How to Protect Your Spending Power From Inflation
BY HAL M. BUNDICK, CFP ®
Inflation — the rise in consumer prices — is a slow erosion of your money over time. Before 2021, the United States hadn't seen annual core inflation much above 3% for the better part of 25 years, says Michael Ashton, managing principal of Enduring Investments, a consulting and investing firm in Morristown, New Jersey. So the 7.5% spike seen over the past year in the costs of fuel, used vehicles, groceries and just about everything else is the kind of sudden and systemic rise that can give a jolt to most peoples’ everyday spending. Ashton also says that the COVID-19 pandemic stimulus checks and tax relief, combined with the reopening of the economy, fed consumer demand but didn't replace product inventories. The result: shortages that lead to higher prices. "Having supply chain difficulties is part of what inflation looks like," Ashton says. With inflation chipping away at your spending power, how can you protect yourself? EXAMINE YOUR SPENDING • T rim discretionary spending, voluntary spending in categories like entertainment or travel, by just 5%. This is one of those incremental changes that isn't that difficult to do and goes directly to your personal bottom line. • Don't delay a major purchase; prices will likely rise. • S hop strategically. Buy more generic brand products and prescriptions. Save on necessary expenses by using coupons and store loyalty programs. Use membership cards (like Walmart+ and others) to pay 5 cents less per gallon for gasoline.
Powered by FlippingBook