Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, you’ve probably been feeling the effects of inflation. After a long stretch of relatively low inflation in the United States and other countries, many are having to tighten their belts as their money keeps buying less.
While everyone’s affected by inflationary pressures in different ways, it’s an inescapable phenomenon so long as you’re living in a society that uses a variable-supply currency. But this doesn’t mean you have to simply surrender to these forces. Even though inflation can create persistently difficult circumstances, there are ways to work around it. Let’s look at some creative ways to fight inflation that will help your life go on without too much disruption.
Though it sounds like something out of an old-timey role-playing game, bartering can be a great way to mitigate inflation to some degree. Inflation is a loss of purchasing power, otherwise known as the devaluation of money. With bartering, there’s no exchange of currency, just goods and services. By side-stepping a monetary transaction, it’s possible for both sides to receive greater value.
Think about what you could bring to the table in a bartering situation that might be desirable to a friend, neighbor, or even someone from an online marketplace. If each party can provide something satisfactory, this can be a great way to work around inflation. At the same time, you want to protect yourself by knowing the value of your offering. There’s a reason why money has been used for over 5,000 years. It provides an equal medium of exchange, whereas bartering can potentially lead to one side unfairly taking advantage of the other.
Plan Your Savings Based on Inflationary Expectations
Inflation presents people with a sort of financial paradox. We all know that saving money is important for financial health. But when inflation starts running hot, having too much money in cash can effectively shrink your real purchasing power. Therefore, it’s important to figure out how to save for the long term without having your money drastically lose its value over time.
Although it’s not necessarily the easy route, diversifying your saving to protect against inflation might be a wise choice. For instance, simple Series I Savings Bonds are currently yielding 9.62 percent. This is because their payout is directly linked to the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). This is a relatively low-risk way to keep up with inflation—though you should understand all the details of how I bonds earn interest before purchasing them.
Many people also espouse precious metals like gold and silver, or commodities, as ways to protect against inflation. Considering energy prices have been soaring through the roof, which has brought the cost of food and metals with it, there seems to be some logic to this. However, some would also advise that investing in precious metals is not a perfect hedge, so tread cautiously.
Ultimately, diversifying your funds is key. You don’t want to have all your savings in cash during periods of high inflation. While having cash will always be important for paying bills and for emergency savings, its value can be ravaged by persistent inflation.
Rethink Your Experiences (Don’t Let Consumption Rule You)
Our society often depicts lavish spending and living luxuriously as the pinnacle of existence. Seeing opulence and apparent bliss on social media can feed your FOMO. But these exorbitant displays don’t necessarily bring contentment or happiness. And isn’t that kind of the point?
When you’re experiencing the effects of inflation, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate what’s truly valuable. Ultimately, most people are generally more fulfilled by having positive experiences than they are by accumulating items. A recent paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, “Spending on Doing Promotes More Moment-to-Moment Happiness Than Spending on Having,” backed this idea up with two multi-thousand participant studies. The researchers’ work led to a stark realization: “Experiences appear to be a more promising route to enhancing well-being than possessions, irrespective of when happiness is measured.”
Now is the perfect opportunity to take this truth to heart, and redesign your life around the happiness of experiences, as opposed to the fleeting desires of material. Instead of purchasing an expensive item that might not even bring you sustained happiness (and maybe even just clutter your life), consider unique ways to enhance your life through experiences and added value. For instance, the ability to book a hotel room for flexible blocks of time through HotelsByDay can provide necessary convenience when you need it most.
You can utilize the room or hotel facilities as a novel workspace to mix up your usual routine or get necessary, deep work done when you don’t have an adequate environment to do so. You can even get a pass for the pool and other premium facilities to bring some spice to your day. If you want to hit the gym after pool time for equal doses of work and play, by all means.
If you’re traveling and have arrival or departure times that do not line up, booking a room for a few hours can give you a place to relax, store your belongings, or be productive in what is otherwise known as ‘travel downtime.’ All of these solutions can elevate your happiness levels without breaking the bank, which is a key consideration when looking for ways to fight inflation.
Investing in your personal education is one of the top pieces of advice given by financial mastermind Warren Buffett for fighting inflation. Furthermore, education is something that can’t be taken away from you, no matter what else is happening in your life. Continual self-improvement is one of the best ways to fight back against inflation.
No one enjoys inflation. Though, it tends to have a greater impact on those without proper preparation. Like a genie let out of the bottle, it can be hard to stop inflation once it has started running wild. As a consumer forced to deal with its consequences, your only real choice is to find creative ways to combat the effects of inflation. The options provided here can set you on the right track.
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