5 tips for managing money in times of historic inflation
April 13, 2022 • Spruce
The Spruce team connected with Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, who shared advice from her own personal experience.
Every time you go grocery shopping or fill up on gas you notice rising prices, and it may have you worried. Even if the current inflation is short lived, it takes its toll, chipping away at your income and savings. While that’s frustrating when you’re careful with your budget, for many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, rising costs are extremely challenging. When you need basic necessities for your family, you don’t have much choice but to eat that extra cost.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help offset some rising costs — and handle your money smarter. Spruce has partnered with personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, to help you keep your cool while the economy is hot. As one of five children raised by a single mother, she knows from personal experience what it’s like to struggle financially.
“The current financial situation may be just the nudge you need to revamp your household budget, or create one if you haven’t used one before,” said Khalfani-Cox. “And today there are many online tools that can help you develop a workable budget.”
Once you have a clearer picture of your expenses and income, you can take steps toward handling your money better now, to ensure a rosier future.
1. Take stock
Budgeting is fundamentally about knowing how much money you’re taking in — and how much is going out. First you need to list your income, then all your expenses. To be more accurate, you may need to review the last several months to see where your money has been going. Then differentiate between necessary expenses (like rent/mortgage, utilities, debts, insurance and food) and discretionary expenses (entertainment, leisure).
2. Use today’s technology to track and manage your money
If you want to improve your money management skills, Spruce is a new mobile banking platform designed to help with saving, spending, budgeting, planning and building daily healthy financial habits. It helps you stay in control of your money through spending and savings accounts backed with technology that provides you with automatic saving options and financial insights to help you be good with money. Spruce, built by H&R Block and powered by Pathward, N.A., combines some of the best features of the leading neobanks with H&R Block’s trusted brand and knowledge gained from helping millions of customers every year.
“Spruce helps people set savings goals and keep them,” said Khalfani-Cox. “From paying for school to buying a car, Spruce is there every step of the way. There are even options to set up automatic transfers towards savings.”
Spruce helps you visually track your savings progress and financial goals through personalized savings tools, helping you see your full financial picture and predict cash flow so you can better prepare for your family’s future.
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3. Make smart substitutions
One way to spend less on necessities like groceries is to shop smarter. “For example, you can save a lot by choosing store brand products,” Khalfani-Cox said, “not just for food, but also for health and hygiene products, and household cleaners.”
If you like buying in bulk, shopping at membership chains can also add up to big savings. Many people even save on furniture by frequenting local discount stores instead of big box retailers.
4. Refinance existing debt
If you’re carrying high-interest or variable-rate debt such as a mortgage, credit cards or student loans, this is a good time to consider locking in a better rate, before rates go up again.
“You may also want to consolidate multiple loans or lines of credit into one fixed monthly payment,” Khalfani-Cox said.
5. Negotiate for a raise
“We’re still in the midst of an historic worker’s market, leaving many employees holding the cards,” Khalfani-Cox noted. “If you didn’t receive a sufficient pay raise in 2021, make 2022 the year of negotiating for what you’re worth.”
Using some of these strategies, you can feel more confident heading into the future, whatever it may bring.
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