Originally posted on Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/saving-money/how-to-save-money-now-a2819744890/
With inflation rising faster than it has in 40 years, you likely feel the financial sting at every turn.
You experience it as the grocery store cashier totals what you’ve put in your shopping cart, when you pump gas for your commute, each time you open your utility bills, and when you set out to book a vacation to try and get away from it all.
In June, the Department of Labor reported that the consumer price index—the measure of overall change in the cost of a set of specific goods and services—was up 9.1 percent over a year earlier, representing the largest 12-month increase since November 1981. And the costs of some goods have spiked more dramatically than others. Fuel oil prices are up 98.5 percent, gas has risen 59.9 percent, and groceries are up 12.2 percent. Household debt, such as mortgages and car loans, has also increased. It’s little wonder that in a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 2,076 U.S. adults conducted in May, 64 percent of people said they were very or extremely concerned about inflation-related cost increases.
Now, you may see and hear plenty of advice about how to cut debt and rein in your burgeoning bills. But this often feels complicated, even overwhelming. Where do you start? Can you really reduce spending on life’s necessities? And if it’s possible, won’t figuring out how to do it take endless hours?
Consumer Reports experts and outside financial pros have contributed to this step-by-step guide to help you pare your regular costs by hundreds of dollars. “At a time when we’re all feeling the pain of inflation, it’s both important and easy to get better deals on many of your monthly bills,” says Ben Kurland, co-founder of BillFixers, a service that negotiates lower bills for consumers. All it takes is a little advance reconnaissance, a few phone calls, and some willingness to negotiate.