According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation rose 6.2 percent in October of 2021—the highest since November of 1990. We all understand what this means—more money out of our pocket to cover our everyday needs. This includes going to the grocery store, filling up our automobiles with gas, and paying our utility bills.
Nevertheless, there are ways to combat inflation—and we are going to discuss five effective ways in doing so!
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1. Use the Right Credit Card!
Do you use a credit card for your everyday purchases? If not, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table. A lot of credit card issuers incentivize using their credit cards by offering miles & points—including large welcome bonuses. Learn more about the benefits of using your credit card versus your debit card in the following post: Why You Lose Money When Using a Debit Card. Credit card rewards and large welcome bonuses go a long way in putting money back into your wallet!
Let's use an example that illustrates the benefit of using the right credit card. I recently purchased the Dyson HP01 Pure Hot + Cool 3-in-1 HEPA Air Purifier fan; my wife and I are getting ready for a cold winter! I located a merchant—QVC—that had the Dyson fan in stock for $399.98. And, QVC accepts PayPal as a form of payment!
Why would it be beneficial—in this instance—to pay with your PayPal account? Credit card rewards! The Chase Freedom Flex℠ shines with the credit card rewards it offers. A regular feature of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is the bonus categories for each quarter. Cardmembers earn 5X points on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in activated bonus categories each quarter. For this quarter—October 2021 through December 2021—PayPal is one of the bonus categories.
It is a simple process to link your PayPal account to your Chase Freedom Flex℠—or any credit card. Once the two are linked, your credit card will be processed for PayPal transactions; just make sure you don't have your PayPal account set up to withdrawal from your bank account.
As a result, I earned 2,000 Ultimate Rewards® Points from this purchase. Because I value Ultimate Rewards® at 1.5 cents per point, the 2,000 Ultimate Rewards® Points have a value of ~$30. In other words, the net transaction from using this credit card was ~$30 less than had I used a debit card! Learn more about this card in the following post: Chase Freedom Flex—A Remarkable No Annual Fee Card! There is currently a 20,000 Ultimate Rewards® welcome bonus and it currently offers a 0% APR for an intro period of 15 months! You can apply for this card here!
2. Use Online Shopping Portals & Other Cashback Apps
A second way to combat inflation is to take advantage of shopping portals and other creative ways to stack your rewards. Learn more about these methods in the following post: Double-Dipping—Making Your Miles & Points Go Further! Although you don't always need a credit card when using shopping portals & cashback apps, the two go hand-in-hand.
Let's now look at the benefits of using an online shopping portal such as Rakuten. When I purchased the aforementioned Dyson fan, I used Rakuten as the source of my shopping portal. I have modified my Rakuten account so that I earn American Express Membership Rewards® as opposed to cashback. I value Membership Rewards® at ~1.5 cents per point; as a result, I have more value earning Membership Rewards® than cashback—which is 1 cent per point. I then proceeded to select the merchant—QVC—which had an 8X offer! (8X Membership Rewards® or 8% cashback.)
I ended up earning 3,200 Membership Rewards® from this transaction! I value this at ~$48. By stacking the Ultimate Rewards® and Membership Rewards® earned from this one transaction, I have saved ~$78! Use this link and get $30 for setting up an account!
3. Use Promo Codes and Other Offers
A third way to combat inflation is to use promo codes and other offers. An often overlooked way to save even more money is to take advantage of offers exclusively available to cardmembers. These offers include receiving a statement credit after purchasing with an eligible merchant.
American Express and Chase are well-known for making these types of offers available. However, a cardmember will need to add the offer to their account—simply by selecting the merchant after logging in to their account. What makes this a powerful savings tool is a cardmember can still use a promo code or coupon with the purchase—and still receive the statement credit!
In the aforementioned Dyson fan purchase, I was unable to locate a specific offer from Chase. You can see an example of a Chase offer in the following post: How to Win Points—With Your Spouse and Your Credit Card! However, I did locate a promo code that gave me an additional $15 off my purchase! This brought my total savings to ~$93—when factoring in the Ultimate Rewards® and Membership Rewards® earned!
Promo codes can be easy to find—but may take a little work on your part. Simply creating an online account with the merchant and opting in to receive email and text marketing messages is a tried and tested way to get promo codes sent to you.
Are you trying to avoid "spam" and other unwanted messages? You could create a "spam" email account in your name—and use that email for creating online accounts. It is also a simple process to opt-out of receiving text messages. Just look at the sender's history the next time you receive a text message—usually, the first message they sent to you will have instructions on how to stop receiving messages. (E.g. reply "STOP" or something similar to the sender.)
4. Shop and Compare!
A fourth way to combat inflation is to shop and compare! This can be a crucial element to saving money—especially when it is a higher-priced item.
Interestingly, I saved more money when purchasing the Dyson fan by taking this fourth step than the previous 3 steps! Notice the cost for the same Dyson fan on Best Buy's website:
Best Buy is charging $499.99 for the same Dyson fan as QVC. By ordering the fan through QVC, I saved an additional $100! By factoring in steps 1 through 4, I have saved ~$193 by purchasing the fan at QVC as opposed to Best Buy!
Again, it may take some additional time to shop and compare. But, with practice, and a little patience, it is easy to save hundreds—or even thousands of dollars—every year. This definitely helps mitigate the impact of inflation on our lives.
This may translate into changing our behavior. For example, I love to shop at Amazon. I am a Prime Member; I find good deals and they have a wide selection of items. When our puppy chewed through the power cord that connected to our Dual Temp, Sleep Number wouldn't replace the part—only the unit—which cost ~$750. I was able to locate the part on Amazon for less than $100—it was a perfect fit and I was very happy with the outcome!
Nevertheless, Amazon will not always have the best price. In fact, I have noticed that they will sometimes raise the price for an item you are attempting to re-order. As a result, I will not always use Amazon.
5. Buy In Bulk!
Buying in bulk is a fifth way to combat inflation. When done intelligently, significant savings can result. There is a reason why Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's Wholesale Club are weathering the pandemic very well. Their members understand the value of buying in bulk!
I have a membership at both Costco and Sam's Club. Personally, I prefer Costco.
When buying in bulk, keep the following points in mind:
Be aware of the expiration date. Any savings from buying in bulk could be wiped away if you have to throw something away that has expired.
Do you have room? Yes, buying in bulk takes up space. Oftentimes, even in small spaces, a little organization is all that is needed to store your extra items.
Make sure your purchase is something you plan on using long-term. Throwing an item away because of non-use defeats the purpose of buying in bulk in the first place.
Are you using a credit card? Although this results in earning rewards, make sure you are able to pay your balance off to avoid any accumulation of interest. Buying in bulk does result in a bigger bill.
Let's now look at an example at Costco and see how buying in bulk can be done to save money. My wife loves their Orgain Organic Protein and Superfoods Vanilla Bean protein powder. She has at least one protein shake per day—and has been for over a year now.
Costco periodically has a manufacturer's sale that takes $6 off the regular price. As a result, I wait for the sale—and purchase the limit of 6—in order to save $36. Below is the online version of their sale:
By shopping inside their warehouse, the actual price is $3 cheaper than their online price. This brings the price down to $24.99.
By purchasing 6 at a time at a reduced amount, we are essentially getting one Orgain Organic Protein Powder and Superfoods Vanilla Bean protein powder for free! Because we have done this many times and on additional items, we have saved hundreds of dollars this year.
I also make sure to use the right credit card whenever I shop at Costco. Typically, a 5X quarterly bonus category of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is wholesale clubs. During this quarter, we will use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ when shopping at Costco.
During other months, if we are not working on a sign-up bonus, we will use the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Costco does not code as a grocery store but as a wholesale club. As a result, we get 1.5X on purchases at Costco. But, because I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, my Ultimate Rewards® Points receive a 50% boost; that "transforms" the 1.5X into 2.25X! You can learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® in the following post: Chase Freedom Unlimited—Don't Miss Out on This Card! You can apply for this card here!
The Bottom Line
By taking reasonable and responsible steps, you can combat inflation effectively! Saving money is an art. It may take time, experience, and a helping hand but the results are worth it.
"Inflation can be mitigated with a little research and patience."
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We have many other posts designed to help you save money and provide you with creative ways to make your dollar go further. Check out our blog and select the category that interests you the most.