The inflation rate increased 8.2% in September, making cuts in expenditures more significant than ever. It will have to wait longer for consumers trying to relax from a price explosion. Inflation shots up to 8.2% on a year-to-year basis in September, only slightly down from the previous month, when the inflation rate reached 8.3% and was still close to a 40-year high.
The growth of the main indicator of inflation in the country, the consumer price index (CPI), was caused by an increase in spending on housing, food and medical care.
This 8.2% increase is much higher than the average inflation rate, which was only 1.4% almost 2 years ago. Energy prices have increased 19.8% over the past 12 months, although they fell 2.6% in September. Food prices, meanwhile, increased 11.2% year-on-year basis.
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Consumers have taken a hit the consequences. In July, a national representative Consumer Reports report of over 2,000 American adults found that 97% were concerned about prices’ increase, with nearly:
- 2/3 reporting that they were extremely alarmed;
- respondents (98%) were also alarmed about the continued price increases;
- 97% were concerned about the possibility of an economic downturn in the United States in the next 6 months.
Despite the bad news, there are still ways to reduce the load on your budget. Here’s what to look out for in several key spending categories, along with tips for limiting your spending.
The abrupt rise in crocery rates reflects a surge in prices for all major product categories, with the cost of meat, poultry, fish and eggs up by 9% over the past 12 months, while cereals and cereal food increased by 17.7%.
To keep your food budget under control, it is recommended to use promotions to replenish stocks in the freezer and pantry.
You can also save a lot by visiting discount stores like Costco and Trader Joe’s, as well as private labels.
Another strategy is to buy food at favorate rates in pharmacies and minimarkets. Some outlets are expanding the range of fresh products and may offer lower prices than in other stores.
Consumer gasoline prices did decrease in September by 5.6% in comparison with August. And AAA indicator shows that gas rates have decreased to $3.92 per gallon as of October 10, compared with a high of $5.02 in June 2022.
But gas rates in September were still 18.2% higher than a year ago. Because of the ongoing crisis, the risk of hurricanes and other uncertainties, gas prices are likely to remain fluctuating.
To make the most of our strategies to reduce your costs, save cash on gas station and cheaper fuel in warehouse clubs.
You can also squeeze more volume out of your gas tank by moving uniformly, following speed limits and removing the roof rack, which can produce frontal resistance.
Basic household appliances
Spending on basic household appliances as a whole reduced 0.3% in August after a 1.5% decline in the previous month.
The primary cause: some big retailers misjudged consumer demand for expensive goods, as a result of which they suddenly had an excess of goods.
Recent advertisements from a number of major retailers show big discounts on basic household appliances, including refrigerators, and other household appliences.
Particularly, retailers are promoting savings offers for people that unite a number of products for purchase. This implies that those who make up your mind to upgrade their kitchens, for example, with a new refrigerator, dishwasher and stove, can get even bigger discounts.
But discounts will not be accessible to all brands and not in all retail stores, and consumers will have to carefully compare prices, as well as check prices at independent retail stores. They can offer comparable prices and better service.
As for extra savings, before any purchase, make sure that you know which functions of the device you need and which are not. And finally, consider replacing if your first choice model is not available.
Prices for new cars and trucks level up by 9.4% over the past year, caused by a shortage of pandemic-related repair parts and even factory closures, as well as a shortage of computer chips. Used car prices rose 7.2%.
There are some indicators that inflation in the second-hand auto market is down: prices fell 0.1% in August. But, given the shortage of favorable rate cars, people must meet their expectations, although ordinary incentives are still available for some models.
Since there are so few cars on dealer sites, the supply and demand balance leans toward the seller.
New car buyers observe one positive thing: if you have a car to trade in, the increase in the value of second-hand vehicles has made it more worthy than you might realize.
But buyers should be aware that while they may receive a higher-than-expected cost of a car to exchange, these benefits may be negated by a higher replacement price.
If you need cash injections, the best thing is to sell a car that does not need to be replaced.
If you possess an extra auto that you may not need daily, there has never been a better time and situation to sell it. A second-hand car of the latest model in good state can cost about the same as its cost when it was new.
For useful information about the cost of cars, check out CR’s Build & Buy car purchase service, a research tool that allows buyers to check and compare current transaction prices for different models. You may find that the best way to get the car you want is to order it or buy it in another state.
Telecommunications and Internet expenditures
During the pandemic, people had a short break, as the prices of telephone and wireless services were up slightly.
But prices have changed recently: over the past 12 months, the cost of Internet services has decreased by 0.1%, and residential telephone services have increased by 3.6%.
To reduce these costs, consider switching to a cheaper cellular data plan, possibly from your Internet provider. Low-income families can qualify for a federal program that helps pay Internet bills, known as the Affordable Connectivity Program.
And even though the prices of streaming services are increasing, you can still cut down on cable TV costs by choosing cheaper data plans or free services.
You can also try to haggle for a while with your provider. As a recent survey of our users showed, many were able to reduce their bills by agreeing with their cable or Internet company.
Over the past 12 months, consumers have found lower TV rates, with spending down 17.9%. And the latest data shows that rates have fallen 0.7% since August.
The best time to buy TV sets, as a rule, falls on the period from autumn to early winter, when holiday sales begin and new models are released in January.
Right now, you can find inexpensive TVs like these inexpensive 70-inch screens or these 65-inch TVs for less than $1,000.
Smart shopping ideas
There are many other ways to save money. For example, we found that some laundry products — washing machines, dryers, and detergents — are wasting your cash. So, here are some tips on how to get rid of them.