Navigating the Costs of Living
In case you haven’t noticed, the cost of everything has gone up, so much so that many people are adjusting their spending habits to offset some of the highest inflationary prices in 40 years.
The cost of living has gone up. How much it has increased for you depends on factors such as your state of residence, the kind of home in which you dwell, and the length of your work commute.
The good news is that if you find it a challenge to cover your necessities, or you’re hoping to put some funds aside, there are steps you can take to reduce your living expenses. Here are some measures you can take to help you decrease your expenditures, which helps you navigate the costs of living.
What is the Cost of Living?
Basically, the cost of living is how much money is takes annually to keep up your lifestyle. Every year, many different organizations, including the Council for Community and Economic Research, and the Economic Policy Institute, calculate the cost of living, using slightly different methodologies that provide a representative sampling of the cost of basic goods and services. Ultimately, such totals are used to establish indexes to help compare the situations in varying U.S. regions.
Here’s what you can do to mitigate your personal cost of living:
It can have a huge impact if you can pull it off but moving to a less-expensive city is one of the most significant changes you can make, in terms of lowering your cost of living. Some states such as Nevada, for instance, have no individual income tax, and Oregon lacks a sales tax.
You can use a cost-of-living calculator to help determine whether a bigger city, which may offer more career opportunities but pricier housing, is better for you than a smaller town, which may have more affordable housing but fewer resources.
The high cost of living in the awesome-yet-pricey Golden State, for example, has many residents considering California debt relief options. Afterall, despite the plusses of living there, California residents owe an average of $3,300 in credit card debt, which is higher than the national average. Credit card utilization is also up, a sign of impending financial problems.
Save Money on Your Work Commute
If you’re one of those who continues to travel to and from work despite workforce changes caused by the pandemic, taking public transportation instead can really save you on gas – which isn’t the cheapest nowadays – as well as insurance. Another option is to carpool and split driving costs. If the job is close enough, you also may want to consider walking or biking, which also provides exercise that could even allow you to drop your gym membership.
Choose a More Practical Home or Vehicle
Seriously, who cares what your friends or neighbors drive or what size house they live in? If you’re trying to decrease your cost of living, a good way to do that is to downgrade your car or crib to something more practical. After all, a less-flashy ride could save you a bundle each year in gas and repair costs. You may even want to downsize housing, if you can spare the room, since a two-bedroom apartment costs 15% more, on average, than a one-bedroom unit in the United States.
Find a Roommate
Another great way to bring down your cost of living is by getting a roommate – at least temporarily – to split costs down the middle, including utilities. This move may ultimately be cheaper than relocating to another state.
Lower Your Energy Usage
Here, you can likely save more than you think. The first thing you must do, though, is grasp how to manage your energy consumption. You can, for example, buy a programmable thermostat so that you aren’t cooling or heating your place when you’re at work. You may also want to operate energy-intensive appliances such as your dishwasher during non-peak hours (find out about peak and non-peak rates from your electric company). Further, using energy-efficient appliances and installing home insulation can save you money.
So, yes, there are ways you can navigate the costs of living to reduce your outlay during these inflationary times. If you feel like your credit card debt has already overwhelmed you, you may want to contact Freedom Debt Relief to get a fresh start.