Debt Management & Credit Repair DIYCoping With Inflation
Inflation is something we are all dealing with right now, and higher prices look like they’re here to stay for a while longer. While the cost of things like gasoline and groceries are going up, your income is still the same. What can you do to offset the sting of rising costs for basic goods and services? Consider a few tips that might help.
- It’s time to review the budget. What cuts can be made temporarily to help you survive inflation? Maybe cut back on the internet, TV or cell phone plans until things improve. Maybe reduce the entertainment budget for a bit. Have you reviewed your insurance lately to see if you have the right coverages and best deal? Are you using your health club membership? $10 here, $20 there can add up quickly and make it easier to get through hard times.
- What assets do you have that you can turn into cash? Is there a spare car in the driveway that is rarely driven? Do you have a boat that never makes it to the lake? And what about small things – consider having a yard sale. You can accomplish two things: declutter your home or garage and create some cash flow.
- Do a better job planning trips and errands to reduce miles driven. Can you go to the grocery every other week instead of weekly? Can you put off that one errand until you have several to run? And if so, plan them out so you are efficient and don’t have to back track from one place to another. If you are planning longer trips make sure you have best route to get there. How about work, is there someone close by that you might be able to carpool with?
- How can you earn extra money? Do you have the time to consider a parttime job? What are your skills? Could you start a small business on the side without investing a lot of money? Can you request overtime at work? Is there a program at work that allows you to earn bonuses for above average or exceptional performance? Can you find an online job that uses your skillset and has flexible hours allowing you to work whenever you have the time?
- Have you taken advantage of memberships and perks where you shop? Do you have their discount card to earn points or discounts? Do you have apps for fuel discounts? Do you look at sale ads in the paper or online? Have you comparison shopped? Have you tried store brands? Do you buy in bulk when there is significant savings? And if you can’t use it all, could you split it with friends or family and share the costs?
- Can you plant a garden? Many seeds are inexpensive and can often provide food for many weeks. And there is a sense of satisfaction of providing for yourself or teaching your children how to do so. If you are not sure what to do ask a friend who gardens or research it online. It’s not hard but it does require some good old-fashioned effort.
- Share your blessings with others. This sounds a bit contradictory but when we help others, we realize how much we have, and it helps us to appreciate that and to avoid panic over our current situation. Maybe you can’t give a lot but sometimes it’s the act more than the items that gives others hope as well.
While this isn’t a full list, it may help you start thinking of ways you can make small changes to help you manage tighter financial times. Today, take a few moments and just walk around the house and see what other ideas you come up with. Or sit down and talk about it with a spouse, significant other, roommate, friend or family member and bounce ideas off each other. Inflation is one of those things that we will all probably have to deal with several times throughout life, but you can do it with a little extra thought and effort.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Regulatory Boards oversees the licensure of credit and debt collection professionals through the Collection Service Board, Debt Management Program and the Credit Services Business registration program.