In economics, Inflation is defined as “a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.” You might’ve heard “inflation” mentioned a lot in the last few weeks. Since last year (July ‘21 to July ‘22 to be exact) the Consumer Price Index (a way to measure the average price of rent, groceries, gas, and other must-haves) has risen by 8.5%!
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Ack! Can we stop inflation?
The Federal Reserve (A.K.A. the central bank that handles US money policies) says they’re on it by pulling back additional pandemic help it provided and by raising interest rates, which they plan to do through the rest of this year. But we can’t just hang on the sidelines hoping to be saved… So here are a few ways U can safeguard your finances:
1. Update Your Budget
We know budgeting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we all should make sure our budgets are up-to-date, especially when inflation is on the horizon. Relying on last year’s prices isn’t going to do you any favors. While increasing your budget you should pad it a little bit too! Account for your base expenses — consider their current costs, include your necessities, and consider your financial goals!
Side note: Are you a consultant or freelancer? Check out our blog post on budgeting for gig workers.
2. Shop Even Smarter
Shopping smart means comparing prices! Luckily for us, there’s a ton of tools that will help do the leg work for you. Make sure you’re getting the best prices on your grocery trip by using Basket, it’s an app that price-checks items across most grocery stores. There are even apps that will help you save on gas! With a little planning, GasBuddy and GasGuru will guide you to the most cost-effective pumps in your area. Google Maps and Waze (also owned by Google) will highlight gas prices on your route too. One more tip — while you’re shopping on the web, use tools and apps like Honey or Rakuten to automatically check coupon codes for your online purchases.
3. Get Rewarded
Use a UMe Visa® Credit Card for as many of your purchases as possible (and pay it off at the end of each month). With a UMe Visa, you’ll earn rewards – like cash back – on every single purchase you make! So use your card and get rewarded. And if you pay it off each month, you’ll never spend a single penny on interest.
4. Put Your Money To Work
You’re not the only one who has to work to make that money grow. Squirreling cash around the house isn’t the best tactic during times of inflation. Stocks can give you an option of the highest long-term potential when it comes to returns on your investments. Just keep in mind, this high reward option definitely comes with the highest risks.
If you’re not feeling particularly risky, explore UMe’s Money Market Accounts and Certificate (CD) Options. You just deposit an amount, and watch it grow thanks to compound interest — A.K.A. Additional money that’s added to your original balance that already gained interest, which just keeps growing… and growing.*
*This also works on balances that you owe. So watch out for that compound interest on debts you may have.
5. Increase Your Income Options
Cultivate the potential additional income streams in your life, or “passive income.” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says passive income can come from two sources: rental property or a business in which one does not actively participate, such as being paid book royalties or stock dividends. Here are some passive income ideas:
- Rent out your parking space or garage, car, spare room or home, even your lawnmower or powerwasher — look around, so many useful items you have can bring in extra income
- Capitalize on your online content. Sell your photography online by licensing it, allow sponsored posts on your socials, monetize your YouTube channel, or sell your designs online
- Flip it! Flip retail products online on Etsy, eBay, Poshmark, or DePop!
- Get creative — teach people to do something you’re good at with an online course, or write an e-book, or develop an app!
It’ll take a little effort to set up, but once it’s up and running, you can sit back and enjoy that passive income!
6. Assess Your Current Income
You work hard, and the cost of living is increasing, especially in this time of inflation. Many employers are willing to pay to retain the right talent! So, maybe it’s time to negotiate for that raise.
Ready and Steady
Who knows how long inflation will be a major concern. Let’s face it, it’s always a concern even if it’s a minimal one. If U need any help assessing your budget or safeguarding your finances further, contact us. We’re here for U!Call us Email us
Disclaimer: U matter to Me (all of us) at UMe — and that’s why we do our best to deliver helpful information on our blog. Please note the following: (1) UMe Credit Union works hard to make certain that the information we post here is as accurate as humanly possible. But as you know, information can change and evolve quickly. While we try to update the blog on a regular basis, the content of some older posts may not be correct or up-to-date. (2) Some destinations on the World Wide Web that we link you to will exist on external websites. UMe Credit Union does not officially endorse any connected sites, nor do/did we compensate or get compensated by any entities to be featured in our posts (unless otherwise noted). (3) Everyone’s situation is unique and we advise you to consult with our personal bankers or your finance, tax, or legal professional for advice individualized to you!