TEMPLE, Texas — The U.S. is seeing its largest 12-month inflation increase since December 1981; Food prices continue to rise and gas is now averaging $4.29 a gallon in Texas. That's left people spending more and looking for ways to cut back.
Thursday, 6 News spoke Eagle Strategies Financial Advisor Rolandus Johnson on how people can approach that budget. Here are 6 ways you can start saving money right now:
1. Limit errands to two days a week and look for opportunities to carpool
Try to run multiple errands in the same day so you don't drive across town multiple times a week. Limit errands to two days if possible. People who still need to get to work can try to carpool with coworkers to save on gas.
2. Plan your meals out and eat leftovers three times a week
If you plan your meals out, you can cook three times a week, make twice the serving size and eat leftovers for dinner the next day. That leaves one cheat day for fast food and you'll still be eating out less overall.
3. Buy items in bulk
There are plenty of items that you buy every month and don't go bad. If you can store it, buying in bulk for several months at a time will save you money.
"It's a hefty investment upfront, but you have to think the supplies will last longer," Johnson said. "The next time you go out you can reallocate money to other things."
4. Reevaluate your cable package and streaming services.
It can be tempting to sign up for Disney Plus, HBO Max and other services to see an exciting new series and easy to forget to cancel it afterward. That means you can have a lot of services draining your credit card every month. Decide what you want to watch most, and come back to the other services later on.
"It could cause some conflict in the family, but there are so many ways to watch content these days," Johnson said. "By finding the most cost-efficient way you may knock off twenty or thirty bucks a month and then spend that somewhere else."
5. Pay down your credit cards
You pay interest on your credit cards, every month, and that interest isn't going anywhere. Paying off your card may cost more in the short run but it will save your money in the months and years ahead.
"You have to kind of do the math and say, hey, what what does that interest rate look like. If I can pay it off now I can save 'X' amount of dollars," Johnson said. "You can then start paying yourself that money you were paying somebody else."
6. Go to the park for summer fun
Movies, water parks, and theme parks are fun. They are also expensive. Remember that your local park has no admission cost, no parking cost, and you can take snacks with you. You can still have a great time.
Finally, Johnson said people should reevaluate their budget every month as inflation continues to rise. When gas and food prices are continuously fluctuating it's easy to lose track.
"Things are changing every month. You have to have the ability to adapt. Gas prices are increasing daily. It's tedious and frustrating, but if you can get the hang of doing the budget once a month you can gauge where money is going in and coming out."