How to confront frequent increases in costs of living



Prices on the majority of goods and services have increased significantly over the last year-plus. Financial analysts report that inflation has reached heights that haven’t been seen in 41 years. According to the United States Department of Labor, the consumer price index, which measures changes in how much Americans pay for good and services, rose 0.4 percent in September.

As prices soared, families’ budgets were being pushed. What can people do in the face of rising costs on items they need, including those who may be on fixed incomes? These suggestions may help.

• Frequently review your budget. Keep track of how much items cost right now. Document all spending by writing down a list of weekly expenses or utilizing any number of free budgeting apps available. Tracking what is going out may make it easier to cut costs on less essential items, such as streaming services or gym memberships.

• Contact service providers. You may be able to negotiate better deals with a service provider, such as a mobile phone company or a cable television provider, if they learn you are considering leaving. If they can’t work out a deal, go with the less expensive provider. You can always switch back at the end of the term if you desire.

• Stop automatic payments. Having subscriptions and other bills automatically deducted from your checking account is convenient, but those rising costs may be overlooked. By viewing your bill and paying it each month, you can see where costs have increased and where you might need to rethink services.

• Carpool to work or school. Reduce expenditures on gasoline by sharing the costs with another person. Determine if public transportation is more cost-effective than driving to work or school each day.

• Consider alternative retailers. Brand loyalty to one supermarket or a particular retailer is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Nowadays it is wise to comparison shop across various stores to figure out where you’re getting the best deal. Venture into stores you may not have considered previously. Divide your shopping list by store category, visiting several for different items if it leads to big savings.

• Unplug, literally and figuratively. Cut down on energy costs by unplugging items when not in use. Reduce dependence on devices to further stem costs on electricity and gas-powered appliances.

Prices continue to rise and consumers can explore various ways to stick to their spending budgets.