Five Tips for Combating Inflation

By Kris McDowell

Inflation has been squeezing Americans’ budgets and, although the overall inflation rate has fallen recently, the increased cost of all facets of life are still causing struggles for many people. We can’t stop purchasing food or paying our monthly bills but there are ways we can explore how to stretch our dollars. “We may not control inflation, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely helpless in our high-price environment. There are tools and tricks to help people keep more money in their pockets,” said Amy Maliga, financial educator with the nonprofit Take Charge America. 

Cashback apps and cards

Apps like Rakuten, Ibotta, Honey and DollarSprout Rewards let you earn cash on expenses like groceries, clothing and gas. They work on mobile devices or computers, with some that can connect to a digital payment method. Cashback credit cards offer anywhere from one to five percent back on various purchases. Just be sure to pay off your credit card balance in full every month to avoid interest or other fees. 

Online grocery shopping

If you find you often make impulse buys while grocery shopping, avoid the temptation by purchasing your groceries online. Many major grocers, including Fred Meyer and Safeway, allow customers to shop online and pick up their grocery orders curbside. Other services like Instacart will go to the store for you and deliver the groceries to your door. While online platforms have fees associated with their services, if the costs you add to your grocery bills with impulse buys are greater, online ordering might be a better option for you.

Negotiate bills

When was the last time you assessed your monthly bills? Even if your bills haven’t increased, it is worth calling service providers to inquire about deals available to existing customers. PGE, for example, offers a Peak Time Rebates program. Participants in the program can earn rebates on their bills by allowing PGE to shift their energy use during peak times, when energy demand and prices are the highest. For situations where multiple providers are available (i.e. phone, cable or internet), by exploring new providers you may be able to lock in lower rates.

Explore gig work

Bringing  in more cash can ease inflation stress. Gig work allows you to earn money outside your regular job. There are usual suspects, like ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber, as well as food delivery services like Grubhub or DoorDash. You may also want to consider on-demand stuffing app Qwick or freelance site Fiverr for other options.

Use your library card

The public library is a goldmine of money-saving opportunities. Not only can you borrow books, movies and music for free, you have access to online reading sites like Overdrive. The Multnomah County Library system has over 20 locations (some of which are currently closed for renovations) and offers a variety of resources. Explore all of it at 

Take Charge America was established in 1987 and offers financial education and counseling services including credit counseling, debt management, housing counseling and bankruptcy counseling. More than two million consumers have received help from the nonprofit to manage their personal finances and debts. Access their budget tools and more resources at or call 888.822.9193.

Five Tips for Combating Inflation

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