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10 Money Hacks: Fight Inflation and Keep More in Your Pocket

By Inspired Investor Team

Published February 2, 2024 • 5 Min Read

If you’re finding costs are growing but your wallet isn’t, check out these tips and tricks to hack your budget.

When you want to talk money, who do you turn to? Maybe it’s friends, family, an advisor or your online peeps. Maybe it’s a combination of all. We like to turn to our money-savvy colleagues – analysts, number crunchers and data geniuses – who are always quick to share their personal money-management ideas. This time around, with inflation still concerning, we asked for their best money hacks to combat high costs. Here’s a collection of some of their best tips from previous conversations and our recent chats

1. Audit your bills

It may sound tedious and obvious, but our digital content lead swears by scrutinizing expenses line by line. With a demanding career, three kids and a dog, it can be hard to keep track of costs. Combing through phone bills, vet receipts, car lease agreements and the like has proven to her time and again that hidden fees do crop up, promotions can expire unannounced, clerical errors may occur, and so much more.

2. Reward yourself for spending

We can’t cut out all spending. So when we do, one digital manager suggests we rack up points doing it. She uses her rewards card to pay for everything, even her public transit trips. She also pays attention to points offers, making sure that she takes advantage of retailers that offer extra points, or extra points days when she shops.

3. Consolidate debts

While we love our rewards cards, the colleagues we spoke with don’t usually carry a balance and rack up interest. But if they do find themselves in a situation where they don’t have the cash in hand to pay off their credit card when the bill comes, they try to consolidate by clearing the balance using a lower interest option, like a line of credit.

4. Delay your gratification

Your brain might not identify an impulse buy until it’s too late and the money is spent. One communications executive has imposed a so-called delay switch when online shopping. “I put items in my cart but they have to stay there for 24 hours before going to checkout,” she says. “Most still proceed to checkout the next day, but some end up being removed.”

5. Reduce those impulse grocery buys

One marketing manager suggests that grocery delivery or pick-up might not just be convenient, but may actually prevent you from the impulse buys that can happen at the grocery store – especially if you tend to grocery shop when you are hungry. The key is finding a grocery store that offers in-store pricing to online shoppers, so that you aren’t paying a markup. It may help you to buy only what you need, while saving time too. And you know the saying…time is money!

6. Round it down

One digital guru keeps tabs on his cash using his mobile banking app. He’s made a habit of rounding his chequing account balance down to the nearest $5 and moving the rest to his savings account. He says it’s a fun and easy way to save, and those dollars and cents have steadily accumulated.

7. Put your diet on a spending diet

Many of us spend more money on dining out than we’d like to admit. To cut back, one of our colleagues deleted all five of the food delivery apps from her phone. “I’ve easily saved $500 a month as a result,” she says. Another co-worker only orders food when she’s eating with another person. That means no store-bought coffee at work unless she’s meeting a colleague, and no takeout on Friday evenings unless she’s having a date night with her partner. Another co-worker is more committed to buying in bulk for her big family.

8. Spend consciously

Before our client experience specialist makes a purchase, be it a cup of coffee or a family vacation, he thinks of the planet. Often, he decides not to buy. “Considering the impact of what I buy on the climate has amounted to a more sustainable way of bringing up my kids,” he says. Sticking to your values may help you curb your spending – and minimize your environmental footprint, too.

9. Make sure sales are really sales

Retailers employ many tactics to encourage us to buy. One widely used strategy is using the word “sale” to help convince us that an item is a good deal. So, when planning a purchase, it’s always a good idea to do a little research into whether the item you are buying is indeed a deal. One executive swears by apps that will track sales over years, to help determine if a sale is actually a sale. “It has saved me a lot of money over the years,” he says.

10. Talk about it

We have definitely learned the value of discussing finances with others. It’s a muscle worth flexing! Even if you don’t have a banker on speed dial, you likely have financially savvy people in your network. Pick their brains. Your bank accounts may thank you.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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