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Six tips on managing your money through inflation

A lot of items are quickly rising in price. Now is the time to take a closer look at your budget and spending habits.

MAINE, USA — It seems like the cost of pretty much everything has shot up thanks to inflation. Now might be a good time to examine your budget and make some changes. 

Jon Paradise from Town & Country Federal Credit Union goes over a few things you can do to help your dollars go further. You can watch the full interview in the link below.

In the Kitchen – Food is a necessary, but discretionary part of most budgets. Extra planning can save you money feeding your family.

  • Use store weekly ads to know what’s on sale to help plan meals.
  • Inventory your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator before making a shopping list.
  • Buy extra of what’s on sale. 
  • Use meat as an ingredient rather than a main dish item or consider a few meatless meals each week.
  • Take advantage of store coupons, apps, and discount programs.
  • Join the MIY crowd – Make It Yourself. Whether it is chopping your own vegetables, baking brownies, or making breadcrumbs, you are sure to save on your food bill preparing some convenience products and your meals from scratch.

Around the House  There are many necessary expenses to keep a home running efficiently and comfortably, but you can save some money with a few simple steps.

  • Clean heating ducts or replace furnace filters regularly to make improve energy efficiency.
  • Install programmable thermostats and keep the temperature at a comfortable level. Close off rooms you aren’t using to save on heat.
  • Improve your home’s energy efficiency by sealing gaps and air leaks on exterior windows and doors.
  • Insulate walls, attics, and pipes to help save on your heating bill.
  • Unplug small appliances and other electronic devices to save on electricity. You can save even more when you make sure you have a full load before starting the dishwasher or running the washing machine.

On the Road – A car or truck is likely one of the biggest expenses on your personal budget, but there are ways to save some money on these expenses.

  • Shop around for gas. Apps will help you find the lowest price on gas in your area. Many gas retailers offer discount programs for customers who sign up for their special programs.
  • Maximize your vehicles mileage. Proper tire inflation and wheel alignment can improve fuel efficiency by up to one mile per gallon.
  • Stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance. Replacing filters and scheduled tune ups will help your car run at its best.
  • Drive less. You’ll save money simply by using your car less. Car-pooling and clustering errands will save on gas. Letting your car idle and erratic driving habits can waste gas, too.
  • Save on auto insurance premiums by shopping around. Plus, you can save by adjusting your deductible or changing your coverage for an older car.

Get Frugal -- Frugal living isn’t about being stingy, it is about being resourceful and focusing on the things you value. Look for ways to save on day-to-day expenses so you can have the money for the things you care about most.

  • Look at all the things you are spending money on to see where you can spend less.
  • Use coupons and freebies when shopping. Coupon apps can help you find plenty of deals.
  • Shop thrift stores, consignment shops and discount retailers for good deals.
  • Take advantage of free entertainment like free admission days at local museums and parks. The local library is a great source of books, movies and more.
  • Family game nights and potlucks with friends and family are great ways to have fun without spending a lot of money.

Go DIY – Looks for things you can do yourself. Thanks to the internet, there are lots of resources to help beginner DIYers get started.

  • Skip the salon and do your mani and pedi at home.
  • Buy a clipper and scissors and cut your family’s hair.
  • With the holidays coming look for affordable gift ideas you can make.
  • Take on fall clean up and snow removal are some great ways to save.
  • File your own taxes.

Cut the Cost of Your Debt – Another way to keep more money in your pocket is to refinance existing loans or consolidate high interest credit card debt.

  • Trade in your current balances on credit cards and personal loans for a single new loan or credit card for a lower interest rate potentially saving hundreds of dollars.
  • Refinance student loan debt to a lower rate loan.
  • Consider refinancing higher interest auto loans and mortgages for a lower rate loan and keep more money in your wallet.