6 Ways Families Can Survive the Cost of Inflation
- Michelle S. Lazurek Author
- Updated Oct 20, 2022
In this society, we have just lived through a global pandemic. These have been unprecedented times in which we have lived. Unfortunately, the worst of the pandemic may be over, but our economic crisis may just be beginning. With the onset of Covid shutting down businesses for many months, companies must recoup their costs. This means they are having to raise their prices to keep up with their expenses, causing many families to spend double (and in some cases triple) what they're used to spending. However, if incomes stay the same, this can be difficult on families' budgets. Increasing costs and lowered incomes can spell big trouble for families.
Although inflation can cause many people anxiety as they worry about how to pay the bills, we can take solace in knowing that God knew that costs would rise due to COVID. Luke 12:24-25 says, "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?"
God knows what we need, and he promises to provide for us. But this doesn't mean we can keep spending the way we were in years past. Although adjusting budgets may be difficult, the simple tips listed below could add up to significant savings in the long run. Here are six ways families can combat inflation:
1. Eat In
Because of inflation, many families must work extra hours to make ends meet. But after a long day, the last thing families want to do is cook a meal. It is easier to have a pizza delivered or tip the DoorDash delivery man than to make a meal from scratch. Some families' biggest budget line item is food. Not only are they buying food for the home, but they are also eating out, putting them over budget for the month and spending extra dollars they do not have. However, with little planning, families can combat the high food bills.
Make a meal plan by rotating your favorite meals along with one or two new ones to try. Make a grocery list based only on the ingredients needed in those recipes. Take a few hours on the weekend and cook the meals ahead of time. Go to the local library, take out some cookbooks, or go to your local thrift store or goodwill. Cookbooks range in topics from low-budget eating to eating a healthier diet. Use freezer containers and store the food in the freezer. This way, after a long hard day, all families must do to eat is warm up the food for a few minutes. Because of overpacked schedules, families don't always eat together as they once did. By setting a time when family members can sit down and eat dinner and talk about their days, they strengthen their family bond while saving extra dollars on their food budgets.
2. Eat Out
While some families may need to eat in, it may be advantageous to eat out. If you don't have many in your household and if you have a favorite diner or restaurant, you know portions can be equivalent to two or three meals. This can save families from having to cook a meal each evening. Simply divide the meal into two or three portions and store the rest for the week. Some restaurants also offer great deals on breakfast or dinner on certain days of the week or days when business is slowest. This can add up to big savings if you can figure out the best deals and take advantage of them. Sometimes, a dinner that you can cut into three meals may cost you less than if you made the meal at home from scratch. This can cut down on your grocery bill and the amount of energy needed to cook each evening.
Although sharing a car with someone can be difficult, carpooling to your favorite places like church or work can add extra pennies to your piggy bank. If a co-worker lives near you, ask them to bring you to work. Reciprocate by driving them to work. Sharing the driving will cut down on your gas prices. In the same way, ask a fellow parishioner to drive you to church. You could also do this for places like the grocery store and other places you visit often. It may not seem like much, but every extra trip counts when it comes to keeping the needle on "F" in your fuel tank.
4. Use Delivery Apps
Although delivery apps have extra fees added, they can save precious time and resources when used strategically. For example, if you choose to have your groceries delivered rather than going to the store, you may have to pay an extra fee to have them delivered; simply adjust the number of groceries you're buying to accommodate the fee. In the long run, you'll add more time to spend on doing things you want to do rather than on the things you need to do. This will also add some much-needed emotional sanity to your mental health.
5. Heat One Room Only
In the winter, we can easily get into the habit of leaving the heat on all day. This spares us from having to layer clothes or being cold as we go throughout the house. But leaving the heat on all day can skyrocket our energy costs. If applicable, leave the heat on just the downstairs part of your home or in the living room or other area where most of your family members visit most often. Pledge together to turn off the heat during the day and only on at night when we're sleeping. Turn off the heat in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and other areas that people do not frequent throughout the day. Although it may be uncomfortable initially, the savings you receive from being intentional about heating one area might add to the extra money used for luxuries or that dream vacation.
6. Cut Unnecessary Streaming Services
A way families used to save money is by cutting their cable bill. They simply used an antenna to grab whatever local stations they could and skimped on the rest. However, now many streaming services are available on our televisions where we can get quality content for low prices. However, every network has an app to stream original and existing content. This can add up to exorbitant fees without realizing it. Families often turn to television as a cheap form of entertainment when they can't do fun things or go on a vacation. Conduct an inventory of the apps you use versus what your monthly bill may be eating away as extra cash. Limit yourself to three or four apps at most and scratch the rest.
You can even get more creative and implement a TV fast from now until the holidays end. See what a few extra hours can do for your productivity and creativity. Use that extra time to play a board game or do some other form of cheap entertainment as a family. You may find you gain treasured memories with the loss of that network.
Rising economic prices are always a challenge for any family. But by cutting unnecessary spending and using your organizational skills, you may gain precious time, a little extra spending cash, and some treasured memories with those you love.
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.
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