(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)
by the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living
It’s pretty tough to set a budget and stick to it when prices are increasing by almost 10% in a month. You read that right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that prices increased by 9.1% during the month of June 2022, and this unfortunate trend shows no sign of slowing down.
This is a catastrophic level of inflation, and it has a lot of Frugalites scratching their heads, wondering how on earth to survive it. I wish I could provide a simple formula that says, “Take these steps, and you’ll be just fine.” But that would be unrealistic.
The fact is, some of us will not be just fine. We will not come out of this unscathed. We have to just do what we can to limit the damage. This is especially true if your budget was tight before. While you have the advantage of being a frugal-living pro, there is also simple math that says the increased prices of food, gasoline, utilities, and other essentials are going to hit you harder than those who have a bit more disposable income.
But…we are not the type of people who just give up. We know that we can get through hard times. Here are some ways to stretch your money with associated links in case you want to learn more about them. All of these suggestions will not be appropriate for all people. So take what you can and leave what won’t work for you.
1.) Revisit your fixed expenses.
First things first, take a look at your fixed expenses. These are the payments that come out of your account regularly, and they are a set price. You may be able to reduce or eliminate some of these expenses and free up some money for the ever-rising essentials.
Some examples of fixed expenses are rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, cable, phone bills, and extracurricular activities. To learn more about reducing these expenses, check out this article.
2.) Consider a different living situation.
This one is a tough cut to make for many people. However, changing your living situation can result in enormous savings or a significant amount of additional money in the budget.
Some examples might be:
- Combining households with another family.
- Renting a room or space in your home.
- Relocating to a less expensive home. (Be careful with this one – moving costs could eat up any savings.)
There’s a lot to think about before making a change like this. Consider things like safety, accessibility to school and work, transportation, and costs associated with making the change.
3.) Build a stockpile.
As many of you know, I’m also a prepper. That means, if you are unfamiliar, that I’ve been stocking up on things for quite some time in case of an emergency. I buy things on sale, such as shelf-stable food, health and beauty aids, and consumable supplies, and store them carefully for when they’re needed. Don’t think that a stockpile just means food. I have stashed shampoo, toothpaste, school supplies, and much more over the years.
An emergency doesn’t have to mean a nuclear strike or a natural disaster. It can be as simple as too much month and not enough money. Many of us know just how true of an emergency the latter situation is.
These resources can help you build a stockpile.
- How To Eat For a Week From Your Pantry and $20
- The Pantry Essentials You Need for Scratch Cooking
- Build a Better Pantry on a Budget
- A Crash Course in Pantry Economics
- Prepper’s Pantry
- The Top 50 Non-Food Stockpile Essentials
Even now, with prices skyrocketing, you can work toward putting some things back. While the back-to-school sales this year aren’t as good as in previous years, you can still get sheaves of notebook paper for less than 60 cents, along with other necessary supplies. You can still stumble across a loss leader at the grocery store or a last-day-of-sale motherlode that you can preserve for your pantry. Be on the lookout for good deals and stock up as you can.
4.) Don’t drive as much.
This is a major lifestyle change for many people. But with the astronomical cost of fuel, driving as a pastime is no longer reasonable for those on a budget. I used to pick up my daughter and go on a long drive on a sunny weekend just to see the scenery, but that is no longer a viable option.
Now, since I work from home, I try to only drive once or twice per week. I keep a running list of the errands that need to be run so that I can group them together. I walk whenever possible. This saves me quite a lot of money since I drive a Jeep, and it’s nearly a hundred bucks to fill my tank. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m only filling up once a month instead of every ten days or so, and at these prices, that provides for the increase in grocery prices.
This article has more tips on coping with high fuel prices.
5.) Be economical with your food.
Make the most of your food budget by using a wide variety of strategies.
- Don’t let anything go to waste – eat your leftovers! Here are some ways to make leftovers as enticing as the initial meal.
- Add some dirt cheap meals to your recipe repertoire to make your grocery budget stretch.
- Meal prep so that you have food ready when you need it and reduce the temptation to go through a drive-through on the way home from work.
- Stretch meat with these tips.
- Don’t let picky eaters derail your frugal efforts.
You have to take very deliberate steps to make your food go further, and it’s important to make sure that the tips you choose to adopt are ones that your family will not rebel against.
6.) Be thrifty with utilities.
Utilities are something over which we have a little bit of control. There are things that you can do to consume less electricity, natural gas, and water without too much difficulty.
- Keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature. I have to confess, I absolutely love sleeping in a chilly room. If I had my way (and unlimited money), my air conditioning would be set at 62 degrees at night in the summer, and the windows would be wide open in the winter. BUT – that’s an outrageous expense, so I adapt. Here are some tips for keeping cool in the summer and staying warm in the winter.
- Be conservative with water use. Shorten your showers, use rainwater for outdoor plants whenever possible, and reuse washing up kitchen water for your garden. Here are some more water conservation tips.
- Hang your laundry. Whether on a clothesline outdoors or on a rack in the bathtub, air-drying your wash can make an enormous difference in your utility bills. As well, it can help keep the ambient temperature in your house more comfortable.
Here are some more excellent tips on reducing your utility usage.
7.) Keep a good attitude.
If you go into this feeling as though it’s torture and you’re really hard-done-by, you’re going to be miserable, and your efforts will seem far more difficult. If you can face this as an exciting challenge, a game you can win, you’ll be far more successful and a whole lot happier. And don’t forget to be grateful, no matter what comes your way.
How are you handling inflation?
Is inflation hitting home for you? Are there some strategies you are using that you find helpful? Share how you are surviving inflation in the comments. You just might inspire someone else who is going through a rough time.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.