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15 Ways to Cope With Surging Inflation

By Christy Bieber - Aug 23, 2022 at 7:00AM
Hand holding a tiny, shrunken dollar bill.

15 Ways to Cope With Surging Inflation

Surging inflation is probably hitting your pocketbook

With inflation at a 40-year high, most Americans are feeling the pain in their pocketbook. The good news is, even with prices going up, you can take steps to stay within budget and avoid damaging your long-term financial picture.

Not sure how to do that? Just try these 15 tips to cope with high costs.

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1. Shop used

While the price of new merchandise has been affected by supply chain issues and high demand, used goods have not seen the same huge price increases.

While there are some things it's not a good idea to purchase used -- such as car seats, high chairs, and mattresses -- most items can be obtained for a fraction of current retail prices from consignment and thrift stores.

ALSO READ: Secondhand Clothing Is Long on Hype, Short on Impact for Mall Retailers

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Items on a lawn at a garage sale.

2. Join Buy Nothing groups

In many local areas, Buy Nothing groups exist where people can offer up items they no longer need or make requests for things they are looking for. By joining your local group, you may be able to declutter and help others while also scoring items you need at zero cost.

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A stand-up monthly desk calendar with fluttering pages.

3. Schedule no-spend days

A no-spend day is a day when you commit to buying nothing. No-spend days can help you to change your mindset and look for alternatives to shopping when you need something. And obviously, the more days when you avoid spending money, the less inflation will hit your pocketbook.

ALSO READ: Why Planning for No-Spend Days in 2022 Could Change Your Finances

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Hands holding a small chalkboard with the words Spend and Save, with Spend crossed out.

4. Reuse and repurpose

Rather than opting to buy new things at today's high prices, consider looking around at what you already have first. See if there's something you could repurpose that might be able to meet your need.

For example, rather than buying storage containers to organize your house, cleaned-out cereal boxes wrapped in decorative paper could do the trick.

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A party where one person is showing products displayed on a table.

5. Plan exchange parties

Chances are other people in your life are also feeling the pain of inflation. So why not organize an exchange party to help everyone out?

At an exchange party, everyone brings an item they no longer use and can exchange it with someone else for something they want. You could do this around a theme, such as asking everyone to bring winter clothing or children's clothing or toys. Or people could bring any items they want to get rid of to trade for other things.

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Person stirring a pot on a stove.

6. Make a meal plan

Groceries have become very expensive, but planning your meals can help you to avoid spending a fortune on food.

Planning out your meals can allow you to buy in bulk to get better discounts and can help you to avoid waste. You can also reduce the need to eat out if you have a plan for what you're going to cook each day.

ALSO READ: Inflation Is Everywhere, But Some Grocery Items Are Getting Hit Worse Than Others

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Sale signs in the windows of a store that is closing.

7. Shop the sale flyers

Most grocery stores and big-box stores send out regular sales flyers. You can plan your meals around them by looking at what's on discount.

You can also decide which store to go to each week based on which has the best sales on the goods you're interested in buying.

And you can learn your store's sales schedule so you can stock up and not have to buy at full price. For example, if spaghetti goes on sale every six weeks and you need a box once a week, you could buy six of them while they are on sale to avoid having to pay a higher price during some weeks.

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Shoppers pick up items at a grocery store.

8. Substitute cheaper goods

Inflation has hit some groceries harder than others, so consider looking for alternatives to your more expensive goods. For example, if meat prices are up in your area, look into having more plant-based meals instead.

ALSO READ: Dave Ramsey Has This Advice for Saving on Groceries During Inflation

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Discount voucher coupons.

9. Use coupons

Coupons can help you bring down the cost of the things you buy so you won't have to pay such high premiums.

You can clip coupons from the paper or buy or print them from online. You can also install apps that help you to ensure you're entering any discount codes that are available when you're shopping on the internet.

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A gas pump.

10. Take steps to get better gas mileage

Gas prices are another leading cause of surging costs, although they've been coming down in recent weeks. Prices are still high, so aiming to get better gas mileage can go a long way toward keeping your spending in check.

Driving the speed limit is one way to get better gas mileage, as is removing unnecessary clutter from your vehicle so your car weighs less.

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Person caulking the outside of a window.

11. Weatherproof your home

Energy costs are also through the roof, so if you can reduce the costs to heat and cool your home, you should be able to save a fortune.

Taking simple steps like sealing gaps around doors and windows can go a long way toward helping to keep costs down. You can also look into alternatives such as adding extra insulation.

ALSO READ: 7 Things You Need to Do Now to Winterize Your Home

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Person putting money into a jar.

12. Pick the right savings account

The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in an effort to fight inflation, and many banks have also raised the rates they pay. While your savings account isn't going to pay enough to keep up with rising prices, you should still try to maximize the annual percentage yield on your emergency fund and other money you have in short-term savings.

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A pair of glasses and a magnifying glass atop a document that says Insurance Policy.

13. Aim to cut your recurring costs

Most people have recurring bills they pay, such as for insurance, cable, streaming services, cell phones and more. If you can reduce these costs, you can free up more money to pay the higher prices you're faced with in other areas.

Consider calling your insurer and the other companies you do business with to see what discount options might be available to you. And shop around for different options you could switch to in order to cut your costs.

ALSO READ: Cut Your Car Insurance

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A person holds up a smartphone in a store.

14. Put off big purchases

If you don't have to make large purchases right now, you may want to avoid doing so. Surging inflation is unlikely to last forever, and waiting to make a purchase until prices come down could potentially save you a lot of money.

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Close-up of the salary line on a paycheck.

15. Increase your income

Finally, if you can make more money, you'll be better able to afford today's high prices. The good news is, it's a tight labor market and many companies are hiring so you should have leverage to ask your employer for a raise. Or you may want to consider looking for new, higher-paying opportunities.

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A pile of cash funds.

Inflation doesn't have to damage your finances in the long term

While it's stressful to see the prices on everything you buy going up so quickly, taking the right steps can help you stay within budget so you don't damage your finances over the long term.

Start working on taking as many of these 15 steps as possible so you don't end up spending more than you should on everyday goods.

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