Nobody hates a price hike more than a frugal person like myself. Every trip to the grocery store is a new experience in resetting cost and price expectations because trust me, the price of everything is going up.
There are some things one can do about this of course. Below is my top ten for fighting inflation:
- Keep track. I cannot emphasize how important it is to keep track of costs and prices. Don’t be caught off guard by next month’s rising utility bill because by then it is too late. Be proactive. Keep track of food costs on your phone under “Notes” so you don’t forget your price book. You can just take a snapshot of your grocery receipt it you want for comparative purposes but find a way to keep track of the items you buy most often; milk, eggs, etc.
- Waste nothing. What you are buying, compared to year ago, is costing you more so letting food go bad or throwing away leftovers is simply not an option. Freeze if you must but find a method for using up everything starting with?
- Buying less. Frugal folks generally know what we buy too much of. For me, bananas is the current issue. My partner thinks he is going to eat a banana every morning which he never does of course so I buy less and mentally figure I’ll be freezing at least half of them for baking later.
- Watch the news. Normally I would not encourage this, especially given recent tragic events, but you can put a google alert on your laptop to let you know which food stuff is going to be in short supply (i.e., more expensive) yet. I just read that India is going to be restricting exports of sugar so I know the price of sugar is going to go up. I am ready for this.
- Swap and trade. I buy far less meat for my partner than I used to and am working with tougher, less expensive cuts. I use my slow cooker all the time (it is especially useful in the summer months by the way) so I can slow cook and braise to my heart’s content for the resident carnivore.
- Make your garden work harder for you. The price of various types of produce continues to go up so I am growing everything I can this summer.
- Speaking of can, I am canning everything (bad pun but you get the idea). My daughter gifted me a good amount of fresh cherries from a recent family cherry picking expedition so I froze what she gifted me and when I had the time, I thawed them all out, pitted the fruit (much easier than pitting fresh cherries) and made cherry jam. It took a bit of effort but was so worth the outcome. I made sure I have enough rings and lids for canning this summer because you never know what item is going to be impacted by supply chain issues these days.
- Speaking of supply chain issues (most dreaded phrase in the English language these days) stock up. Whatever you consume a lot of, watch for specials and sales and stock up. Be strategic about stocking up of course but make an effort to snap up bargains for items you use most frequently.
- Put a moratorium on big ticket spending. Cars, appliances, electronics, etc., are more expensive right now for a variety of reasons. If you can delay a substantial purchase, then you probably should.
- Tip the scales. By this I mean, find a way to make more cash. The job market is really hot right so taking on a second job, side gig or contract work makes sense. You can also sell off items you no longer need by hosting a tag/garage sale or via selling bigger items online (safety first however). I have friends who actually got rid of their second car, unheard of in freeway-centric California, but they realized with one of them working from home permanently now and the other just going into the office a couple of days a week, that a second car was an unnecessary expense. The savings on gas, upkeep and wear and tear have been considerable and my friend reports that a second car is now one less thing they have to worry about. Turns out, downsizing to just one car also helped simplify and streamline their lives.