Budgeting, Finance, Gas, Money Management, Saving

How to Deal with Inflation and Rising Costs

By: MoneyWise

The latest Consumer Price Index was released today, posting an 8.6% annual increase in May. That’s the highest increase the U.S. has seen since 1981. More importantly, it tells us that goods and services are becoming more and more out of reach. Reports have shown that these increases have already slowed discretionary purchases. Basically, that tells me there’s a lot less vacation and leisurely spending going on right now.

Our regular contributor and Compass Australia founding member, Gwenda, touched on saving the other day. And in times like this, I think it bears repeating: “The Bible encourages us to save and is loaded with great practical advice.”

That’s from the last time we heard from Gwenda. And as prices rise, we’re reminded of just how much wisdom God’s Word contains. Not everybody feels the effects, but many of us do. And one thing to weather it is to do exactly what the Bible says. As Gwenda mentioned, there’s a saying: “Save for a rainy day.” A step further, Proverbs 21:20 says that the wise save for the future, but the foolish spend whatever they get.

Sometimes, it can be hard for us to save when we don’t know what we’re saving for. But if the cost of just about everything is going up and it’s affecting you, this is the case in point for why the Bible tells us we must save. Having savings set aside right now would help weather rainy days like this.

If you’re asking how would you save, here are a few ways to get started:

  1. Make it automatic – Gwenda mentioned the automatic savings plan, as well. It’s an amount you decide and set up typically through your bank.
  2. Budget – Another recommendation by Gwenda. But don’t let this word scare you.
  3. Cut Back – I consider this separate from budgeting because the way I see it, just because I budget or plan for something, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

An automatic savings plan encourages you to save first, spend second. If you tithe and “pay yourself” first, you’re required to work with what’s left. A much better formula for putting more aside than if you were to spend first, save second. Saving whatever’s left over usually encourages more spending.

“Budget” is just a technical term for telling the money where to go, not the other way around. And when I say cutting back is separate from budgeting, here’s what I mean…

In our budget this month, my husband and I have planned to spend no more than $150 on dining. How much of that has to be spent, though? Well, the answer is $0.

We have to eat, but we don’t have to do that by going out to restaurants or taking out. This is my point: If you study your budget, chances are you’ll find one or two categories that either can be reduced or don’t need to be there at all.

The Building Your Finances God’s Way financial discipleship study dives even deeper into the concept of saving and much more. I encourage you to sign up for a study right here. Because it’s not just about weathering your storm.

Putting these three things into practice helps us become better financial disciples: One who can live in contentment, knowing no matter what, God provides; who can live life applying finances God’s way, giving cheerfully and with the assurance that it shall be given unto them, pressed down, shaken together, running over (Luke 6:38); and who shows others how to do the same and that there’s a reason why faith and love get us through anything and everything life throws our way.

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Activities, Budgeting, Car, Christian Credit Counselors, Consumer, Coupons, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Credit Score, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Consolidation, Economy, Finance, Gas, Gas, Holiday Tips, Kids & Money, Money Management, Repairs, Saving, Technology

Fall Money Saving Tips

Cutting Costs at Home

There are many ways you can save money and have fun doing it this holiday season. Falling leaves and decomposing Jack-o-Lanterns are the perfect way to start a compost pile this fall. Starting now means you’ll be one step ahead when spring arrives.

Make sure your roof is free of holes, destruction and critters; if it isn’t, repair the damage or shoo the animals away. Assess the gutters as well as the chimney. Nothing is worse than a cold, rainy winter inside the home without a fireplace. Repairing now helps ensure you don’t have any last minute problems during the winter.

It’s also very important to weatherproof your home. Chances are, you’ll be using your heater this winter. Rather than lose all of that precious heat, weatherproof your windows, doors and anything else you can think of.

Restock on winter essentials before they’re all snatched up. Coats, food, gloves and boots are some important winter items that disappear as it gets closer to December.

Shopping on a Budget

The holidays are almost upon us, and that means holiday shopping is close at hand. If you start shopping around in October and November, it will be a lot easier to pick up the perfect present than if you were to wait closer to Christmas time.

So many fruits and vegetables come into season in the fall, so don’t forget to stock up. Not only will you get cheaper produce, but it will be nice and fresh. And as always, use coupons to save even more.

Look out for fall and holiday deals and coupons. There’s something about the festive, fall season that puts stores in such a great mood. So many places are offering seasonal items for super cheap; it’d be a shame if you didn’t partake.

Lowering Travel Expenses

If you’ll be flying at some point during fall, purchase tickets in the middle of the week. Most sales occur Tuesday through Thursday, so when planning a trip buy on the less busy days.

Compare round-trip flights to one-way flights. Sometimes flying round-trip isn’t necessarily the best deal. If you can save more on two tickets, take that deal.

Luggage and travel accessories are going on sale during this time of the year. If you’re in need of a new suitcase, now’s the time to buy one for that vacation coming up.

Your Entertainment Costs

Bike riding is a great way to let off steam in the cool air, while also getting where you want to go! Exercising and saving money never felt so good.

Take a walk with the family. Play board games with your kids and significant other by the fireplace instead of sitting in front of the TV. Find new and fun ways to spend time with those you love. Parks are also a great place to go; they’re usually free and offer many great family-friendly amusements.

Harvest festivals, farmers markets, and city events are a super fun and cheap way to get outside as well. Pumpkin patches offer a great time for you and your kids, and spending time together is always a beautiful fall activity.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    Gas

    Money Saving Tips at the Pump

    Average National Gas Prices

    The national average for a gallon of gasoline has hit $3.76 and is increasing daily. On top of that, gas has topped $4 per gallon in Alaska, California and Hawaii, with several other states close behind. Unless you are planning to switch to a bicycle anytime soon, the following 6 ways to save of gas will help you keep a little more cash in your pocket when you go to the pump.

    1.  Warehouse clubs & grocery stores. Membership-based stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club have discounted gas available to their members. These places tend to consistently be the cheapest gas around. The only drawback is that you need to be a member to save–each membership ranges between $35 and $55 per year.

    If you don’t want to buy a membership, you can always purchase gas at a grocery store that offers a discount, like Vons. Vons Club cardholders automatically received 3 cents off gas and can earn 10 cents off depending on the amount of reward points they accumulate.

    2.  Use cash. Remembering to get cash out at the ATM may not be the most convenient option, but you will find many gas stations will offer a few extra cents off per gallon if you pay with cash. In addition, there are gas stations, such as ARCO, that charge $0.35 per transaction for using a debit card (they don’t even accept credit cards).

    3.  Shop smarter. Using apps like Gas Buddy will help you save time and money. The user-updated app uses your phone’s GPS to give itemize a list of gas stations around you by distance and price. You then have the option to get directions to the gas station you choose. So whether you want to find the cheapest gas in your area or you’re running out of gas (we do not recommend this), this app will get you where you need to go.

    4.  Fill up mid-week. Fill up your tank on Wednesdays and fill up all the way. Gas prices increase on Thursday mornings to prepare for weekend traveling and it’s important to fill up all the way since a break in price increases doesn’t appear to be in the forecast anytime soon.

    5.  Avoiding idling. Aside from warming up or cooling down your car, avoid keeping your car on at a standstill. If you are going to be waiting for someone in your car for more than one minute, it is better to cut the engine than keep it on. It wastes more fuel to leave your car on than it does to start the engine again. This also goes for drive-through’s; it’s faster to park and go inside.

    6.  Use a rewards card. If you qualify for a credit card that offers gas rewards, now is the time to take advantage of the offer. You can receive an average of 2-3 percent cash back on these types of cards. The important thing to remember is to pay your balance in full EVERY month. This way, you won’t be charged any interest and it won’t be tempting to carry a balance each month, which would cause you to easily slip into debt. If you don’t think you will have the discipline to pay the full balance, don’t sign up for a rewards card. It isn’t worth the risk.

    Have more tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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