Tips to Help You Handle/Survive the High Cost of Living

To handle and survive the high cost of living or inflation we are currently experiencing, you will need to assess your financial situation to make sure you are not spending more than what you make, cut back your spending on unnecessary monthly expenses, reevaluate and stick to a budget, consolidate and get out of debt, save money for emergencies, do things yourself instead of paying for extra services, and more.

1. Make a Plan for Your Personal Financial Situation

Assess your current financial situation by analyzing your current income against your current expenses. Many people know how much they are making but do not know a breakdown of their expenses and are surprised at how liberating it is just to know where all their money is going. By knowing your expenses and making a high-level plan and goals you give yourself a purpose and meaning so that budgeting or cutting back does not seem so bad.

2. Spend Less than You Are Making

If the cost of items that you regularly buy is going up and surpasses your monthly income, then cut back. Either buy items that are cheaper like generic brand items or stop buying things that you do not need. Spending less to survive the increased cost of living is difficult because no one wants to downgrade their standard of living. The better solution would be to find ways to increase your income, but until you can do that you need to tighten your belt and spend less.

3. Know the Difference Between Wants and Needs and Practice Self Control

Being honest with yourself and accepting the reality of your financial situation is key to being able to survive the higher cost of living. Focus on your needs when your finances are tight to avoid overspending. 

4. Establish or Reevaluate and Stick to a Strict Budget

Sticking to a strict budget will help you survive the high cost of living. This is important for those who are living month to month and have very little wiggle room in their monthly expenses. Cutting things out of your expenses and budgeting tighter may be necessary to get by. Using 20% of your net income to save or pay down debt is a good idea.

5. Get Out of Debt and Consolidate Debt Sources if it Makes Sense

To help survive high inflation you should work hard to get out of debt, especially credit card debt, car loans, payday loans, personal loans, and loan shark deals. Paying off debt will greatly increase your purchasing power each month.

6. Find Ways to Increase Your Income

Finding alternative ways to increase your income will help you survive the high cost of living. There are numerous ways to do this. You could start a business, ask for a raise at work, teach others something useful online or locally, rent out a room, look for a new job or second job, learn a new skill that will help you make an additional income, learn to trade equities or find something new.

7. Build up at Least Three Months’ Worth of Savings

It is not uncommon for emergencies or unexpected situations to come up. You could have unexpected expenses like car or home repairs come up. You might lose your job or have unexpected medical expenses. Having at least three months’ worth of expenses in your savings will help you survive higher costs of living and surprise additional expenses.

8. Grow your Knowledge and Skill Set by Doing Things Yourself

Gaining skills will help you survive the high cost of living because it will save you money if you start doing things yourself instead of paying others to do them. A few examples are changing your own car’s oil, washing your car, cutting your hair, doing your yard work, repairing your appliances, and numerous other things.

9. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions such as Cable or Streaming Services

Canceling subscriptions is a no-brainer and could be necessary for some to be able to survive the higher cost of living. Honestly, most subscriptions that we have are not a necessity for us or our families, and canceling many of them could be a very helpful thing to do. Canceling only a couple of subscriptions could free up funds for groceries and other necessary items.

10. Cook Meals at Home and Eat Leftovers

Cooking meals at home, using food storage, not letting food go bad, and eating leftovers instead of going out to eat will help you save money for other expenses.

11. Move to a Less Expensive Place or Downsize your Home/Apartment

If your work and life preferences permit it, moving to a less expensive place to live can be an effective way to cut your cost of living. If moving to a different location is not doable then downsizing your home or apartment will likely be a better option. This could be a lot of work but will leave you feeling less stressed and in more control of your life and finances.

12. Buy Generic Brands when Shopping for Groceries

Simply finding and buying generic brands will save you money and leave you with more disposable income during times of increased costs and high inflation. This is a simple tip but will make a difference. A bunch of small adjustments will help you survive increases in the cost of living. See the cheapest generic brands at grocery stores near you.

13. Only Buy Expensive Items when they are on Sale

If you can exercise a little self-control and prevent yourself from buying expensive items at full price, then you will handle increases in the overall cost of living. Look for deals or wait for discounts before you buy expensive items.

14. Shop for Cheaper Car Insurance

Shop around to find competitive insurance rates, since you never know where the best deals could be hiding.

15. Drive Less and Spend Less on Gas

With fuel prices, hitting all-time highs in 2023 it is important to plan better and drive less. Find ways to carpool, and ride public transportation if you can, but overall planning better by taking fewer trips places will greatly reduce the fuel you burn and the money you have to spend filling up the tank in your vehicle.

16. Make Sure You Still do Fun Things but Do Them Cheaper

Instead of going to the movies, theme or fun parks, or other places that cost a lot of money you can come up with age-appropriate games to play at home. Be creative or look up fun cheap ideas because there are a lot of great ideas out there.

17. Cut Back on Expensive Indulgent Items that are Bad for Your Health

Cutting back on soda, coffee, alcohol, sugary treats, and other addictive items will help you have more available funds during times when the price of groceries and other necessary items are increasing. This is difficult to do but is worth saving hundreds of dollars every year and it will improve your health and overall well-being.

18. Periodically Freeze Your Spending for a Time

Try putting a freeze on your spending for a couple of days a week to survive the higher cost of living. Or better yet put a freeze on things that are not a necessity for a full week or month. Work on putting spending freezes on things like clothing, alcohol, soda, coffee, candy, or other unhealthy foods.

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