Rising inflation has been soaring over the last year, and families feel the pinch in their budgets. Trying to stretch your paycheck to cover price gouging on groceries, household items, and big-budget expenses means getting a little creative with your budget.
The impact of inflation can be felt across a wide range of industries and products, but some are definitely more heavily impacted than others. Trying to spend wisely? Find ways to work around the following areas that are seeing the biggest price inflation.
Where Inflation Hits Hardest
We can see the impact of inflation on consumers across a range of industries.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, airfare has risen almost 29% last year. Online reviews share customer frustrations with expensive tickets, flight delays, and staff shortages. If you’re ready to brave the crowds, the shorter tempers, and the more expensive tickets, the skies are back open, and companies are ready to fly you where you want to go.
One impact of inflation that can be trickier to measure is what has been cleverly labeled “shrinkflation.” While not strictly food inflation, companies are able to keep prices lower by packaging less food or product at the same price. You might find fewer paper towels on the roll or fewer cookies in the package. Be on the lookout for shrinkflation in addition to the more standard rising prices.
Both groceries and meals away from home have increased in price. Overall, food costs have risen 8.5% over the last 7 months with no signs of stopping. Customers are dissatisfied with the prices at the grocery store and their favorite restaurants, often leaving reviews on sites like PissedConsumer.com expressing their frustration.
Thanks to supply and demand issues, some foods have risen more steeply in price than others. Eggs, for example, have jumped to the point customers worried about price gouging, but really there were simply fewer eggs to go around after an outbreak of avian flu. Butter, dairy, and vegetable oil have also suffered hard from the impact of inflation.
The car market has seen mixed numbers in terms of inflation. Used cars, which soared in price during the pandemic, have dropped more than 11%, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states. On the other hand, new cars are still impacted by rising inflation, which gained 6.1% over the last year.
How to Budget for Inflation
In our current period of rising prices, it’s hard to know how to budget for inflation. Fortunately, some of the classic advice for making a budget plan still holds true.
When you’re preparing your meals, make a little extra and then have leftovers or use the extra for your meal the next day. Today’s extra hamburgers become tomorrow’s taco salad, for example. By doing this, you can fight against food inflation.
Stretch the meat or skip it
Meat, butter, and dairy suffer the most from price gouging, but you can stretch some of these items by making dishes that are served over a bed of pasta or rice.
Avoid big purchases
Unless there is an emergency, make your car or current home last just a little bit longer. Rising inflation will eventually taper off, and getting another few months or years out of the car you have means spending less on a new one down the road.
Rather than paying inflated prices for long road trips or expensive airline tickets, travel locally or within a few hours of home to smooth out the impact of inflation. Load up the family for a trip just around the corner and enjoy spending time together without overspending on the budget.