Inflation rates have many people struggling to figure out how they are going to pay for basic needs in their lives. Gas prices are sky-high and the housing market is more expensive than it has been in years. People are trying to decide what they need to cut out of their budget, and what is too important to eliminate.
It’s vital that everyone make calculated choices when cutting corners on some items. Certain purchases are very necessary to daily life no matter how much they cost. We’ll cover many of the most important things we need to support ourselves and our families and how you can potentially get discounts on them in these difficult times.
#1 – Car Insurance
Car insurance is the type of bill that many people might wonder whether they can skimp on. People might ponder many questions along the lines of “Is it possible to insure my car for a month?” to “Do I need insurance if I am renting a car instead of buying one?”
You always need car insurance in case you get into an accident. Most states legally require at least liability coverage, but you should look into getting more coverage if you drive a lot. If you are struggling to come up with the money for your car insurance payments, don’t give up your policy.
The financial strain of crashing without insurance could leave you even more devastated. It’s important to find creative ways to save money on your car insurance. If you only drive for pleasure rather than for a job, you can get discounts from your insurance company. Make sure you tell them your driving habits before buying a policy.
Another great decision if you don’t drive often is to rent a car instead of buying one. This will allow you to only pay for the car for the months you need it, and you can get car insurance monthly.
You may be able to use the rental company’s insurance, but sometimes their policies don’t satisfy the driver’s wants or needs. Ask about what type of coverage the rental car has and decide whether you want to use your own for more protection.
#2 – Food
Food is one of the most important purchasing decisions we make, both for our bodies and our wallets. The healthiest items from stores and restaurants are often the most expensive, and junk food is the cheapest. That’s why poor people often eat from one-dollar menus from fast food restaurants on a regular basis.
This is very difficult on your body, and it could lead to consequences for your health and cost you more money in the future. If you have high cholesterol from a fatty diet, or you develop diabetes due to eating too many carbohydrates, you’ll need to see the doctor.
During these turbulent times in which many people have lost their jobs and their health insurance, this could lead to tons of out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, many lower-class people will just ignore these health issues due to not having enough money, and their likelihood of reaching older age goes down.
You should find creative ways to balance your diet and eat healthy foods without spending too much. Eating out is always more expensive. If you meal plan and make your own food, you can cut out sugars, fats, and carbs that aren’t as good for you.
Shop for fruits and vegetables at the grocery store that are in season. Fresh crops and first-of-the-season produce are almost always on sale at the market. Educate yourself on when specific healthy items are most often available and you won’t have to compromise on health, taste, or money.
#3 – Entertainment
Some people think they should cut out all forms of entertainment if they are low on money. This is not healthy for your well-being. Everyone needs an outlet for their stress, and choosing a few affordable fun items for you and your family is just as much of a necessity as anything else on this list.
You may not be able to afford a trip to Disneyland or a vacation to the Bahamas, but there’s still fun to be had at home. Subscribe to your favorite streaming television service. Buy a new video game everyone once in a while the whole family can enjoy. Purchase some bicycles or even comfortable walking shoes so you can go on the occasional hike.
Try to buy things that provide entertainment many times rather than a one-off experience. This saves you money and also gives you the satisfaction of some free time away from the stresses of your everyday life.
#4 – Utility Bills
Skipping out on paying your bills is not an answer to saving money on budget items. You need water, electricity, and heat in your home. You must find ways to make these bills cheaper than they typically are.
For your water bill, consider cutting down on the amount of time you spend in the shower. For electricity, you could do small things like turning all the lights off in the rooms you don’t spend any time in.
You could take it a step further and install solar panels so you save even more money on your electricity bills. This option is only for people who have enough money in their savings account to do this type of major purpose. For those struggling on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis, stick to the lifestyle changes above.
#5 – Clothing
Clothes are one of the easiest budget items to save money on. Shop for clothing during holiday seasons like Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. There are usually a lot of department stores that will offer big savings during these times of the year.
You want to dress professionally if you have a job that requires you to come into the office. Don’t cut corners on clothes you wear at work otherwise, you may soil your reputation. This could be much more devastating than having to spend a little bit of money on a nice shirt or pair of pants.
You can see that with a little bit of research and out-of-the-box thinking, there are plenty of ways to save money on budget items without cutting corners.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. He wants to help people budget and plan for their futures without compromising their well-being.