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    You’ve probably heard by now that inflation is up — way up. In fact, it’s actually at its highest point in four decades.

    As a consumer, this means one thing: Higher prices. Prices on groceries and consumer goods are higher. Gas prices are higher. Virtually everything comes with a rising price tag.

    Unless you’re getting a raise sometime soon, these rising prices can really hurt, eating into your budget and making it harder to save, invest, or even just pay your regular bills.

    Fortunately, there are steps you can take to alleviate some of the financial pressure.

    Are you feeling the burn on your wallet as inflation rises? Here are 4 ways to save money right now:

    1. Be smart about groceries.

    It’s likely your bills at the grocery store have increased recently — and probably by quite a bit. It’s frustrating (since we all need groceries to eat), but there are actually a number of ways you can work around these rising prices and cut down on costs.

    Here are just a few:

    • Coupon clip: It’s an oldie but a goodie, as they say. Cutting coupons from newspapers, store flyers and even online can be a great way to reduce costs on individual items or bulk purchases. You can also look to manufacturer websites from valuable coupons as well.
    • Use apps to your advantage: There are a number of mobile apps that can reduce your grocery costs or even reward you with cash back or freebies. Ibotta’s a big one, as are Shopkick and Makeena. You can also look to store-specific apps, like Target’s app, for example. These often offer cash-earning opportunities you can use toward future purchases.
    • Shop around: You don’t have to shop at the same store every week — nor do you have to get all your groceries at a single store. Make it a point to scan flyers for all local stores each week, and pick and choose what you purchase where. Some stores even offer price-matching guarantees.
    • Buy in bulk: Bulk-buying groceries is a great way to pay less per item in the long run. This one’s only good if you have a decent amount of storage space and you have go-to items you know you’ll need in the long haul. Costo and Sam Club are great places to start if bulk-buying is your goal.
    • Go curbside: It’s easy to spend extra money when you’re roaming around the grocery store (especially if you’re hungry). Ordering your groceries online and opting for curbside pick up is a great way to cut down on unnecessary purchases and only buy what you absolutely need for the week. 

    2. Scale back on subscriptions.

    If you’re like me, you probably have dozens of subscriptions to your name — Spotify, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. They’re all only a few dollars a month but added up, they come to a pretty penny on paper.

    Take a few minutes to write down all your subscriptions — including those for different apps and newspapers — and prioritize them from most important to least. Once you’re done, commit to canceling the bottom one or two, at least for a few months. In the meantime, you can look to alternative options (like free radio instead of Sirius or library books instead of Audible, for example). 

    3. Get creative with shopping.

    Need a new bed frame or lamp? Looking for new toys for the kiddos? Skip the store, and try to more creatively source what you need. 

    A few options here include:

    • “Buy nothing” groups: These are groups where neighbors give away free, gently used items to others in the community. I’m in my local one, and I’ve found everything from life jackets and furniture to toys and dishware. Facebook is your best bet for finding one in your area.
    • Thrift stores: You can find all kinds of items at local thrift shops and stores. These include Goodwill, Salvation Army and even stores at local nonprofits and community organizations.
    • Restore: If you need home items, Habitat for Humanity’s Restores are a great option. They have furniture, appliances, home repair items and more. 

    4. Find the fun at home.

    Finally, avoid spending money on outside entertainment and activities, and find ways to enjoy yourself at home instead. You can rent movies instead of going to the theater (these days, many films head to streaming shortly after hitting theaters), or you can live-stream a concert, an option that’s become more common since the pandemic began. Virtual museum tours are another great option — especially if you’re looking for more of a cultural experience.

    Don’t let prices get you down

    It’s easy to feel frustrated by inflation and the rising prices it has spurred, but there are ways to offset it. If you’re a homeowner, you might also think about refinancing your mortgage, which could reduce your monthly payment, help you remove PMI, and save you on long-term interest. Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans office in your area if you’re interested in exploring this option.

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