As of writing, the latest inflation numbers put us at 7.1%.
That’s down from the pandemic peak of 9.1% in June of 2022.
When I first started this blog, we were three-and-a-half years out from the initial start of the Great Recession.
Frugality was all the rage. A lot of the Millennial ‘influencers’ you see around got their start writing about how the heck to scrimp by under the adverse circumstances of our youth.
I’m not thrilled that we’re here again. It was always inevitable that we would end up back here eventually, but the circumstances this time are pretty frustrating.
How I’ve Been Combating Inflation
As inflation has risen, I’ve changed up the ways I do things to try to assert power over what could very quickly spiral into budgetary devastation.
So here’s what I’ve been doing. I hope it inspires you to pursue creative ways to give yourself some wiggle room, too.
Went the Summer with no AC in my car: $750
Right in time for summer, the AC went out in my car.
I was hoping it would be a simple fix. But after taking it to the mechanic, I learned it wasn’t.
There were cracks and canisters and labor — the price of which had recently gone up thanks to rising inflation.
Going through with the fix would cost me $750.
I decided to keep that money in my bank account instead.
My hair resented me for it.
But I didn’t really care.
IT WAS $750.
Took advantage of checking account bonuses: $700
I had a few payments come in from new clients this year. Before I got those initial ACH deposits, I researched bank account bonuses.
Good checking account bonuses are a few to several hundred dollars. The requirements to earn the bonus tend to come with:
- ACH deposit requirements. Occasionally you’ll run into one that lets you do transfers to qualify, but it’s not as common for checking accounts.
- Debit card transaction requirements. Not all bonuses comes with these, but when they do, you’re usually getting something like $2 for each debit card transaction.
- Time requirements. Usually these deposits or transactions have to happen within 30, 60, or 90 days of opening the account.
I also did one savings account this way. Even with Fed rate hikes, I’m still likely to earn more money through a high savings account signup bonus than I am through interest — even with rates above 3%. I ended up getting the high rates and the bonus, so that was a win.
This worked with the way I have my money allocated. Yours may look different.
Lowered my internet bill: $360/year
I filled out the super easy application for the Affordable Connectivity Program and started saving $30/month on my internet bill.
Legit! It took less than 48 hours to apply — and that was over a weekend.
You can qualify for this program based on income. And income limits are higher than you may think.
But income is not the only way to qualify. Check out all the ways you can qualify to start getting $30+ off your internet bill, too, with the Affordable Connectivity Program.
PRO TIP: On top of the ACP, make sure you’re negotiating your internet bill every time your contract renews. It’ll save you even more money.
Went through my online subscriptions with a fine-tooth comb: $360/year (so far)
It is super important to go through your checking account and credit card statements every month for so many reasons.
One of those reasons is to make sure you’re cancelling any auto-renew subscriptions you’re not actually actively using.
A lot of times we forget about these subscriptions while the company keeps billing us in the background. But staying aware of all your charges is a great way to remind yourself where you can cut expenses.
This was especially important to me since the pandemic started. In 2020 and 2021, I had allowed myself to spend a little bit more on these subscriptions. After all, we weren’t really spending money on entertainment elsewhere.
Taken advantage of free Covid tests through insurance: At least $800
We still take COVID-19 seriously in our house, so we go through a lot of tests. Especially on those occasions where we decide it is safe to socialize with others.
We get our Covid tests free through insurance. I have no idea if or for how long this will continue. But for now, you can get up to 8 tests per month for free through private insurance, and 2 through Medicaid.
Booked Travel on Points: $1,000+
2022 was the first time I had traveled since before the pandemic. I had a lot of travel credits through various programs. Some of them could be renewed by making a purchase I was going to anyways through the reward program’s shopping portal.
Others were expiring for various reasons. So I used them. On work trips. On family trips.
And they saved me oodles of money. I got far more than $1,000-worth of accommodations for $0.
I am almost winning this battle against inflation.
If I take the numbers I was paying before the pandemic and account for inflation, it costs about $4,250 more to run my household on a bare-bones budget than it did back then.
The math is imperfect here. But that’s a very rough, probably underestimate.
My inflation-fighting measures saved me at least $4,000 last year. Though there is one trip I might not have taken if I hadn’t had expiring travel points on hand. So take that for what it’s worth.
Overall, I got pretty darn close to neutralizing inflation in 2022.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like I’m getting KO’d by it every single day.