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6 Expenses Money Experts Are Cutting Back on During Inflation


So far, 2022 seems like the year of exorbitantly high prices for everything around us — from gas, food and travel to utility and housing costs. Although the latest numbers from August show that inflation has cooled down a bit, it’s still record-high and is expected to stay that way through the end of the year.

While many Americans by now have adjusted their spending habits to account for these increased costs, we were curious to see what the experts themselves have been cutting out.

Select spoke to several personal finance gurus about the cost-saving moves they’re making to cope with inflation and asked them to comment on their own spending habits. Here’s what they had to say — perhaps there’s something the gurus are doing to save money that you haven’t thought of yet.

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Groceries

It turns out that nobody is numb to the sticker shock we’ve all seen in the supermarket aisles lately — not even the experts. Like many Americans, they, too, have altered their shopping lists to account for higher costs.

Melanie Lockertpersonal finance blogger and author of “Dear Debt,” based on her long-standing blog of the same name, says she’s buying less fish than she typically would at the store and putting a pause on snacks.

Bola Sokunbi, certified financial education instructor, founder of Clever Girl Finance and author of “Choosing to Prosper,” has also become very particular about grocery shopping. With the prices on basic items such as eggs, milk and breakfast meats being higher now, she’s only buying as much as she knows her family will eat without wasting.

“My grocery budget and list are very much focused on the essentials,” Sokunbi says. “The ‘nice-to-haves-but-not-necessary’ are not a priority on my list due to the high costs.” She says she would rather use any extra money to bulk up her emergency savings given the ongoing economic uncertainty, as well as buy into the market to take advantage of the dip.

Marsha Barnes, certified financial social worker and founder of The Finance Bar, agrees about going line item by line item to determine expenses that are nice-to-haves versus need-to-haves. “Getting back to the essentials in this season with business and personal expenses feels refreshing,” she says.

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

“It offers a significant discount for bundling monthly orders of various products, such as packaged food, canned beverages, soaps, paper products and health supplements,” Adams says, adding that she uses branded rewards credit cards to earn even more from her spending at certain stores where she shops the most.

For example, Adams says she will use the 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 ordering grocery delivery, she’ll use the Instacart Mastercard® to get a free year of Instacart+ membership, plus 5% cash back on Instacart app and Instacart.com purchases. There are also some Chase credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offer up to $15 in monthly Instacart credits. “Ensuring you get the most out of every purchase is one way to fight inflation,” Adams says.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Rewards

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

  • Welcome bonus

    $100 Amazon.com gift card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Dining out

Another big category when it comes to cutting down on spending has been dining at restaurants.

Jim Droske, president of credit counseling company Illinois Credit Services, goes out less than he used to. He admits, however, that he isn’t kicking his daily Starbucks habit just yet, as he finds that both the coffee and the pleasant interactions with the baristas fuel him.

“I’ve become more adventurous with cooking in the kitchen and trying to make those meals you’d only typically eat at a restaurant,” Droske says. “Like grilled calamari and homemade pasta — that’s a lot of fun! It’s more work, but it’s fun to look up a new recipe, grab a glass of wine and roll up the sleeves.”

Droske isn’t the only one who’s experiencing newfound excitement in the kitchen. Sokunbi has also traded dining out for making fun treats and meals with her kids at home.

Beverly Harzog, consumer finance…



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