Government data shows that record inflation from the last few years started to slow down throughout 2023, but much of the damage has already been done. Every bill we pay and purchase we make costs more now, from insurance to clothing, and groceries to household supplies. Here are some tips to spend less to help offset the effect from these now permanently higher prices.
• Pay down high-interest debt. You can start spending less money today by paying down high-interest debt. Data from the Federal Reserve shows people who don’t pay off their credit card balance each month pay an average interest rate of 22.16%. For a monthly credit card payment of $75, this interest expense costs you $17 a month, or just over $200 a year.
• Revisit your subscriptions. Write down how many monthly subscriptions you’re paying for, then add up the monthly cost. Then ask yourself the following questions: Can you do without some of these subscriptions? Can you cut the cost of some of these subscriptions? Are there some with overlapping benefits? Maybe you’ll discover a subscription you completely forgot about. You don’t have to cancel all of them, but getting rid of just a few can help you spend less each month.
• Shop around for insurance. Loyalty to an insurance company doesn’t always pay off. Consider shopping around and comparing rates for homeowners’, auto, & umbrella insurance, along with other insurance coverage you may have.
• Eat at home. Limit how often you dine out or stop for take-out. Your wallet will thank you! According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall food spending was up 12.7% in 2022, partly driven by a 20% increase in food spending away from home.
• Start using a budget. Finally, spend less by creating a written monthly budget and sticking to it. Find a budgeting app that you like the look and feel of, then create a budget within that app to help you decide how much to spend each month in various categories. Once the budget has been created, be sure to keep it updated throughout the month, instead of waiting until the last week to get it up-to-date.
Fred T. Fox III is a Lawton native who owns his own business.