We’ve been hearing the word “inflation” a lot lately, but what does it mean?

Inflation is an economic trend that occurs when the value of our currency goes down while the cost of our goods and services goes up.

The U.S. inflation rate reached its highest level in more than 40 years in May 2022, and with some of the biggest price hikes being on gas and food, we’re all feeling it. According to Bloomberg.com, inflation is expected to add an extra $5,200 to the average U.S. household’s budget this year. Ouch. But try not to stress, because Infinity is here to help our members manage their expenses and maybe even put some money away. We’ve got five money-saving strategies to help you do just that:

1) Budget, budget, budget

The first step in managing your finances is to make a monthly budget to track where you are spending your money. Use this handy budget worksheet (below) to track how much you spend this month. Then, use this month’s information to help you plan next month’s budget, and so on. Some bills are monthly, and some come less often. If you have an expense that does not occur every month, put it in the “Other expenses this month” category.

2) Find Lots of Little Ways to Save Big

Based on your monthly budget worksheet, look for ways to reduce your recurring expenses. The bottom line is that little things can add up to big savings!

– Do you keep track of all the subscriptions and streaming services that you are being billed for each month? And do you really need them all? Maybe the show that inspired you to subscribe to a premium channel is over for the season or you no longer even watch it. If so, you can place your account on hold or cancel it.

– Are you still paying for a mobile-based app, a free trial that converted to autopay, or a monthly service upgrade or add-on you don’t even use? That’s an easy way to put money back into your budget.

– Save money at the pump by signing up for loyalty rewards programs and apps like Gas Buddy.

– Make a grocery list to resist impulse buying, and buy online or in bulk on items you use most frequently.

– Get to know your French press or home brewing system and start making your hot or iced coffee at home – you’ll save $5 or more a day!

– Consider dropping down to a lower monthly internet or cable subscription.

– If you still have a landline, think about giving it up altogether.

– Comparison shop for home and auto insurance to make sure you have the best rates.

3) Refinance and Consolidate Debt

Reduce your monthly payments and save on interest by consolidating or refinancing your debt. Use our mortgage calculator and auto loan calculator to see if refinancing your loans is right for you. (Financial Calculators)

If you are still paying a high-interest rate on your credit card balances, consider taking out a Personal Loan at our Best in Market Rates to pay off the balances. Then, instead of making multiple payments every month, you would be making only one, at a lower interest rate.

4) Focus on Savings

When all these small changes have been put into place to reduce your expenses, try to put as much money as possible into a savings account each month. That way, if you have an unexpected expense, like a car repair or medical bill, you can dip into your emergency fund without having to charge it to a credit card.

Talk to us about our savings accounts, money markets, and IRA options and we’ll help you choose the best one for you. We’ll never charge you a monthly service fee or early withdrawal fee, and your funds will be federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA.

Not a saver by nature? Our KISS Money Market makes it easy by rounding up the change from each purchase and depositing the difference right into your savings account, so you never even have to think about it!

5) Take Advantage of Free Financial Wellness Coaching

Whether you are looking to consolidate debt, refinance a loan, or open a savings or other account, having a one-on-one conversation with one of our Infinity Member Specialists is a great place to start. We provide free financial wellness coaching and are always here to listen. It’s reason #Infinity to love your credit union!

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