$5 a gallon gas, unaffordable rent, and 40-year record-high inflation suggest that if we’re not currently in a recession—it’s only a matter of time. Many people are feeling the pinch while already tight monthly budgets are getting stretched even tighter.
Now is the time to hunker down and create a game plan for how to survive a recession. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to eat .99-cent store ramen and refried beans every night.
There are a few savvy ways that you can trim your budget without cutting too far deep into your current lifestyle. Read on to discover a few tips on surviving a recession—and perhaps even thrive — during what might be a challenging time ahead.
CUT YOUR GROCERY BILL
For many people, grocery bills are the 2nd biggest monthly expense, right after rent or a mortgage payment. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to significantly reduce the cost of each grocery store trip, such as:
- Beef/fish/poultry—Consider purchasing protein near the expiration date. Store managers will often mark down the meat that’s about to expire.
- Buy protein in bulk—Some stores and big box warehouses sell chicken and beef in huge quantities. Buy it, portion it out in zip lock baggies, and then freeze it for later use. You’ll save a ton of money by doing so.
- Curtail impulse buys—A bag of chips here, a box of cookies there—buying stuff that you don’t need can add up very quickly.
- Use coupons—Most grocery stores nowadays have loyalty programs and weekly coupons that can add up to significant savings. For example, some grocers will run deep discount promotions on products such as beef and chicken. Stock up while you can.
LOWER YOUR GAS BILL
Stop-and-go city driving sucks down gas like nothing else. Consider using a traffic app like Google Maps or Waze, to show you the most efficient route to your destination. Not only will you save on gas, but you’ll also get to your destination much quicker.
Utilizing public transit can also help cut the costs and stress of everyday driving. Some employers even offer a monthly stipend or reimbursement to employees who use public transit options such as rideshare, metro, or taking the bus.
Switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle is an alternative to gas or diesel vehicles, and financing an EV has its perks. Foothill offers a 0.25% rate discount when members fund an EV loan through the credit union.
PAY OFF CREDIT CARD DEBT
The Fed has raised interest rates, meaning you’ll be paying more interest on your credit card debt. While making a higher than average monthly credit card payment may be easier said than done for many people—paying it off sooner than later will help you save more money in the long run.
SLASH (SOME) ENTERTAINMENT COSTS
While you may be tempted to completely eliminate all entertainment expenses, keep in mind that sitting home alone month after month can have potential adverse mental health effects. If it’s within budget, consider the following tips to slash your entertainment budget:
- Gift cards—You can often find entertainment gift cards that go on sale for 5% to 15% off.
- Event websites—There are many websites out there that provide information on free or severely discounted events.
- Reduce subscriptions—Take inventory of how many online subscriptions you have and consider reducing them to one or two.
- Community events—You might be surprised at how many local events occur in your community. Many are free and offer a great way to get out of the house and enjoy your Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Taking on a part-time or 2nd job—or perhaps joining the gig economy can help provide extra monthly income. You can also consider selling things you don’t need on eBay, Offer Up, or other local marketplaces.
There are also various online “deal forums” out there with thousands of active members who let the community know about the latest and greatest coupons and deals that can help you spend wisely.
SAVE MONEY WITH FOOTHILL CREDIT UNION
It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen over the next few months or even years—this is why tightening your financial belt and having a long-term game plan will allow you to make it through these trying times.
Click below to discover more money-saving tips for living in super expensive L.A.
How to Save Money Living in LA (Without Being Totally Bored)