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While inflation hits everything that it can come into contact with, I think there are three main areas where the average American will find it difficult to maintain their frugality in 2023.
All of these are fundamentally caused by inflation, but they’re going to all hit different parts of your family’s wallet this upcoming year.
What are they? Let’s take a look…
We’ve tackled the rise in grocery prices quite a few times here at The Frugalite. Skyrocketing meat prices, eggs, and the like means every trip that you go to the grocery store, that $100 bill you used to spend every week is going to lead to your walking out of the store with less.
While this is fundamentally due to excessive money printing, within the world of groceries, these rising prices are going to be due to the rising prices of gasoline (causing shipping groceries to become more expensive), food crises around the world, and labor shortages leading to employers having to pay more to attract employees.
I really think that there are only three main ways that you’re going to be able to fight these price increases.
Grow what you can.
For starters, I think that growing as much of your own food as possible – even if you live in an apartment – is the most cost-effective means of limiting the size of your grocery bill. If you’re looking for tips on producing food, check out this book on Amazon. I also fully understand that this option isn’t for everybody, however.
Eat more staples.
Colette has a number of great pieces that tackle how one can decrease the size of their grocery bill by focusing more on staples. I think she is spot on.
Pasta, potatoes, rice – these are all relatively inexpensive foods that have formed the backbone of diets across the world for centuries. By being able to creatively incorporate more of these foods into your diet (and Chloe has some fantastic ideas here), you’ll be able to save money at the grocery store. Also, check out our Frugalicious Food archive for more ideas.
Use sales and coupons like a madman.
I really think you’re going to have to be much more aggressive in your approach here. Pay attention to what is on sale at your favorite grocery store and start collecting coupons like a middle school boy does Pokemon cards. Daisy has a great piece on how to handle last-day-of-sale meat and produce.
Just last week, I was talking with a relative about electric bills. They pulled out their electric bill from last year, compared it to this month’s, and found they were paying roughly $80 more for this bill for about the exact same amount of energy used.
In short, the price of electricity has gone up.
You’re going to have to figure out ways to cope with that when you can, if you want to lower your bill.
Can you keep the thermostat set lower than what you normally would like it to be and bundle up? Can you use the wood stove more? Can you use more open windows and less A/C? Can you fill up the dishwasher and laundry machine as much as possible before every run? Can you limit the amount of time your fridge door is open when you’re looking for food, take shorter showers, and make sure that you’re vigilant about turning off what is currently not in use?
I really think you’re going to have to if you want to remain as frugal as possible here.
We’ve written quite a bit about saving money on cars and gasoline here at The Frugalite before, and unfortunately, this is another key area that Americans are going to need this advice for this year.
While the price of gasoline has remained somewhat stable where I live over the past 2-3 months, it’s still more than twice the price of what it was three years ago.
I think if you really narrowed it down to two main things you could do here to decrease the pain felt at the pump, it would be this: drive less and drive more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Just be prepared for how this is going to impact your 2023.
In short, we’ll all have to be more budget conscious this year.
That is just going to be the nature of the beast this upcoming year as it unfolds. It’s not going to be the time to become lazy with your budget or financially complacent. Like a knight with a shield, find ways to protect your budget against all the things that want to chip away at it. While that’s something you should always have been striving for, for a number of reasons, I think that 2023 is going to force you to do this even more.
What areas are you most concerned about during the year ahead? Do you have any additional tips to add? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.