Apr 11, 2024

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A family gathers in a kitchen as a woman prepares food.

Do you feel like you are paying more and getting less? You are not alone. Many people are wrestling with rising costs and squeezing their budgets to pay for everyday items. 

While there are signs that price increases are cooling down, it is still smart to look for ways to reduce inflation’s impact and make your dollar stretch further. 1

What is inflation?

Simply put, inflation is when prices increase for a set of goods or services over a certain period of time. 

Some economists expect and even favor a certain level of inflation as a sign of economic growth.2  In the U.S. and some other countries, officials look at a 2% annual inflation rate as generally good for the economy. Even at that level, prices for some goods and services may rise and, depending on the product or where you live, some prices might increase much more.

Here are five ways to help you fight rising prices—and save—right now. Taking just one or two actions may help you hold on to more of your hard-earned money and stay on track toward your financial goals, no matter what happens.

1. Know which high prices hit you hardest

It is easy to feel stressed by rising prices, especially since we seem to hear about them every day. To gain some control and peace of mind, take a look at how your budget lines up with your actual spending. This may give you a clear idea of which price increases affect you the most. 

If you drive to work every day, for example, figure out how much more you might be spending on gas. Take a look at the cost of your groceries over time. If you dine out or regularly order takeout from restaurants, those bills may be higher too.

Utility bills also fluctuate for many households from year to year. People dealing with severe winter weather are likely to feel the impact even more if prices are rising. Working from home means 24/7 climate control and might now be a larger chunk of your monthly expenses.

2. Look for ways to spend less for essentials

Groceries and fuel are often two big items in family budgets, so it is wise to look for ways to spend less on both.

Save on food

There are some ways to avoid sticker shock at the grocery store. Planning meals in advance may help limit waste. One approach is to use versatile, inexpensive ingredients (like beans or lentils) that you can cook in a variety of ways. Or you might consider buying some of your food in bulk or adjusting your diet to include less-expensive meats and staples. Also, there are several different meal-planning sites and apps that cater to a range of lifestyles and dietary needs. They may even create a shopping list for you. 

With list in hand, look to take advantage of the loyalty program at your favorite grocery store. Search for deals on list items in the store’s app, and keep an eye out for in-store QR codes for further savings.

Beyond store apps, smart shoppers might also find additional savings by scanning their grocery receipts into a cash-back app that rewards you for many types of everyday purchases. 

Save on fuel

You may also be able to save at the gas station by making some changes to your driving habits. Stick to the speed limit and avoid idling to improve fuel efficiency. Replace your engine oil on a regular basis. Make sure your gas cap is on properly to limit vaporizing gas. 

Several apps are also available to help you, especially if you are going someplace new. Your maps app will show you the most direct route and how to avoid tolls. A separate gas app may point you to the best fuel prices at nearby service stations.

If you are traveling short distances, under a mile, consider skipping the car and walking or riding a bike if you are able and the route is safe. Carpooling or using public transportation are additional ways for getting where you need to go.

Trim your impulse spending

Don’t forget to consider your discretionary spending as well. This may mean cutting back on movie tickets (or going to matinees instead) or bypassing the mall to avoid shopping temptations. There may be many ways you can find to spend less on items you don’t truly need. To keep your budget in line, consider following the 50/30/20 rule

3. Cut home energy waste

A big utility bill could be just the prompt you need to finally tackle small, overdue fixes to boost your home’s energy efficiency. Here are some ideas.

Make energy upgrades around your home

Affordable fixes may be simpler than you expect.

  • Replace worn weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows
  • Install screens and ceiling fans to cut back on A/C usage
  • Program thermostat to lower the HVAC load overnight and when you are away
  • Replace air filters on HVAC units to improve efficiency
  • Clean windows to allow more natural light and reduce lighting and heating costs
  • Add motion sensors to automatically turn on and off lights 
  • Cover exposed areas in attic with insulation

Cutting costs doesn’t need to be a chore. Some families even make a game out of establishing new energy-saving habits. For example, you could set up a system of rewards for turning out lights, hanging laundry to dry rather than using the dryer, and unplugging electronics when not in use.

4. Take control of recurring charges

Rising prices can creep into other household bills too. By reviewing your credit or debit card statements, you might discover some surprising ways to save. There are also apps available to help you track and manage recurring subscriptions. They may help you cancel what you are not using or help you negotiate lower-priced plans for cable, internet, and cell phone service. 

You may also be able to cut your insurance costs. Compare car and home insurance quotes using online tools. If your needs have changed, lower-priced coverage might be available and make sense.

Any one of these changes might add up to only a small amount of money, but combine them all and you may be looking at sizable savings.

5. Reduce higher-interest debt and look for ways to save

When prices increase throughout the economy, interest rates often rise also. Even in times of low inflation, consumers may pay relatively high rates for the money they borrow. Keeping your credit card balances in check may help reduce the cost of high interest rates. By reviewing your debt picture, you may find ways to pay down (or pay off) any higher-interest-rate debt.

Save with a set monthly payment

A debt consolidation loan might help save you money on interest. Once you have locked in a fixed rate it won’t increase over the life of your loan, giving you extra peace of mind if inflation increases. In fact, 87% of surveyed customers said they saved money by consolidating debt with a Discover® personal loan, and nearly half said they saved an average of $396 per month.* 

Benefit from potentially high returns

The idea of saving at the same time that costs are rising may feel challenging. If you can save though, rising prices and inflation may provide additional benefits. With interest rates higher, any savings you have can be put to good use. You might want to consider placing your money in a high-yield savings account that pays you a competitive rate for your deposit. Always check with a financial advisor.

Embrace the opportunity for growth

Rising prices may continue to be challenging for many people. But good financial habits may help you weather a storm. By including them in your financial picture, you might be in a better position to ramp up savings goals as prices settle down.

More importantly, the time and effort you spend adjusting your spending now might also lead to a more thoughtful approach to your finances in the long term.

You might even find that being more deliberate about where you spend your money improves your quality of life. When you have fewer day-to-day money worries and a clear path to your financial goals, you may be able to focus more on enjoying your life.

Ready to take the first step and start saving some money? Use our debt consolidation calculator to see what you could save when you consolidate higher-interest debt.

Estimate Potential Savings

Articles may contain information from third-parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verficiation regarding the third party or information.


All figures are from an online customer survey conducted September 14 to October 3, 2023. A total of 1,191 Discover personal loan customers were interviewed about their most recent Discover personal loan with 550 of them using the funds to consolidate debt. All results @ a 95% confidence level. Respondents opened their personal loan between January and July 2023 for the purpose of consolidating debt. Agree includes respondents who ‘Somewhat Agree’ and ‘Strongly Agree.’

1 https://www.barrons.com/livecoverage/fed-powell-congress-testimony-speech-today/card/inflation-is-cooling-without-employment-pain-U4nWWGD564rBhoqVa2BO
2 https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/fandd/issues/Series/Back-to-Basics/Inflation#:~:text=Most%20economists%20now%20believe%20that,is%20good%20for%20an%20economy