A consumer’s worst enemy is inflation, especially when prices rise but wages do not. In the United States, inflation has only been rising about 2% per year for awhile now, but that number can be deceiving. While 2% may be the average, the cost of some goods and services has risen quite a bit more.
For example, water bills have been ahead of inflation for years now, averaging a 5% increase or more according to the Department of Labor. In some parts of the country, the cost to rent is up as much as 8%. When it comes to healthcare, the annual cost increase almost always beats inflation. Depending on the type of package you purchase, a trip to Disney has increased just shy of 20%, a huge difference from the rate of inflation.
So regardless of the actual inflation rate, your personal rate of inflation is determined by what you chose to buy. But no matter what that is, there are things you can do to mitigate these costs. Here are some examples:
- Smart shopping – Consider buying in bulk, buying used, and using coupons to save big.
- Tracking your expenses – Using free apps on your phone you can track where your money goes, plugging holes in your budget and seeing where you spend too much.
- Putting your money in the right places – Owning a house and investing in the right stocks can help you offset inflation, assuming you are getting a good return on your investment.
Bottom line, financial discipline can save you money, and every penny saved is a penny that offsets the negative effects of inflation.