May 5, 2022
Of all the economic problems that arise, inflation is among the most destructive. When prices rise, every dollar earned is worth less, making it even more challenging to make ends meet. But don’t worry, through our partnership with Balance and our very own “Get Lit” Podcast, FirstLight is providing six tips to help beat inflation.
Prices are going up at their fastest rate since the early 1980s, in fact, prices rose 8.5% in March compared to the year prior, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. To preserve wealth and buying power, a strategy is needed for survival, and here are six valuable tips to use starting today:
1. Put An End to ATM Service Fees
With every dollar worth less, no one can afford to waste them. So now is the time to get rid of those monthly bank service fees, ATM charges, and other costs that may be lingering. At FirstLight, we belong to a nationwide shared branching network providing you access to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMS and 5,000+ shared branches to help avoid fees. Simply text your zip code to 91989 to find a nearby ATM or shared branch location. Moreover, through the FirstLight Rewards Program, members can accumulate reward points with everyday transactions from their debit or credit cards; earning cash back, loan rate discounts, share certificate rate bumps, and fee reversals. NOTE: If ATMs are not available to you, try Point-of-Sale-Purchases to withdrawal small amounts of cash. Many stores offer customers the ability to make withdrawal funds while making a purchase and avoid fees.
2. Banish Food Waste
A family of four waste about $1,500.00 a year on wasted food and the only thing worse than spending more at the grocery store is watching those dollars disappear into the trash. With inflation on the rise, it has never been more essential to banish food waste. Embrace those leftovers, freeze the excess, or share the bounty with those in need.
3. Stock Up on Shelf Staples
Even with prices on the rise, there are bargains to be had. When deals pop up, it is time to stock up. Filling the pantry with pasta boxes, jarred sauce, and canned vegetables will be good for future finances, so clear some space and start shopping. Other ways of saving including making a grocery list, look for coupons and sales, and don’t necessarily purchase brand items.
4. Experiment with meatless meals
The cost of putting food on the table is the highest it’s been in 40 years. The biggest food price hikes are in meats, with pork and beef up 14% to 20% compared with a year ago. Maybe a meatless Monday is a way to experiment. Of course, giving up meat entirely isn’t necessary, but eating meatless one or two days a week could make a big difference in the size of monthly grocery bills. Going meatless one day per week can save you on average $40 per month!
5. Seek out inflation friendly investments
If extra cash is available to save and invest, looking for products that benefit from inflation is smart. From government savings bonds that track the rate of inflation to stocks of companies with rising earnings, these smart money investments could be suitable for the short term and the long term. At FirstLight our experienced Insurance, Retirement, and Investment Services (IRIS) Team can work specifically with your needs and develop a strategy that’s right for you—starting with a free consultation.
6. Optimize your fuel economy
The price of gas has been especially problematic of late, and inflation at the pump is surely one of the most painful aspects of rising prices. AAA expects the cost of gas to keep increasing as oil prices stay above $100 per barrel. So, what can you do? Think about the way you drive as well as how many miles are traveled. Are there other, less expensive transportation options available? Public transportation can be a valuable option to cut cost. Individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, more than $816 per month. Also look into grouping trip errands to save fuel costs. Instead of driving all around town in one day, see if you can group trips according to task and location. Also, if circumstances permit, try walking or biking to work or school.
So, whether finding ways to beat inflation, a free consultation with our Wealth Management Team, or looking for virtual financial educational workshops, please visit us at www.firstlightfcu.org.
About Get Lit With FirstLight
Get Lit With FirstLight is a local, bilingual podcast about money matters and financial literacy in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. The show explores everyday financial themes to help our border community. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, iHeart Radio, and Amazon Music, visit here https://getlitwithfirstlight.podbean.com.
About FirstLight Federal Credit Union
FirstLight Federal Credit Union is a local financial cooperative serving over 100,000 members in the El Paso, Fort Bliss, and Las Cruces communities. Founded in 1955 by nine pioneers to help military and civilian personnel, the credit union has grown to $1.4 billion in assets serving El Paso, TX and Doña Ana, NM counties. Since 2018, the FirstLight Community Foundation has donated nearly $100,000 in student scholarships. For more information about FirstLight or our Community Foundation, visit www.firstlightfcu.org.