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Hacks to help with inflation when your budget is already battered

Inflation hit a 40 year high. Here's how to stretch your dollars to get your money's worth on purchases.

SAN ANTONIO — You have no doubt noticing inflation burning up more of your money as inflation hits a 40 year high. Prices spiked seven percent since this time last year. Your dollar just is not stretching as far and chances are your pay check has not increased.

Money is moving, mostly out of your wallet as inflation rises. There is a long list of items that are pricier in 2022. That includes groceries.

“You may find that now is good time to kind of cut back on those convenience foods and opt for things that are fresher,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with Dealnews.com.

Doing your own food prep and cooking will save you some cash.

Keeping warm will also be a pretty penny as we continue to work from home.

“They’re going to be using their electricity more, which could cause an increase in bills, but we’ve also seen prices go up on natural heating fuels like natural gas and coal,” Ramhold said.

Homes will be pricey. Renters will not see a break either.

“Also seeing rent prices increase in a lot of areas just due to things like inflation,” Ramhold said. “So, it’s very disappointing.”

Car prices will still be hefty.

“Dealerships have just had fewer cars coming in, in general, because of the production shortages and things like that, factory shutdowns,” Ramhold said.

You might see more medical costs and not because your insurance premium increased.

“But because the raw materials that are used in the production of a lot of medical supplies, things like IVs, even IV poles, and things like that they use within the hospital setting,” Ramhold said. “Those may be affected by increases in real supply costs and because of that, they have to pass on those costs to the patient. Ordinarily, insurance would pay for those costs, but we’re seeing reports in some cases that they’re not. It may result in patients having to pay higher bills.”

Here is how to budget better to beat inflation:

“You just have to be very, very thoughtful and spend your money with the intention,” said Kelly Anne Smith, a personal finance expert with Forbes Advisor.

Start by making a list when you shop for groceries.

“You can even make a shopping list directly from the weekly ad, which is really helpful so then you’re just buying things on sale,” Smith said.

Stock up when you do see a sale. Make sure the item is non-perishable and you have the room to store them.

“Keeping an eye out for things like buy one, get one free,” Smith said.

“Stocking up when they’re on sale will help you avoid overpaying in between discounts,” Ramhold said.

Buy second hand or utilize buy nothing groups.

“There’s no shame in that,” said Smith. “You can take advantage of buying second hand on things like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. We’re in a big consumer culture where people buy new things all the time, but you don’t necessarily need to.”

Shop at the right time of year. There are certain times of year that are good to purchase particular items because the discounts are larger. Winter clothing goes on sale at the end of the season. Summer items usually see sales in August and September.

Set up deal alerts for big-ticket items. Multiple websites can do this.

“Once you set that alert up, you can sit back and relax and wait for the notification that there’s a deal or the price has dropped,” Ramhold said.

Use cash back apps to earn money or gift cards.

“Sometimes they are as easy as uploading a photo of your grocery receipt,” Smith said.

“It can really add up and help to take the strain of higher prices off your budget,” Ramhold said.

Do not like to do the math for a budget? Then use a free budgeting app. It will crunch the numbers for you so you can see where you can spend less. 

If you have a question for Eyewitness Wants To Know, email us at EWTK@KENS5.com or call us as 210-377-8647.

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