6 Experts’ Money Expenditures Retreat During Inflation

So far, 2022 feels like the year of sky-high prices for everything around us – from gas, food, and travel to utility costs and housing. Although the latest figures from August show that inflation has cooled down a bit, it is still high and is expected to remain that way until the end of the year.

While many Americans have now tweaked their spending habits to account for these increased costs, we were curious to know what the experts themselves were stopping at.

Select spoke to several personal finance experts about the cost-saving moves they are taking to deal with inflation and asked them to comment on their spending habits. Here’s what they had to say – maybe there’s something teachers do to save money that you haven’t thought of yet.

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grocery shop

It turns out that no one gets numbed by the sticker shock we’ve all seen in supermarket aisles lately — not even the experts. Like many Americans, they have also changed their shopping lists to account for the higher costs.

Melanie Lockert, personal finance blogger and author of “Dear Debt,” says based on her longtime blog of the same name, she buys less fish than she usually buys at the store and stops snacks.

Paula Sukonbi, certified financial education coach, founder of Clever Girl Finance and author of Choosing to Prosper has become very particular about grocery shopping. With the prices of staples like eggs, milk and breakfast meats now rising, she only buys as much as she knows her family will eat without wasting.

“My grocery list and budget are very focused on the essentials,” says Sukonbi. “People who have but don’t have to are ‘not a priority on my list because of the exorbitant costs.’” She says she would prefer using any extra money to accumulate her emergency savings given the ongoing economic uncertainty, as well as buying in the market to take advantage of the decline.

Marsha Barnes, certified financial social worker and founder of The Finance Bar, agrees to go item-by-item to determine what expenses are good versus those who need them. “Going back to basics this season with business and personal expenses is refreshing,” she says.

And while Money Girl podcast host Laura Adams hasn’t necessarily cut expenses during inflation, she says she’s more mindful about buying non-perishable groceries in bulk through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program.

“They offer a huge discount for bundling monthly orders for various products, such as packaged foods, packaged drinks, soaps, paper products, and health supplements,” Adams says, adding that she uses branded rewards credit cards to earn more from her spend at some stores she shop more than others.

For example, Adams says she will use her Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card while shopping with the e-commerce giant to earn 5% cash back on her purchases (at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market). When you order grocery delivery, you’ll use your Instacart Mastercard® for a free year of Instacart+ membership, plus 5% cash back on the Instacart app and Instacart.com purchases. There are also some Chase credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, that offer up to $15 in monthly Instacart credits. “Ensuring that you get the most out of every purchase is one way to combat inflation,” Adams says.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% return at restaurants, gas stations and pharmacies; 1% refund on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Amazon.com $100 Gift Card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (Prime membership required)

  • April Introduction

  • normal april

    15.74% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance Transfer Fee

  • Foreign Transaction Fee

  • Credit required

Eating out

There is another big category when it comes to spending cuts Eat in restaurants.

Jim Droske, president of credit counseling firm Illinois Credit Services, is coming out lower than he once was. However, he admits that he hasn’t given up the Starbucks daily habit yet, finding that coffee and pleasant interactions with the baristas fuel him.

“I became more adventurous by cooking in the kitchen and trying to make those meals that you would normally only eat in the restaurant,” says your lessons. “Like grilled calamari and homemade pasta – that’s a lot of fun! It’s more work, but it’s fun to find a new recipe, grab a glass of wine and roll up the sleeves.”

Your Lessons isn’t the only one feeling the newfound excitement in the kitchen. Sukunbei has also replaced eating out in order to serve sweets and fun meals with her children at home.

Eating out was killing her budget, so she started cooking more, says Beverly Harzog, a consumer finance analyst and author of The Debt Escape Plan and Confessions of a Credit Addict. “I love him!” Harzog says. “I have a herb garden on my deck so I don’t have to buy herbs at the grocery store. My goal was to save money, but I ended up taking up a new hobby.”

Lockert also says she has implemented a rule for eating out: either you eat a meal or you go out for coffee, but she won’t do both at the same time.

Along the same lines, Kara Stevens, personal finance blogger at The Frugal Feminista, says she’s become more insistent on using what she already has at home, choosing to eat a meal with what’s in the fridge rather than lunch elsewhere.

If you decide to dine out, be sure to pay with a credit card that rewards you for spending at your restaurant. For example, the $95 per year Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points at all dining venues, including fast food and certain delivery services. If you prefer cash back, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards credit card offers a generous 4% cashback on restaurant purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards

    $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit annually, 5x travel points purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on food, 2x points on all other travel purchases, 1x points on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Annual fee

  • April Introduction

  • normal april

    18.24% – 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign Transaction Fee

  • Credit required

Gas

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On the secure American Express website

  • Rewards

    6% cashback at US supermarkets on up to $6000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cashback on select US streaming subscriptions, 3% cashback at US gas stations, cash back 3% off on transfers including taxis/trip share, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cashback is received in the form of reward dollars that can be redeemed as statement credit.

  • welcome bonus

    Earn a statement credit of $350 after you spend $3,000 on purchases with your new card within the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

  • April Introduction

    0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening

  • normal april

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign Transaction Fee

  • Credit required

self care

We heard from an expert that she cut back on going to the nail salon due to the higher costs. What used to be a weekend routine has now dwindled down to biweekly pedicures—and instead of getting manicures done at the salon, she does her own at home.

“Now, I get a pedicure every two weeks,” Harzog says. “I still go to the nail salon for a pedicure because I want to support a small business. And it’s a great treatment that I kept to myself!”

entertainment

Travel

minimum

For Blue Cash Preferred card rates and fees, click over here.

Editorial note: The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations contained in this article are those of the editorial board alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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