It can be overwhelming to see the cost of everyday necessities continue to rise, but with a few tips and tricks, you can stretch your dollars a little more to further cover your expenses.
Food is one of the hardest hit sectors right now, but something we all have to buy regularly. When shopping for the week, look for off-brand products. The grocery store might have their own brand that is less expensive and typically the product quality is exactly the same as the name brand. When shopping in store or building your cart for pick up, look around to see what’s on sale that week and make your selections based on these items.
Consider searching for online and in-store coupons, too. When certain fruits and vegetables are in season, they might be less expensive for the consumer too. Finally, see if your favorite grocery store has a rewards program where you can get money off your grocery bill after earning a certain amount of points.
Rising costs at the gas station
Gas also continues to be a hard-hit area across the country with prices hitting record highs. Driving around to find the least expensive gas can be counter-productive, so when you head to the pump, see if one of your current credit cards has a specific percentage cash back reward for gas purchases. You can rack up these points to pay for your next tank.
You might also consider checking to see if your local gas stations or grocery stores offer loyalty or reward programs which can lead to dollars off at the pump.
Managing utility bills
As energy costs inflate, utility bills are on the rise. Your utility provider might have an assistance program you can opt-in to. Additionally, utility companies might offer for you to break up your payments over the entire month instead of paying in one lump sum.
You can also contact the company to see if you can negotiate your bills—especially for your cell phone plan. There might be a part of the plan you are no longer using but still paying for. Review your bills carefully to see if there is an opportunity to contact them to get your bill reduced.
Keep track of dollars and deadlines
If your bills are due at different points throughout the month, it could help to write down the amount due and date in a calendar or budget app to help you plan. By seeing everything down on paper or in an app, you can keep track of when withdraws are going to happen and allocate your spending appropriately.
Consolidate debt where possible
With everyday expenses so high right now, it would also be worthwhile to talk to your bank about consolidating your debt. If you have multiple accounts, you might be able to consolidate everything down to one loan with a lower monthly payment and interest rate. There is also a debt tactic known as the avalanche or snowball approach.
The snowball debt payoff strategy starts with paying the minimum amount on all your bills, while also putting as many dollars are you can toward the smallest debt balance each month. Once the smallest balance is paid off, repeat the process with the next smallest debt balance.
With the avalanche debt strategy, you pay the minimum due on all your bills, and pay as much as you can on the balance with the highest interest rate. Once the balance with the highest interest rate is paid off, start paying more on the next highest interest rate debt.
A banker can also walk you through your specific situation as you stretch your paycheck during this time of high inflation.
UMB personal banking solutions offer convenience and simplicity to meet all of your past, present and future financial needs. From home loans to auto financing and everything in between, see how UMB personal banking can work with you to find the right products for your life and lifestyle.
For additional resources on budgeting and expense management, visit the UMB Financial Education Center to take courses and interactive learning modules.