Digital News Report – The USDA has predicted that food prices will be higher with around 3 to 4 percent increase seen during 2011. Gas prices have already been on the steep climb across the United States which can make it expensive for travel, but this can also increase the cost of goods as well. According to the US Energy Information Administration the average price for a gallon of gas in the United States is $3.573. With all these increases in the cost of living, this could put more households into debt. However, there are ways to get help with debt and to avoid it.
Inflation and Rising Prices
That is why it would be important for households to develop a financial budget more than ever. When the same amount of groceries cost more money, there will be less money to spend on other things. However, a smart shopper may learn strategies to lower their grocery bills by shopping sales and using coupons. Also they may consider eating a more frugal menu and cook more foods from a recipe versus buying pre-made frozen meals.
Clothing was recently reported to be facing increasing prices as much as 10 percent in the second part of 2011 said Burt Flickinger III, who is the President of Strategic Resource Group. The reason for the increase is that the material used to make clothing is going up in price. So if you are considering a new wardrobe or are thinking about replacing some old clothes it might be time to consider buying before the price increase. If you find that you are short on funds, there are thrift stores, and clearance sales at stores that can help to find affordable clothing. Shop carefully, and consider if you will get a lot of use from the clothing.
Gas prices are also on the climb as well. The government has continually showed increasing gas prices since September of 2010. The average cost of gas in the US for February 21, 2011 is $3.573 per gallon. The East coast states average $3.620 per gallon and the West coast averages $3.729 per gallon. People that commute long distances to and from work can spend hundreds of dollars a month on gas alone.
In order to save some money and make the gas go farther the Fueleconomy.gov website offers tips to be more fuel efficient. They suggest driving less aggressively which means don’t speed up quickly just to slam on the brakes. Drive the speed limit because they say each 5 mph over 60 mph you drive will cost you an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas. Don’t drive a car full of unneeded items. For each 100 extra pounds you carry around you reduce your MPG around 2 percent. Avoid running your car idling, turn it off if you are waiting. Using cruise control on the highway might help save on gas and if you use the overdrive gears it could also save gas. Other ways to reduce fuel useage is to keep your car maintained and running well. Plan your trips so you travel less often. Last but not least, you might want to consider getting a new more fuel efficient vehicle to drive.
Help with Debt
If you are looking for help with debt there are many different options that you can do to pay it off, even in challenging economic times. There are debt consolidation loans which offer refinancing of existing credit card balances into one new loan usually at a lower interest rate with lower monthly payments.
Another option might be to seek out a credit counselor for help to make a debt management plan. They will go over the current finances and debts, sometimes work out repayment plans with the credit card companies, and help figure out the best options available. Like with any business, you should check to see if there is any complaints from others and to fully understand any fees that are to be collected.
The third option is to become a do-it yourself debt program. There are several websites online that will help you track your spending. Mint.com and SparkSavings.com are just two free online tools for budgeting your monthly expenses. If you don’t want to do it online you can also get several free budgeting software programs at download.com. By tracking what you spend and setting limits on each part of your living expenses you will avoid falling into debt. This can also be used to plan ways to pay off debt.
It is best to not get into debt in the first place. With the challenging economic times, many people have been faced with difficult times. This doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to prevent or pay off debt. It is even more important to be careful with spending than ever before. So even though times can be tough, good planning on shopping and budgeting are important tools to be used to manage money well.
By Victoria Brown