Shopping and Inflation, a creative piece.
By Re’nee Wallace
Inflation’s a situation
*Ren’ee Wallace *readandspeakout.com August 25, 2022
Proven through studies and theories, men and women both like to shop. Men and women have different shopping habits. Questioners show men prefer to shop within their niche, and with buddies. Women enjoy shopping with or without friends. Men become impulsive shoppers when they are with their friends, and women become less impulsive with friends. We could speculate that this happens because of pride or ego for men. Women make less impulsive decisions because they get feedback. Women are more impulsive when shopping alone.
Man or Woman, it doesn’t matter, people have cut down on shopping. The culprit is inflation, the dreaded word of 2022. Recession is the red panic button word! The inflation really should not come as a surprise. We can blame it on; the Russian invasion/war, the Biden administration, or even climate change (to an extent). The facts show you can accuse all of the above, and they all play a part. This is not a problem that started now. For years, we have been writing and cashing checks for money that isn’t there. I am sure everyone has or had a bank account before. What happens when you start using money that isn’t there? You may go to jail, but usually, you have mass amounts of overdraft fees, and you still have to cover the purchase. I know I am using an old monologue, checks, but you can still overdraft with your debit card. The point is, you have all this debt that starts accumulating. This year, we reached 30 trillion in debt, the highest. In the real world, we could never have trillions of dollars in debt to a bank. The government has something better than collateral. A printer, no ordinary printer, a money printer! So to outweigh the money that is missing, we just print more. The printed money is kept track of, and after some mathematics, we find our deficit. Our national debt is money borrowed to counter that deficit. The point is there is more printing than paying, especially in the last couple of years.
In 2019, we were hit with an Earth rocking pandemic, nobody prepared, and it consumed many lives. Yes, we are speaking of the Coronavirus. The whole economy shut down, this took place all over. Jobs were lost or cut back, and vital positions in our economy were shut down. It affects the GDP, which has an impact on the deficit, and that influences the national debt. In order to make up for the money, and to flood the economy with money, stimulus checks were cut. Digging the debt further.
You may think there are immediate effects from the deficit or the national debt, but this is a process. It’s yearly reviewed and revised. This year, inflation raised to 9.1% and hasn’t occurred since 1981. The last record came out to 8.5%. We are showing a slight decrease, so this is a good sign. Take a look at some common items that have increased. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that home energy costs are up 41.6%, gasoline is up 59.9%, used vehicles 7.1%, and food is up 10.4%. Beef is amongst the higher-end percentages of 16%t that increased. While other items are steady, on the rise: chicken 13.4%, eggs 11.2%, rice, and pasta 9.3%, milk 13.3%, and butter 12.5% increase. Homes and rent have been hit with an inflation of 18.8%.
What are some ideas that can be implemented so that we can combat inflation? According to sources, monthly expenses have raised $433 a month or $5,200 a year. The first place to start is cutting back on shopping, and this involves creating new habits. Using groceries as a guide, it’s estimated that a male 19-50 spends on a low budget $278, a medium budget 348, and high rollers $427. We can find an average in there, and we’ll use $360 as a monthly common amount for each individual. A 3-person family would spend $1080 monthly on food. This doesn’t include if you eat out.
That is a place to start, though we may feel grabbing a $2 sandwich from McDonald’s is saving your wallet. This is true somewhat for singles, but when you start ordering with a family, adding meals, and toys, quickly you have a $20 purchase, possibly more, If managed, a trip to the groceries would have bought you more. There is always the factor of time and not feeling like cooking. We all work and at the end of the day, who feels like going home and cooking? Not many, so an idea is to do cooking in your spare time. Freeze meals, and pull out the night before, so all that needs is some heating. Your wallet and sanity will thank you. Make a weekly shopping list created by pre-planned weekly meals. Studies show that each household with unplanned shopping wastes $1200-1500 yearly. Comparison shop, look for coupons, and gas rewards. Weis, offers great online discounts and gas savings. Giant links with shell. Switch to off-brand whenever possible and instead of fresh vegetables and fruits consider canned or frozen. Not acceptable, look for fresh fruit stands, or farmer’s markets, they tend to be a little cheaper. Consider the weight of a product, and whether you should buy it in bulk, and to achieve this you may need a Sam’s Club or Costco account. Watching and researching, you can find a discounted membership at either of these places.
Transportation has made the biggest leap, and what can you do, the kids have school, and you have work. Cutting your carbon usage is going to save you; by carpooling, public transportation, (if there is a bus line) and only traveling when necessary, walking short distances, and combining errands. Credit reward cards for fuel stations, also save you money. Facts are, it’s hard to decrease a vital-modern necessity, comparable to cutting down on internet usage. We have utilized these methods and are entrapped by them. Make sure your vehicle’s commissions are functioning properly. Vacuum seal leaks and sensors cause your vehicle to use more gas. Basically, maintain the maintenance on your car. You will thank yourself for fixing small problems before they turn into big ones. Utilize the fuel rewards linked with groceries.
Plan ahead for a vacation. Most people will cancel their plans this year, but if you are set on that dream vacation, then plan 6 months ahead. Certain flights, hotels, and other accommodations can be cheaper if booked early. Travel reward credit cards can save on the costs of your trip.
Creating a budget plan or list. The world’s in full swing, and you can’t possibly remember everything. A good way to never miss a bill or know your monthly spending, You should keep a budget plan, and audit that plan periodically. An easy way, find a budgeting app or simple spreadsheet and calculate your expenses. Make adjustments and tighten your budget as necessary. Make long and short-term goals and set limits, and stick to them. Don’t forget to question if you are sticking to your goals. Double-check for unnecessary subscriptions that aren’t utilized. Do a budget plan today because it helps.
Credit card debt and most debts are a monkey on your back. Pay on credit cards and try not to use them as much. In some instances, this can’t be helped or the benefit of using the card is greater. Consolidate or use a repayment strategy to pay off your credit cards. If you have good credit, think of doing a balance transfer with a 0% introductory period ARP. This helps with consolidation and saving on interest while you make payments.
Earn money on your savings. A savings account can earn you a little interest on your money. It won’t outweigh inflation, but everything helps. If you want to go with a risk-free option, look into Treasury I bonds. Backed by the government, you can earn 9.2% interest. For more information, visit treasury.gov for a good understanding.
There is no way around it, inflation in 2022 is bad, but applying these options will help. What else do you have to lose, but more money, by not trying? The struggle of life shouldn’t be compounded by money, but that is our world. Audit your budget and revise, it often. Until there is a better alternative, save yourself struggle by letting the unnecessary go.
Authored By: Ren’ee Wallace