Inflation has been described as a hidden tax, one that hits the poor and those who live paycheck to paycheck the hardest.  It has also been called a thief, one that slips in silently and steals money from the wallets of hard-working people.

No matter what you call it or how you experience it, inflation is bad news for your money, but you do not have to take those rising prices lying down.  You may not be able to control the macroeconomic environment or tell the Federal Reserve to take action, but you can take steps to fight back with every shopping excursion, every investment, and every trip to the grocery store. 

Here are 10 inflation-fighting strategies you can start using right away.

  1. Try store brands and generics.
    If you have always turned up your nose and store brands and generics, it may be time to change your opinion.  Store brands are nearly always less expensive, but they are also slower to rise in price during periods of inflation.

  2. Consider shopping at off-price grocery stores.
    Did you know there are grocery stores that specialize in slightly damaged produce, banged-up boxes, and closeouts?  These off-price and discount grocery stores can provide wonderful relief during periods of inflation, saving you money with every trip.

  3. Embrace gently used merchandise.
    Your local thrift store or Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to stop when prices are rising, and every dollar you save on discounted clothes, gently used furniture and other used products is one dollar you have to spend elsewhere.

  4. Stock up on the sales.
    Stocking up is always a smart idea, but it is even more productive when prices are rising quickly.  If you can buy cases of canned goods on sale, you will not have to worry about buying that product again for a long time, providing a level of protection against further price increases.

  5. Keep a price log.
    It is not always easy to know which prices have increased and which ones have held steady, so keep track of the costs with a price log.  Whether you carry a notepad in your pocket or purse or download a price-tracking app, this simple trick could save you a ton of cash.

  6. Seek out inflation-friendly investments.
    If you do have money to invest, look for products that will do well when prices are rising.  Inflation-protected bonds and mutual funds can be especially good in periods of rising prices, but there are a number of other options as well.

  7. Put off major purchases if you can.
    Big-ticket items like appliances and new cars can rise higher in periods of inflation, so you might want to put off those large purchases until things settle down.

  8. Watch out for shrinkflation.
    Sometimes manufacturers will hold prices steady while shrinking the sizes of their packages.  Learning to evaluate and choose products based on price per ounce or cost by volume will help you identify the best value options at the grocery store.

  9. Experiment with new recipes.
    If you want to save money and fight inflation, you may need to get creative.  Experimenting with new ingredients and new recipes can help you stretch your grocery budget when times get tough.

  10. Try a meatless meal once or twice a week.
    Meat prices tend to rise more than most other items when inflation hits a peak, so now may be the time to go vegetarian. If you do not want to give up meat entirely, consider having a meatless Monday (or another day) at the dinner table.

 

Economists can argue about the causes of inflation, and politicians can promise to bring those rising prices under control.  That is all well and good, but you still need to feed your family and make ends meet when prices are on the rise, and that requires fast and intensive action.  The 10 tips listed above can help you survive when inflation is on the rise, so you can buy the products you need without going into debt.