We thank our sponsor for making this content possible; it is not written by the editorial staff nor does it necessarily reflect its views.
Inflation rates are growing more and more, leaving you wondering what on Earth you can even afford anymore. But the truth is, you still have to eat, fill your car with gas, and whatever else. So instead of cutting back, swapping out some of your go-to purchases can ease inflationary pressure big time. We've identified a handful of areas you can cut costs to give your bank account a much-needed sigh of relief.
Sourcing online brands for home goods and furniture
With rising materials costs inflating home goods prices by as much as 11%, you may want to consider online furniture brands over traditional brick-and-mortar stores, especially if you're moving soon or needing an upgrade. Merchants such as GhostBed operate with a direct-to-consumer model that helps shoppers avoid markups, so you can enjoy the same quality without paying a premium. On sale for $1,199.99 and recommended by Consumer Reports, a GhostBed mattress is incredibly accommodating, capable of fitting in a box spring foundation, slatted frame, or adjustable frame.
You can also chase similar savings by purchasing other home goods online. These items have faced price hikes akin to furniture, but you can still find affordable alternatives when you shop online. So if you recently treated yourself to a GhostBed, you can extend your savings by considering discounted bedsheets. A set of bamboo bed sheets by Bed Bath Fashions, for example, would only run you $32.86 while offering hypoallergenic properties.
Finding cheaper dining and food prep alternatives
Over the past year, food prices have gone up at a rate of 5.3%, thanks to inflation, which makes eating at home a welcome alternative. But before you go all-in on a remodeled kitchen to save on take-out, you ought to know that home appliances such as refrigerators and ovens are much more expensive due to their materials costs.
Downsizing to an affordable alternative like this $99.99 GoWISE Air Fryer could help you prep the restaurant-quality meals you're used to affordably. They might even be healthier for you in the long run.
Buying groceries and sundries in bulk
We all have our favorite grocery store, but with items' prices shooting way up — like beef costing up to 24% more than last year — opting for some discounted groceries is way more appealing. Not to mention, we can't just stop buying household items like toiletries, cleaning supplies, motor oil, etc., when it comes time to reduce our budgets.
Buying items you were going to purchase anyway in bulk from warehouse membership clubs could net you some savings in the long run. Sam's Club is one example, and it even offers additional benefits like discounted movie tickets and vacation packages. After all, just because you're cutting costs doesn't mean you have to cut fun, too. At just $19.99 for your first year, you might even get your money's worth in your first trip alone.
Taking advantage of pricing errors for travel
Speaking of travel, while planning your summer vacation, you may have noticed hotel rates are a little higher than usual. Inflation has caused these bookings to rise by as much as 26%. Airfare is seeing a price hike too, one of the reasons is rising fuel costs.
This year's much-needed getaway could seem more expensive than ever before, but luckily, airlines and hotels are prone to pricing mistakes that could save you money if you're vigilant. Dollar Flight Club, for instance, can alert you whenever an airline lists plane tickets at a low price, whether through a legitimate discount or by mistake the airline has to honor. A lifetime DFC subscription costs $49, but it might save you hundreds come vacation time.
Harnessing the power of the Sun
Unless you live under a rock, you've felt the effects of rising gas prices, with rates soaring as high as 51% higher over the last year. And while that's not entirely in our control, we can cut back on electricity and energy in other ways, like supplying our homes with solar power.
Replacing your home's entire electrical layout with roof-mounted solar panels might not be cost-effective as of now, but smaller-scale solar panels such as models from EcoFlow could provide flexibility when charging smaller devices such as your phone or offset the costs of larger appliances such as electric stoves. An EcoFlow panel would set you back $289.99, but your wallet might thank you for the long-term energy savings.
Shopping refurbished when purchasing electronics
The mere idea of dropping at least $1,000 or more on a new laptop sounds painful. Still, you might need a quick replacement if your current workhorse dies on you. Or perhaps one of your kids will attend a college next fall and needs a solid portable laptop.
Opting for a used laptop may save you hundreds of dollars, especially if you shop with a certified refurbisher. These renewed devices could work just as new with only minor exterior blemishes, one example being this "B" grade MacBook Air that only costs $476
Seek alternative methods of education
Continued education has long been a path towards higher income, but college tuition has risen in price exponentially since our parents and grandparents donned their cap and gown, and that doesn't even take into account recent inflation. However, many entrepreneurs will proclaim that postgraduate or even undergraduate degrees aren't the only avenues towards financial success, whereas a sharp mind that seeks learning opportunities is.
Online course providers are more accessible than ever, and you can learn skills that might normally require an expensive four-year program for a fraction of the price. For example, Alun Hill's 2022 MBA for Entrepreneurs Startup Bundle contains content that may help you launch a business from the ground up, and it'll only set you back $39.99.
Prices subject to change.