Now That Inflation Is At A Whopping 8.6%, Here Are All The Things I'm Doing To Save Money

·11 min read

Hi there! I'm Morgan, and I'm a 28-year-old gal living in Orange County.

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that it's ROUGH right now. Inflation hit 8.6% in May — the highest since 1981 — which means people are hurting big time. Rent, groceries, and gas make up a huge part of my budget, and the costs have SKYROCKETED.

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Normally, I try my best to be pretty good with my money. But the recent price hikes have been super stressful, so I've also been cutting down expenses even more. I decided to share all my tips and tricks in case it helps anyone else!

Note: Cutting back expenses absolutely does not fix the widespread problem of businesses paying people less than fair, livable wages. Folks can only do so much. The exploitation of workers — while companies make record profits — is disgusting and needs to change. But hopefully something on this list will help you out until society gets its shit together.

1.I'm determined to get every last drop out of the products I buy by adding water.

a shampoo bottle without water added; a shampoo bottle with water added

You know the little bit of soap that's often left at the bottom of the bottle? I take the cap off, add water, shake it up, and voila! Enough soap for one more shower. I don't add too much water since I don't wanna, like, dilute the soap to the point that it won't clean my body properly. But adding just enough is a great way to stretch it out.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

I also apply this to food products like milk! Not enough for my bowl of Frosted Flakes? No worries, just add some water to the jug, swish it around, and now I do!

Milk carton without water; milk carton with water

Since I just put milk in my Frosted Flakes, it doesn't bother me that it's watered down. I don't even notice a difference in taste with my cereal!

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

2.My eating-out budget has gone wayyy down.

a frozen pizza

I'm focusing on buying groceries and eating at home. Even though the cost has jumped up (the frozen CPK pizza I love went from $6.99 to $8.99???), I've found it's still cheaper than eating out.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

3.But if I'm just too tired to make my own food or my taste buds are sick of the same thing, I'll be intentional about where I go out.

The Habit kid's meal

I'm a big supporter of buying kid's meals at casual dining restaurants. I love going to Corner Bakery, where I can get half a sandwich, soup, a bag of chips, a drink, and either fruit or a cookie depending on my mood. All of this for about $6!

If I'm in the mood for a burger and fries, I could go to any number of restaurants, where it would probably cost me $10–$20. Instead, I always go to The Habit, where they offer a kid's meal cheeseburger with fries, a drink, and a little gummy burger for under $7.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

4.And whenever possible, I use coupons.

a Subway coupon

I randomly get coupons in the mail for local restaurants, and I prioritize these places first. Would I normally go to Subway? Maybe not. But I just got this coupon for a $5.99 footlong, and I can only eat half of it before I'm full. That means I'll get two meals for just $3 each, which is pretty dang good.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

Plus, there was a coupon for a free cookie, so that just sweetens the deal!

a free cookie coupon
Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

5.Since gas is nauseatingly expensive, I always price shop.

a gas station with prices above $6

Check out what kind of deals are in your area! At the 76 gas station by my house, I get 10 cents off every gallon just by paying through the app rather than paying at the machine. At a Shell station near me, the machine sometimes asks if I want to enter my phone number to save 5 cents per gallon. And I know some people get discounts through their grocery store points.

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6.I've cut down on expensive activities and found cheaper alternatives.

prices for an Uber ride

Last week, my car randomly had trouble starting. I was running late to meet my friends, who were already at this oceanside restaurant in Laguna Beach. So I opened up the Uber app to order a ride, and I saw the cheapest option was $25! Although one of my friends would have dropped me off after dinner, I didn't wanna pay $25 for an Uber, plus tip, plus the cost of an expensive meal just to spend quality time with my friends, which should be free.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

So, I invited them to stop by my house when they were done eating. They ended up picking me up, and we enjoyed the sunset at a park and grabbed ice cream. I still got to spend time with my friends, but I did it in a way that fit my budget.

a cup of Cold Stone ice cream
Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

7.I started using Kindle Unlimited instead of buying each new book I read.

a book on a Kindle

In case you haven't heard of it, Kindle Unlimited allows readers to download as many books as you want for just $9.99 per month. You don't need an actual Kindle; as long as you can download the Kindle app on your phone or whatever device, you can use it. Not all books are offered on Kindle Unlimited, but there are tons of bestsellers and popular series available. Plus, there are many authors who exclusively publish here!

Of course, the library is always a great option if you want to read for free. I've heard that many libraries offer e-books now, but there's often a waiting period for new books, and I'm too impatient for that. I'm the kind of girl who uses her PTO to read a new book the day it drops, LOL.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

8.I unsubscribed from my favorite stores' emails.

a Bath & Body Works scented candle

Look, I love shopping as much as the next person. But these are tough times, which means I really don't need to know about Bath and Body Work's new candles or Shein's latest dresses. Seeing those emails is a big weakness of mine, so I just cut the temptation out. If I decide I need a new candle or dress, I can look it up purposefully and budget for it.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

9.If I do want new clothes, I gather up some old ones, take them down to my local secondhand store, and trade them for store credit.

the inside of a thrift shop

There's an upscale thrift shop near me that will pay me in cash for the items I bring in. That's already awesome, but if I accept store credit instead, they'll give me 25% more than the cash value. I love doing this because I'm basically trading my old clothes in for new ones! Well, new to me anyway.

Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

As for the clothes they don't accept — they can be pretty picky sometimes! — I just pop down to Laura's House and drop them off here. Laura's House provides shelter and services to women and children fleeing domestic violence, and their resale store supports the funding of their programs. Not only am I helping others by donating my clothes, but it's also a tax write-off.

a box of donated clothes
Damian Lugowski / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10.I looked through all my subscriptions/memberships and canceled the ones I didn't need.

a car wash

I used to have a car wash membership that was $19.99 per month for unlimited drive-thru car washes. I loved it because it was so convenient, but it wasn't a necessity so I canceled it. If I really want a clean car, I can always do it myself!

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11.I utilize cash discounts whenever possible.

a mechanic looking at the inside of a car

This definitely comes from a privileged position, as not everyone can do this. But the car problems I mentioned earlier? They ended up being way more extensive than I'd hoped. At my car shop, they charge a 3% fee for credit card transactions. Thankfully, I spent the last few years building up my emergency fund for exactly this purpose. While it fucking sucks to see a huge chunk of my savings disappear, and it's like, the worst timing ever because I'm moving across the country next month, I'm grateful that I prioritized having cash for when I needed it most. And it's a small consolation, but I'm glad I don't have to pay the 3% fee.

Ronstik / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12.I cut down on beauty services.

manicured nails

These were one of the first things to go. I used to get lash extensions, manicures, and my brows threaded. I'm pretty whatever about brows, but nails were a cool way to express myself. See how fun my Christmas nails were?! But with how expensive life has gotten, it's just not in the budget. I do make exceptions for special occasions, though! Last month, I went to a wedding, so I got a regular gel manicure for that.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

TBH, I really, really miss my lashes. Rolling out of bed and feeling extra cute when you look in the mirror is amazing. So whenever (if ever?) prices go back to normal, that's something I'd love to do again. But until then, it's a lashless life for me.

the author with the words "RIP lashes" above her
Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

13.I keep my emergency fund (or what's left of it 😭) in a HYSA.

a jar of coins with the label "Savings" on it

This tip isn't really about saving money since it's about making money, but it can definitely help you meet your savings goal faster. According to Business Insider, the average savings account earns just 0.05% interest, which is laughable. Instead, I use a high-yield savings account with an online bank, and I currently get 0.9%.

Sorrapong / Getty Images/iStockphoto

In addition to the extra money that gets deposited into my account every month, I love that there are no ATMs with my online bank. If I need to use the money, I have to transfer it to my regular bank account and wait a day or two. That means no impulse buying!

a person putting a coin into a piggy bank
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14.My partner and I started posting old stuff for sale on OfferUp.

a dog with a chew toy

My partner has made quite a bit selling old video games, and I've sold a couple random things around the house. For example, my puppy-son, Dandelion, stopped using his water fountain and decided he'd rather make Mommy get him fresh bowls of cold water throughout the day. So I cleaned the fountain, took a few pictures, threw them on OfferUp, and sold it the next day! I made $15, which went toward Dandelion's treats and toys.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

15.I'm immediately saving any found money.

the author's hand holding cash

The other day, I found $40 in an old backpack in my closet. Hell yeah! Instead of spending it, I'm going to deposit it right into my HYSA. Since I didn't know this money existed, I didn't budget for it. That means this can go straight to boosting my emergency fund.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

16.I always have a list when I go grocery shopping.

shopping list

Throughout the week, I usually tell Alexa to add whatever I need to my shopping list. Then, when I'm grocery shopping, I pull up the app and see what I was in the mood for. By having this list, I can cut down on picking up random things I don't really need (looking at you, Fruit by the Foot).

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

17.And finally, I'm paying special attention to what's on sale.

boxes of Frosted Flakes

I've been stocking up whenever there's a really good discount, as you can see from my Frosted Flakes collection.

Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

And at the Ralph's near me, they usually have a little cart in the back of the store of heavily discounted food items about to expire. I love picking up muffins or cookies here that wouldn't normally be in my budget. Today, I found chocolate donuts for only 89 cents!

cartons of donuts with reduced prices
Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

Sometimes, Ralph's also has items with a "WooHoo" sticker, which means great discounts! Every once in a while, my partner and I will surprise one another with "WooHoo" flowers, and it's a sweet, cheap way to show we were thinking about each other.

a bouquet of flowers
Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

Do you have any money-saving tips or tricks? LMK in the comments below!