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Opinion: Guard against budget-busting inflation with these tactics

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It’s no secret that many Americans are experiencing shrinking savings as high inflation persists.

While many people have come to terms with rising costs, there are minor adjustments that can make a big difference to help reduce the sting on your finances. Here are some tactics to consider.

Pare back on convenience services.
During the pandemic, many of us turned to convenience services that come at an extra cost. Did you get in the habit of takeout delivery from your favorite restaurants? Are you paying to have your groceries delivered? Are you shopping online and spending extra for shipping? You might be surprised by how you can save by running your own errands.

Cancel unused subscriptions and memberships.
Do you subscribe to multiple streaming services? Are you getting packages in the mail from box subscriptions that became popular during lockdown? Are you paying for one or more club memberships that you’re not using? Decide what you can live without, then cancel any that aren’t necessary and keep more dollars in your bank account each month.

Look for deals.
Talk to your cellphone provider to review your plan. Shop around for better rates on home and auto insurance, and bundle if it makes sense. Consider eliminating cable or satellite if you can get by with a cheaper entertainment alternative. Coupons, rebates and thrifting are back in fashion.

Don’t pay for your own money.
Stop paying convenience fees charged by many ATMs. Check with your bank to locate cash machines with no fees. Many grocery stores offer cash back options if you need a few bills in your wallet.

Avoid late fees.
Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees. Enroll in automated payments whenever possible so you don’t have to worry about forgetting payment deadlines.

Postpone big-ticket purchases.
If your vehicle is still a good runner, and your appliances are working, put off plans to trade in for newer models. With prices surging, you’ll pay top dollar for inventory that is still scarce due to supply chain challenges. For financed purchases, higher interest rates will drive up your overall cost.

Stick to the essentials.
If you can curtail indulgences for now, you’ll do your budget a favor. If you’re going to the store, make a shopping list to resist impulse buys.

Review your housing expense.
You may not have much control over your monthly rent or mortgage payment, but you can address the extras. It may be time to let go of your covered parking space or the extra storage unit. Consider getting a roommate to share costs. Or downsize if you can no longer afford your current living arrangement.

There’s no way to know just how long this period of high inflation will last. Nevertheless, taking these steps can help you save money.

Paula Dougherty is a certified financial planner and private wealth adviser with Achieve Private Wealth, Ameriprise Financial Services LLC in Springfield. She can be reached at paula.j.dougherty@ampf.com.

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