Price inflation affects our regular expenses—from groceries to gas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that from July 2021 to July 2022, the consumer price index for all items increased by 8.5 percent. Last month, President Biden signed The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 which aims to eventually lower energy, health care and prescription drug costs. Still, it’s good to shop smarter and spend wiser where possible to put more money in your wallet. Here are 15 budgeting tips to help you save at the stores, at the pump and on your utilities.
Save at the grocery store.
Overspending is easy to do at the grocery store. So, keep these tips from “The Whole U” in mind when shopping for your weekly essentials.
- Know exactly what’s in your pantry, fridge and freezer when making your list to avoid buying items you don’t need.
- Have recipes in mind to prepare before you shop.
- Buy in-season produce as out-of-season fruits and vegetables are typically more expensive.
- Get the best deal by paying attention to the item’s price per unit.
- Sign up for loyalty programs to earn points and lower your grocery bill. (Grocery store loyalty programs are generally free to join.)
Save at the pump.
According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular gas is currently under $3.80. Here are recommendations from The Department of Energy (DOE) on how to get the most out of a filled tank.
- Avoid aggressive driving because the DOE estimates that it can lower your highway gas mileage by 15 percent to 30 percent and your city mileage by 10 to 40 percent.
- Get routine maintenance checks to avoid financial strain due to problems such as worn spark plugs, dragging brakes and transmission problems.
- Turn off your engine when your car is parked longer than 10 seconds to limit idling. (Bonus: For heating up your car during the winter, most manufacturers recommend driving off safely for about 30 seconds. The heat will turn on sooner once you start driving, which can decrease fuel costs.)
- Consolidate your errands and to-dos into the same trip so that you’re not using as much fuel.
- Try not to keep heavy items in your car as an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could increase your gas costs by up to three cents per gallon.
Save on your utilities.
Using your utilities wisely can gradually lower your monthly bill. Here is the American Society of Home Inspectors’ five ways to save money on utilities.
- Switch to LED lightbulbs to save on energy costs.
- Dishwashers use less water and can be a better energy-efficient option than hand-washing dishes every night.
- Turn back your thermostat seven to 10 degrees eight hours a day to slash your annual cooling and heating bill by up to 10 percent.
- Check that air vents are open and clear to prevent your A/C or furnace from working harder and burning excess amounts of energy.
- Unplug electrical items and devices when you’re not using them.
These budgeting tips may seem small, but they add up over time and allow you to prioritize your savings.