5 tips for stretching your paycheck

Above: Young woman in supermarket on Bali island. Indonesia. Business News | 5 Jul |

With inflation sitting at 8.3%, everyone is feeling the pinch on their bank accounts. It can be overwhelming to see the cost of everyday necessities continue to rise, but with a few little tips and tricks for stretching your paycheck, you can stretch your dollars a little further to cover your expenses.


READ ALSO: Metro Phoenix No. 1 in the nation for highest inflation


Grocery store

Food is one of the hardest hit sectors right now, but something we all have to buy regularly. When shopping for the week look for off brand products. The grocery store might have their own brand that is less expensive and typically the product quality is exactly the same as the name brand. When shopping in store or building your cart for pick up, look around to see what’s on sale that week and make your selections based on these items. When certain fruits and vegetables are in season, they might be less expensive for the consumer too. Finally, see if your favorite grocery store has a rewards program where you can get money off your grocery bill after earning a certain amount of points.

Nicole Watson is senior vice president, territory director of retail banking, for UMB Bank.

Gas station

Gas also continues to be a hard-hit area across the country with prices hitting record highs. Driving around to find the least expensive gas can be counter-productive, so when you head to the pump, see if one of your current credit cards has a specific percentage cash back reward for gas purchases. You can rack up these points to pay for your next tank. You might also consider checking to see if your local gas stations or grocery stores offer loyalty or reward programs which lead to dollars off at the pump.

Utility bills

Utility bills continue to rise too as energy costs inflate. Your utility providers might have assistance programs you can lean on – it never hurts to ask. In addition, the companies might offer for you to break up your payments over the entire month instead of paying in one slump sum. You can also contact the company to see if you can negotiate your bills too – especially for your cell phone plan. There might be a part of the plan you are no longer using but still paying for. Review your bills carefully to see where you might have an opportunity to call and trim back.

Write things down

If your bills are due at different points throughout the month, it could help to write down the amount due and date in a calendar or budget app to help you plan. By seeing everything down on paper or in an app, you can keep track of when withdraws are going to happen and allocate your spending appropriately.

Consolidate debt

With everyday expenses so high right now, it might also be worthwhile to talk to your bank about consolidating your debt. If you have multiple accounts, you might be able to consolidate everything down to one loan with a lower monthly payment and interest rate. There is also a debt tactic known as the avalanche or snowball approach.

The snowball debt payoff strategy starts with paying the minimum amount on all your bills, while also putting as many dollars are you can toward the smallest debt balance each month. Once the smallest balance is paid off, repeat the process with the next smallest debt balance. With the avalanche debt strategy, you pay the minimum due on all your bills, and pay as much as you can on the balance with the highest interest rate. Once the balance with the highest interest rate is paid off, start paying more on the next highlight interest rate debt.

A banker can also walk you through your specific situation and different ideas that might work for you as you stretch your paycheck during this time of high inflation.

Nicole Watson is senior vice president, territory director of retail banking, for UMB Bank.

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