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It’s confirmed. You aren’t going crazy — inflation is. And if you’re like most of us, your wages aren’t keeping up with this historic inflation we’ve been facing during the pandemic years.
Things will eventually settle down as supply will inevitably close ground on demand, though that’s little comfort if 2022’s wild economy is poised to set you back or knock you off track.
Gloves up! We’ve got five tips to help you absorb some of the impact, roll with the punches and make it through 2022 in good financial shape:
1. Stick to a Budget
If you don’t already have one, a budget might be the single most impactful thing you can do to weather this economy.
Following a budget doesn’t mean you’re bad at managing your money. Budgets help you manage your money more efficiently and spend more money on the things that matter most to you.
Start with a free budgeting app, figure how much money you bring in every month and account for every expense, including the unexpected ones. Try to leave room for savings, entertainment and miscalculations.
Here’s a rundown of eight of our favorite budgeting apps, several of which are completely free.
2. Enhance Your Savings
We hate to do it, but it’s fine if you have to temporarily scale back your savings to fund other areas of your budget. What isn’t fine is the fractional amount of interest you earn in a regular savings account from one of the “big banks.”
By signing up for a debit card called Aspiration, you’ll get up to 83 times the normal national interest rate on your savings balance, plus they give you up to 5% back when you swipe at certain stores.
That’s what Denisa Petricko did. The financial planner had her money saved at a “Big Bank,” but when she looked closer at the breakdown, she wasn’t happy with what she found.
“After looking at the breakdowns of how my money was being handled by a larger bank, I realized that I had large sums just sitting in an account accumulating interest — but not for me,” she said. “It was for the banks themselves.”
That’s when she switched to Aspiration.
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
3. Sell a Vehicle You Don’t Rely On
It’s a terrible time to buy a vehicle. But if you’ve got a decent set of wheels that you don’t need, there’s hardly ever been a better time to sell.
This tip could offer thousands of dollars in financial relief for those who have a second or third car or truck, and those who have access to dependable public transportation.
Just don’t plan on buying a replacement anytime soon. If you do right now, you might be lucky to break even on the two transactions. The same shortages that make it a great time to sell, make it a miserable time to buy a new or used vehicle.
4. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
Would you pay a 16% tax on groceries, on top of state and local taxes? How about 24% for household goods? You probably would look to shop elsewhere if you were taxed that much upfront.
But if you have credit card debt, you could be paying as much as 36% for everyday expenses over time, instead of upfront. And your credit card companies love it — but a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), more of your monthly payments go towards paying down the loans.
You don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all.
It takes less than a minute and just 10 questions to see what loans you qualify for — you don’t even need to enter your Social Security number.
5. Buy or Refinance a Home
Rent just won’t relent, but mortgage interest rates are still hovering just above historic lows.
If you’re poised to buy a home, it might be time to take the plunge. And if you already own your home, refinancing your mortgage could free up some cash in your budget.
Caution: if you live in a hot real estate market, you may come out better continuing to pay rising rents rather than locking in on a home that may lose significant value once supply catches back up with demand.
Curious about refinancing? We’ve got you covered with our top considerations for refinancing a home.
5. Join the Great Resignation
It’s happening for a reason. People are leaving jobs where they’re overworked and underpaid and are setting off for greener pastures. And they’re liking what they’ve found.
We know. No one wants to be told they should quit a job they like. But the best solution to money trouble is simply more money.
Even if you like your job and salary, it doesn’t hurt to see if you could be doing better. It’s a job applicant’s market right now. And with remote work becoming more commonplace, you have a lot more options to move your career forward and increase your income.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.