If you are feeling burdened by rising costs, you are not alone. The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the annual inflation rate in March was 5%. While that’s down from February, which was 6%, consumers are still feeling the squeeze.
Inflation rates have made it increasingly difficult for many people to maintain a balanced budget and a comfortable standard of living with it being easier than ever to overspend on everyday costs.
Although prices might be high, you can still find ways to save on the things you need. Keep reading to find out the five everyday expenses it’s easy to overspend on and how to save in these areas.
For most Americans, having a car is an absolute necessity when it comes to getting to work, to the grocery store and simply traveling from place to place. Unfortunately, gas is one of the easiest everyday costs to overspend on.
Today, the current average for regular gas is $3.67, according to AAA, and American families are shelling out an impressive $5,000 on average per year on gas. This is a significant jump from the roughly $2,800 they were spending on gas just last year, according to a new study by Yardeni Research.
Ways To Save on Gas
With gas prices incredibly competitive, there are limited ways to save on this expense. That being said, shopping around can help you keep more money in your pocket.
“You can download an app like Waze to get an idea of gas prices in your area, and shop based on which station has the lowest prices day by day,” said Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer.
Additionally, consider carpooling to work with a buddy or setting up a carpool group at your child’s school in order to save on gas. If public transportation is an option for you, you might be able to save a considerable amount of money by opting to leave your car at home and take the bus, train or trolley from place to place.
With today’s bleak economy, your daily coffee might be the one thing bringing you comfort. While I’m not saying to give up your favorite coffee shop, rising coffee prices are likely leading to your coffee spending growing larger than ever.
In fact, if you’re not tracking your spending, you might be surprised by how much you are spending on your favorite drinks. According to Zippia, the average American spends $1,097 on coffee per year. Breaking it down by month, that’s a shocking $91.42 consumers are spending on their caffeinated beverages monthly.
How To Save on Coffee
While coffee prices may have increased over the past few years, there are a few practical ways you can save money on your daily cup of joe without going broke. Check out these ideas.
- Invest in a quality coffee maker
- Purchase a milk frother
- Switch to a cheaper alternative to coffee — such as a caffeinated tea
- Make your own creamer
- Use a reusable cup if your coffee shop offers a discount
- Add your own coffee flavorings instead of paying extra for syrups
- Refrigerate leftover coffee
It’s easy to get in the habit of eating out daily or a few times a week, and while the convenience of having a delicious meal cooked for you is undeniably attractive, this is an expensive trap to fall into.
This costly habit is taking a significant portion of many Americans’ income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends about $3,000 on eating out annually; or $250 per month.
Ways To Save on Eating Out
If too much takeout is holding you back from your financial goals, there are a few savvy tips you can take advantage of in order to enjoy the convenience and quality time that comes along with eating out without feeling the budgetary strain quite as heavily. Here are seven tips to consider.
- Bring coupons
- Buy discounted restaurant gift cards online for eating out
- Take advantage of restaurants with free kids’ meals when eating out with your children
- Make a meal of appetizers and sides
- Eat out during happy hour to save on drinks and appetizers
- Opt for water instead of fancy beverages
- Share an entree with someone
While how much you spend on groceries likely varies by where you live and what types of foods you’re buying, inflation has significantly impacted all shoppers’ grocery budgets. The average American spends $5,259 on groceries per year, or $438 a month on groceries, according to the latest available data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Regardless of where you’re shopping, there are a few simple ways you can save money on your next trip to the grocery store in order to offset the rising costs of groceries.
How To Save on Grocery Costs
Be sure to follow these money-saving tips to save on grocery costs.
- Don’t be afraid to serve simple meals or have breakfast for dinner
- Raid your pantry to see what you can throw together with what you already have
- Avoid shopping on the weekends
- Meal prep freezer meals
- Stick to your grocery list
- Shop in season
- Bring your own bag
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry
- Try out meatless meals a few nights a week
- Buy generic brands
While little things like washing your clothes on cold and turning off the lights when you leave the room may seem insignificant, rising energy prices mean that making these small changes will likely make a significant impact on your finances.
According to Forbes, across the U.S., Americans spend a monthly average of $429.33 per month on utilities or $5,151.96 per year. While your utility costs vary by your location, house size and climate; the costs of energy, water, internet and natural gas are quite significant.
Ways To Save on Energy Costs
Higher utility rates mean less money in your pocket and a tighter monthly budget. Consider taking advantage of these tips to cut back on usage in order to decrease your utility bill. Here are some ideas.
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
- Change air filters every three months
- Turn off lights and electronics that are not being used
- Seal air leaks around doors and windows
- Compare energy providers to find the best deal
- Install solar panels
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances
- Only run full loads of dishes and clothes
- Air-dry your laundry whenever you can
More From GOBankingRates