I’m about to be real candid and honest in this post. I know not everyone likes it when I’m super honest and vulnerable, but I think it’s important that we start getting real real on the topic of how much of an impact inflation is having on us. This past summer, I came to my husband and asked him if he believed he could give himself a cost-of-living wage. If you’re a new follower, my husband is self-employed and owns a home remodeling/home-building company with a business partner. That means whatever raise my husband gave himself his business partner also had to get the same raise. This is how a 50/50 partnership works in business.
The reason I asked for the raise was that the cost of groceries, along with rising costs in our power bill (even though me and the kids sweated our tails off this summer by having the thermostat set at 80 during the day) and all the other rising costs that have happened – his paycheck wasn’t cutting it. We were starting to get stretched thin. Thankfully, my husband and his business partner agreed to the cost-of-living raise, and things improved for a while.
When more money isn’t enough
But here we are again – facing the cold hard truth that my husband’s already small paycheck that was made just a little bit bigger is still not going far enough. You can read this blog post here that shares how much my husband makes and how we’ve made it work all these years. And I’ll be honest – I’m a little tired of trying to figure out how to stretch meals and live super frugally once again. I feel like I’m constantly worried about money even though I have more money than I’ve ever had! But that’s the reality of dealing with inflation – it’s eating our incomes up faster than we can out-earn the rise in the cost of living.
The Struggle is Real…
My family may be 100% debt-free, but that doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes still struggle with money challenges. We do. And this one is proving to be one of the more difficult we’ve faced. Yes, I’m incredibly grateful that we are 100% debt-free because we would be in a horrible spot if we weren’t right now. But being debt-free doesn’t save you from the impact of inflation – that’s just a reality that I have to accept.
Even though back, when we were broke and struggling to pay off debt, at least the burden, and the problem, was one we created. We controlled it. The struggle today is that we don’t control the rise in our cost of living. We’ve done a lot to try to keep our cost of living as low as possible, but it doesn’t feel like it’s enough right now.
Here’s what we’re trying to do about it…
So, in an effort to offset the impact of inflation on our family’s finances, we are trying a few things to try and lower our cost of living even more so my husband’s paychecks can go further. I’m sharing these to hopefully help you get some ideas for your own family. I know not everything I share will apply to everyone, and you may not agree or like everything we’re doing – that’s okay. We’re different families managing money differently; there’s nothing wrong with that.
Skipping the grocery store.
I’m skipping the grocery store every other week. Or rather, I’m skipping the big trip every week. Instead, I’m going every other week. I’m using up the things that we have in our freezer and pantry before going out and buying more. This isn’t always easy. Especially for me as I have a weird food insecurity, and it makes me feel better when there’s plenty of food in the house. But I also know that we do have food at home, even if it isn’t always what we want to eat right then and there – it’s food.
Another thing we’re doing is taking an actual inventory before we go and grocery shop on the weeks when we’re shopping for groceries. This way, I don’t keep buying stuff we already have – I’m only buying what we need. Oh, and of course, I’m scanning in all of my receipts in Fetch so I can earn points towards gift cards to stretch our budget even further (I’ve already cashed out for an Amazon Gift Card and bought some Christmas presents with it!).
Avoiding travel as much as possible.
My husband’s diesel for his truck is thankfully paid for by his business, but we pay for the fuel in my car. So I’m avoiding any unnecessary travel to reduce my need to fill up often. Since gas prices are going back up, this is stretching our money even further. Another thing I do is use the Upside app and Gas Buddy app to help me get cashback on fuel and find the cheapest gas stations near me.
Keeping the Christmas budget low.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know we use a Christmas sinking fund to pay for Christmas every year. Since inflation has been impacting our family’s household budget so much this year, we haven’t been able to put as much away this year for Christmas. That means we’re working with a smaller Christmas budget than usual this year. Yes, it’s hard admitting that, but Christmas is not worth going into debt for. My kids don’t need more stuff, and chances are your kids don’t need more stuff, either. Instead, let’s focus on the true meaning of Christmas and let go of the idea of presents piled around the tree and focus instead on the Savior.
Speaking of Christmas. Whenever I buy something online for Christmas, I check if Rakuten has any cashback offerings. I also do this with Swagbucks as well to see which site offers the best cashback for my purchases. Then of course, after I’ve shopped, I upload the e-receipts to Fetch to earn even more! This helps us offset the impact inflation is having on our money by allowing me to get gift cards through Swagbucks or Fetch and get cold-hard cashback from Rakuten. Best part? We don’t have to go into debt to earn the cashback!
I’ve been a fan of shopping secondhand for years. My daughter’s Christmas dress is secondhand from Thredup! And since I had a $10 credit with them, all I had to pay for the dress was shipping! I’ve bought a lot of my kids’ Christmas presents secondhand through the years at yardsales and on Facebook Marketplace. There’s nothing wrong with buying something used and taking a little elbow grease to it to make it look like new. Your kids won’t know the difference, but your budget will be happy!
Okay, so these are just some of the things that we’re doing to try to keep our budget stable as inflation keeps soaring. I know that not all of these things will work for everyone but I would love it if you shared anything that you’re doing right now to help offset inflation despite rising costs in the comments below.
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