It could be a bumpy ride in the months ahead when it comes to your purchasing power. Many people have been looking for ways to cope with upward pressure on prices, supply-chain bottlenecks and shortages.
Anticipated shortages of items ranging from household cleaning products to Christmas trees make it an uncertain time when it comes to money matters. Paying more for food, gas, vehicle needs and a variety of other goods and services affects all of us, but with a little planning and intention, it is possible to prepare and manage household budgets to smooth out a potentially difficult ride. Here is some advice from our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness.
1. Start with Priorities
One of the best ways to cope with inflation is to take the time to prioritize monthly spending. A spending plan helps to ensure that what you spend matches what you make each month as prices rise. For instance, if you set aside a specific dollar amount for monthly gas purchases, you can juggle other expenses as they come up by sticking to spending limits.
Knowing spending priorities can also help reduce the potential of adding to credit card balances. To get started, check out GreenPath’s Aligning Priorities worksheet. With the input of counselors and educators, a specially designed guide aims to give a greater sense of ease and control when making choices of how you will spend the money you have. Seven clear steps can help you gain confidence over your money choices during a time of inflation or shortages.
2. Set and Stick to a Shopping List
Once you know what you have to spend and have set yourself a budget, take some time before each trip to the store to list out your purchases. Using a shopping list can be a powerful way to manage finances especially in the face of rising prices.
Take inventory of what you already have specific to items low in inventory or high in prices, and make a list of what you need. If possible, plan out the meals you will prepare and check to see if you have all the necessary ingredients. Keep informed about what products are anticipated to go higher in price over the upcoming weeks and months. Cross-reference your list with deals and sales.
3. Stay Flexible
Making your list sets you up to stick to it – but stay flexible. You might have to go to a few stores for the best sales, coupons and specials to see if you can win a few extra savings points, especially on products that are low in inventory. You may find out that splitting your shopping list up between several options gets you the best deals. Check dollar stores for deals on household items and within reason, stock up on those items where possible. Bulk retailers or wholesale clubs, like Costco or Sam’s Club might be a good way to stock up on quantity for a lower per-use cost.
When shopping online, include any delivery or shipping costs versus transportation or fuel costs if you’re shopping in person. Be flexible when it comes to timing your purchases. Do you really need that item right now? Try to wait for something to go on sale to buy it. For something that you can wait on, you could save money by waiting for it to be discounted. Or, if you can wait on a purchase, the price fluctuations might be in your favor.
Manage Through Life’s Ups and Downs
A time of inflation, as well as shortages for everyday items, can cause stress and worry. GreenPath is a team of people from your community, committed to helping you ease financial stress and uncertainty through access to clear information. We all have the tools to accomplish our financial goals, and Greenpath can help.