How to Deal With Inflation
With inflation reaching levels not seen in four decades, everyone is scrambling to try to control expenses. Here are some tips and biblical wisdom.
Some of us old-timers well remember the inflation of the 1970s, but for many today, the rapid rise of prices is new and certainly unsettling. Crashing from a global pandemic into an inflationary spiral, with the chance of a recession ahead, has created many worries and difficult decisions.
This post will give you some of the best advice of modern experts, but it is based on a solid foundation of biblical financial advice.
A budget is an essential inflation-fighting tool
To know what you have to adjust, you have to know where your money is going now. Budgeting is necessary to wisely plan as prices rise.
Our article “Christian Budget” offers common-sense steps to take. And our article “The Bible, Budgeting and You” also includes a link to a sample outline budget.
Deal with inflation-fueled debt
God warns about taking on debt (Proverbs 22:7), and this timeless biblical principle becomes even more relevant as interest rates rise.
See our article “Dealing With Debt” for a practical plan for getting out of debt as fast as possible.
Avoid these traps
When money is tight, you will be offered help that might seem too good to be true, or it just may be misleading. Ramsey Solutions suggests avoiding these traps:
- “Buy now, pay later” plans. They will have penalties for missed payments, and Ramsey Solutions found three in four missed a payment in the last three months.
- Store credit cards. “Debt is debt. Even when it comes with a 10% off coupon.”
- Zero percent financing. “When that zero percent ends, these companies usually make up for lost time by hitting you over the head with high interest rates.”
- Personal loans. “Loans don’t fix the problem—they just dig a deeper hole for the problem you already have.”
Inflation-fighting tips from experts from The Wall Street Journal
Here are some tips from a Wall Street Journal article “15 Ways Consumers Can Deal With—and Even Benefit From—Rising Inflation”:
- “Be aware of shrinkflation,” where the amount of product in a package is reduced, but the price is not reduced.
- “Putting off collecting Social Security can be a smart inflation hedge—beyond the built-in increases in benefits tied to the consumer-price index. Every year that Social Security benefits are delayed past full retirement age, the amount of the eventual benefit increases by 8%.”
- Plan ahead so you can time your expected nonperishable purchases for when they are on sale.
- “Look for any recurring expenses for subscriptions or services that may no longer be needed.”
- “One of the best investments for a return on your dollar is to better insulate your home. This is particularly important given the current higher costs of fuel. Often, you can get a free energy assessment from your power company, with a to-do list for lowering your energy costs.”
Consumer Reports inflation tips
Consumer Reports suggests, “Consider switching to a lower-cost cell phone plan, perhaps one from your internet provider. Lower-income families may qualify for a [U.S.] federal program that helps with internet bills, called the Affordable Connectivity Program.”
For food, “You can also save significantly by sticking with warehouse clubs and discount stores, such as Costco, and Trader Joe’s, as well as private-label brands.”
Reducing subscription bills
“Most people underestimate how much they spend on subscriptions by a hefty amount,” The Week reported. A new survey found that “consumers’ offhand guess of how much they spend monthly on subscriptions averaged $86.” But the actual average was $219!
“Subscriptions have exploded over the past decade—‘for just media and entertainment offerings, the average number of paid subscriptions per consumer was 12 in 2020.’ That’s a lot to keep track of. ‘Most people (86 percent) have put some, if not all, of their subscriptions on autopay.’”
Make sure you are not being charged for subscriptions you no longer use, and consider carefully which ones you can cut.
These are just a few tips you can use to get your expenses under control. Keep researching reputable advice and you will find many additional tips.
But make sure to start now to set a biblical foundation by budgeting and reducing your debt.
Topics Covered: Social Issues