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Inflation is Here. Let’s Look at Few Ways to Cut Costs.

Inflation is here, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere for a while. From gas to groceries, we’re paying more for everything.

I was in the grocery store last week looking at some sliced salami. It cost $1.98 a year ago. Last weekend, it was marked $6.24. That’s an increase of $4.26 or 215%. Perhaps the salami is more special than it was last year. Maybe it’s made from higher quality animals now. I don’t know. I decided I didn’t want any after all.

Jim’s favorite bread has gone from $2.48 a loaf to $3.12 a loaf. That’s a jump of 64 cents or 25.8% in a year. Everything in the store has increased in price. The same shopping bag of food I could get for $30.00 last year, now costs me close to $50.00, which is why I’ve become even more conservative in the way I shop.

I have a few money saving hacks I use to keep as much of my hard earned cash as possible. I do a little homework before shopping. I check available digital coupons, look through my paper and printable coupons, and check the flyers of my local stores online before I leave the house. I weigh those against online retailers such as Amazon before I decide where I’m shopping.

I’m not afraid to buy store brands if they’re a better deal. I’m currently using the Great Value version of Gain dryer sheets for Jim’s uniforms. I saved $2.67 on a box of 250 sheets by purchasing the store brand in this case. I can’t tell a bit of difference between the 50 cents store brand green beans and the ones for $1.18 a can. Seriously, a green bean plant is a green bean plant regardless of the can its packaged in.

I use aps on my phone to get money back on purchases in the form of gift cards, too. I use Fetch Rewards, Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Receipt Hog. They are simple to use. Most of them only involve scanning or photographing the receipt, but Checkout 51 makes me scan my product, as well. If the purchase wasn’t made at Walmart, I also have to scan the items for Ibotta. If I’m shopping online, I go through the Rakuten sight to receive a percentage back on qualifying purchases.

Besides careful shopping, I am frugal with the supplies I purchase. My husband asked me to make tacos for dinner a couple weeks ago. I already had taco seasoning and flour tortillas, so we were halfway there. He volunteered to go to the store to buy cheese and ground beef. To my surprise, Jim bought a two-pound package of ground beef. He is a person who usually only buys the exact amount of an ingredient we need for a certain dish. I’m usually the one who stocks up on things.

He proudly presented me with the two-pound package of ground beef. He advised me that we could use half now and save half for later. He’s so funny sometimes. Of course I planned to preserve half of the meat for later use. I’ve been separating large packages of meat into one-pound packages and freezing them since long before I got married and became responsible for feeding a family.

It’s a simple process. I buy a large package of meat, gather my supplies, and wash my hands. I use plastic wrap and freezer bags. Sometimes I write the date on the freezer bag with a Sharpie, but I usually don’t bother with ground beef because we use it so quickly.

I separate the meat into one-pound sections. I wash my hands. Then I wrap each section in plastic wrap. I have developed a technique where I use the plastic wrap to grab the meat during the wrapping, so I’m not actually touching it again. After that, I put all of the wrapped sections into a gallon size freezer bag, making sure to completely seal it. I then place it in my freezer for future use.

Ground beef isn’t the only thing I store in such a matter. The same process can be used for chicken, turkey, and meals I’ve already prepared. I freeze hot dogs and sausage links, too. With hot dogs, I buy them on sale and put the whole package, still sealed, in a quart size freezer bag to freeze it.

I love chili. When I make it, I cook a large pot of the hearty main course. Depending on how Jim is feeling, we may or may not eat the entire batch. If we haven’t eaten it all within a couple of days, I freeze what’s left in single servings. I scoop the chili into sandwich bags and then put the smaller bags into a gallon size freezer bag. I do write the date on the freezer bags so I’m sure to use the older batches first. In fact, I ate chili I made several months ago just last week. It was as good as the day I made it.

Other ways of saving money include being conservative with your electricity. Turning off the lights in a room you’re not using is a simple way of saving. Lowering your thermostat a few degrees in the winter and raising it a few degrees in the summer are great ways of keeping those costs low. Making sure your windows are caulked around and your doors close properly are also helpful in saving money on utilities. If you see daylight around your door, you need a weatherstrip. They aren’t difficult to install and can save you a lot of money in the heating and cooling of your home. Changing your furnace/air conditioning filters as recommended keeps your system from working too hard and therefore more efficient.

There are several other ways I employ to save as money as possible, but I’ll save them for another post.

How do you make your money stretch?

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