial pressure on the consumer, and if it wasn’t for the strong job market, this trend would be particularly worrisome.
Ten Steps to Take to Reduce Your Spending
Here are 10 ways you can decrease your spending, perhaps by as much as half your current monthly rate:
Not only have restaurant meals rocketed in terms of price, but many are tacking on additional fees they call “noncash adjustments,” or “kitchen appreciation.” This troubling inflationary trend is mostly showing up at restaurants hit by higher food prices and wage pressures.
Most servers still expect to receive a 20 percent tip on top of all these charges. Even Mastercard and Visa have recently raised transaction fees for many merchants. If a meal is $20 in a restaurant, it is likely you can cook a reasonable meal yourself for $5, with purchased fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
2. Car Washes
When I worked in a corporate role, I had my car washed once every week. Today a car wash can run as much as $25. If you find a place that offers a do-it-yourself power wash you can save a lot, and take your car maybe once every couple months, your car will be fine and so will your wallet.
3. Hair Styling
Women generally pay more to get their hair styled, so their savings opportunity is greater. During the pandemic I cut my own hair, and I continue to cut my hair at home. When I told my mother I cut my own hair, she smiled and said, “I’ve been doing that for many years.”
Skip the salon, the mani-pedi, and the other creature comforts that are today a huge financial burden.
4. Use Your Smartphone App to Find the Cheapest Gasoline
GasBuddy, Gas Guru, Waze, and AAA TripTik Planner are a few of the many apps that will locate the cheapest and the closest place to fill up your car.
5. Vehicle Expenses
Besides squeezing down gasoline costs, you can take other vehicle-related actions that will save you money.
Check your tire pressure periodically, don’t drive aggressively, and consider buying a Hybrid or an Electric Vehicle. You can also search online to compare auto insurance policies, taking care not to select excessive coverage that you can’t afford.
6. Kick the BRAND Habit
From brand-name food products to apparel, from shoes to purses, the brands enrich the manufacturers with fat margins that they command for no other reason than they successfully marketed brand awareness. When it comes to form, fit and function, non-brands and so-called generic alternatives will do just fine and save you a fortune.
7. Take Inventory of All the Online Monthly Fees
Take inventory of all the online monthly fees that although small individually, add up to a serious financial total that you may be struggling to pay. These include your video streaming services, music subscriptions, online news subscriptions, virus and malware protection, cable, internet, phone.
You may find that you have a dozen fees that add up to hundreds of dollars every month.
Most people have already concluded that they need to either cut out completely or cut way back on their travel plans, especially international travel. Cruise ships, tours, and that European vacation may be on your bucket list, but when times are tough, these get cut or at least postponed. Retool your travel plans to local vacations.
America has some of the most beautiful and fascinating sites to see and enjoy, so you don’t have to completely deny yourself the breaks you need and deserve.
9. Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements
Research casts a jaundiced eye on much of the health benefits claimed by the supplements, and many of these, especially branded products, can be quite expensive.
The best way to convince yourself to put a halt to these daily intake habits is to do your own online research. You will find that most of what you need in your diet can be obtained sufficiently by choosing healthy foods, and preparing these without a lot of salt, frying, heavy sauces, sugar, or other unhealthy additives.
10. Any Large Purchase
Any large purchase of an item that depreciates should be avoided or at least minimized. Furniture, couches, TV’s, appliances, suits, coats, cars, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, all have in common high front-end expense to purchase new, while the sales value of these items will decline quickly.
Create a Budget
Having listed the places where you can go to slash spending, take care to avoid trying to save by skipping your medical and dental appointments, foregoing a place and a plan where you exercise, choosing unhealthy but inexpensive food, and putting a stop to all your gifts and charity.
There are places where it is in your best overall interest to continue to spend money, as these are all investments as much as they are expenses. Strive for moderation and balance in life, and most importantly, create that budget, so you can eyeball income and expenses directly … because most people truly do not know nor realize where their money goes every paycheck.
The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are only those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.