Inflation Could Last the Rest of the Year. Here's What to Do About It

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 2, 2021

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A busy coffee shop with a woman paying at the register.

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Here's how to cope with a cost of living that doesn't seem to be going down.

Take a close look at your grocery bill the next time you hit the supermarket. Chances are, it'll be higher than normal. In fact, many people are bemoaning the fact that life has gotten more expensive. We can thank inflation for that.

Some degree of inflation is normal, but this summer, the cost of goods has risen at a much faster pace than usual. In August, consumer prices rose 5.3% year over year, as per the most recent Consumer Price Index update.

Now in many cases, rampant inflation is only temporary. But the current bout may last longer than most of us would like.

In July, financial experts said they anticipated inflation will persist for eight to 10 months, according to a Duke University study. That means we could be looking at higher living costs for the rest of 2021. And in light of that, here are a few essential moves it pays to make.

1. Tighten up your budget

We all have expenses we have to cover, like food, utilities, and gas for our vehicles. When those costs go up, cutting back on other expenses sometimes becomes necessary.

If inflation hasn't been hurting you so far -- meaning, you can still cover your bills without having to rack up debt or dip into your savings -- then you may not need to make many changes. But if you're struggling to cover your expenses, then it's time to examine your budget and find ways to cut back on some spending categories. For example, that could mean canceling cable for the time being or downgrading to a cheaper package.

2. Get a side job

Given how everyday expenses have gotten so costly, now may be a good time to start a side job. You don't necessarily have to add 15 or 20 hours a week to your workload. Even if you only have a couple of hours a week to dedicate to a side hustle, it's worth doing, as the extra cash you earn could help cover your growing bills.

Some flexible side hustles include at-home data entry, telemarketing, and content writing. You can also sign up to drive for a rideshare service, which will allow you to make your own schedule.

3. Bank any windfalls you get

At this point, the likelihood of there being a fourth stimulus check this year is waning. But that doesn't mean you won't be in line for any extra cash on top of your paycheck.

If you're a parent, you may have several more monthly installment payments of the Child Tax Credit headed your way. Or you may be entitled to a year-end bonus at work. Putting that money into savings is a smart move. That way, you can dip in if your paycheck really falls short of covering your bills.

Unfortunately, inflation could be here to stay. Make these key moves so it doesn't wreak too much havoc on your finances.

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