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Tired of having an ‘inflation hangover?’ Try these five hacks to save money

OpinionTired of having an ‘inflation hangover?’ Try these five hacks to save money

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After four years of skyrocketing inflation, people still can’t believe everyday prices. We gasp at paying $7.99 for a six-pack of Fresca, $8.00 for a box of Cheerios, and $6.00 for a bag of half air and half potato chips. As Dee Snider sang in a famous Twisted Sister song, “we’re not gonna take it anymore” and Americans are searching for ways to avoid inflation landmines. Here are five money tips to help you:

1. Grocery Shopping 

  • For produce shopping, look for the day of the week when you can get a produce discount. Stores such as The Fresh Market have 20% off all produce every Wednesday, so that’s a great day to stock up on your fruits and veggies.
  • For coupons, always look to download the free app from the grocery store where you shop. Typically, they will release new deals mid-week. It’s also where you’ll find all your coupons and be certain to only buy BOGO (buy one, get one free deals) if you need that product.

FIRST-GENERATION IDAHO RANCHERS STRUGGLE TO STAY AFLOAT AS INFLATION DRIVES COSTS UP BY 75%

  • The German discount grocer Aldi now has an aisle of shame and other chain stores offer something similar where you can get amazing deals on items that are non-grocery merchandise ranging from candles to outdoor furniture.
Produce aisle in grocery store

Savvy shoppers are using grocery coupons and know they tend to reset mid-week. That’s just one of the ways to save money. (iStock)

  • Last, make a list. The number one reason we spend too much money at the grocery store is don’t come prepared. Remember, grocery stores are like Las Vegas, they are there to separate you from your wallet.

2. Greeting Cards 

  • They may now call the Dollar Tree store the $7 Dollar Tree store, but there are still some fabulous deals within Dollar Tree. One of the best discount deals is on their Hallmark greeting cards, where you can get two cards for $1. That’s just $0.50 cents a card. These cards will rival what you would pay six to eight times more for at a local drugstore.
  • The other tremendous place to buy greeting cards is at Trader Joe’s. Lots of people like the different eclectic items at this specialty grocer, but there is an array of cards from birthday to thank you cards that you can get for 99 cents a card. It’s another great place to stock up on cards you’ll need for the future.

3. Dining Out 

  • Two apps, one entrée. Since the cost of having a cocktail, appetizers, and dinner for two can easily exceed $100 or more, it’s important to strategize when you go out to dinner. One way to still enjoy the menu and not crush your budget is to order two appetizers to share and then split one entrée. There will be plenty of food and if you can avoid ordering drinks, you still might be able to sneak in dessert and keep it to under $100.
  • BYO or bring your own. Check with the local restaurants in your own area where you can bring your own wine. You’ll want to check to see if they charge a ‘corkage’ fee, but if they don’t you can pick up many great wines for under $20 a bottle and not pay the typical 100% plus markup for wines at a restaurant.
  • Make Monday date night. Restaurants likely have unsold inventory from the weekend, especially appetizers and desserts, so asking about these might score you some discounted grub.

4. Gift Cards 

  • Even though it’s not cash in the bank, gift cards and point programs are forms of cash. This means if you don’t use them, they go backwards in value against inflation every single year.

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A man and woman toast glasses of red wine.

Dinner out might be a luxury for many, but if you do go, you might be able to bring your own wine and save a lot of money. (iStock)

  • The key with these websites to maximize your return is to shop all three sites because, depending on the card and the marketplace, what those websites will pay you for the cards can mean a few dollars difference to more than a $20 difference.

5. Clothes 

  • Figure out how to get FREE clothes. Lots of parents know that their kids grow like weeds and are constantly spending money on their wardrobe. At Target, which has 45 private labels, one line they carry for kids is called Cat & Jack. The best part about the Cat & Jack brand is that they are guaranteed for one year (with a receipt). If your kids tear them up or outgrow them, you can get a brand-new set of clothes with no questions asked.

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For coupons, always look to download the free app from the grocery store where you shop. Typically, they will release new deals mid-week. It’s also where you’ll find all your coupons and be certain to only buy BOGO (buy one, get one free deals) if you need that product. 

  • Consignment selling and shopping is one of the easiest ways to get high quality brands, make money on what you don’t want or need in your closet, and buy good quality clothes at a great price. There are lots of consignment shops around the country, but Goodwill and The Uptown Cheapskate are great places to start.
  • Shop off season. Winter is ending and that means it’s exactly the time to start shopping for winter clothes. Most items will be marked down 20% to 40%, so be certain to check the SALE section of every online website before you start shopping for your favorite items.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY TED JENKIN

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