I was debating if I actually wanted to make this post, but I think it’s for the best that I do. Inflation has taken a serious bite out of my spending power, and I’m sure that’s true of many of you as well. Recent data shows inflation is taming, but is still abnormally high compared to what people have grown accustomed to in the United States. This post is designed to help my readers get the best price on goods, and also teach you some neat (more general) tricks that have helped me in recent weeks. Yes, we are venturing out of the realm of gaming, but times are tough. Here we go.
Combating Inflation: Compare Prices Online
To be vague, I live in the Northeast U.S., and all the major grocery stores in my area list prices on their websites, including sale prices. If you have multiple store websites open in multiple tabs in your browser, you can see who has the best deal on the things you typically buy. Like it or not, Walmart is America’s largest grocery store chain, and I was shocked to learn their almond milk is $1.12 cheaper per gallon than the best priced local supermarket offering. It might not sound like much, but if you (like me) drink a lot of almond milk, it adds up. Before I go shopping, I keep a tab open of Walmart, Target, Amazon, and the two grocery stores closest to me.
Life Hack: Order Goods Online for Pickup
With the exception of Amazon, all the stores mentioned in the last sentence offer some way to place an order online and have someone who works there pick out the items you bought for you. All you need to do is show up during the designated time slot. This not only saved me from walking through the same parts of the grocery store week after week, it also saved me from making a lot of impulse buys, putting money back in my pocket. This is a massive time saver. It is also much easier to shop this way.
Combating Inflation: Cut Back
Back to almond milk: I used to make iced coffee every morning with a little almond milk in every glass. This resulted in me drinking a lot of almond milk! I wasn’t drinking it for nutritional value or nourishment, I just found iced coffee to be much more palatable this way. I can, however, tolerate hot coffee just black. Now, when I wake up, I make exactly one cup of iced coffee with almond milk, and drink the rest of my coffee black. Now I save a fortune on almond milk. I’m not asking you to starve yourself (I get plenty of calories), I’m asking if you currently make purchases that you don’t need to make.
Life Hack: Ask technology questions to ChatGPT
ChatGPT is an absolutely brilliant new technology that has the power to disrupt search engines as we know them. It is an AI chatbot that can answer the most thought-provoking questions, and do more entertaining things, like write poetry or write essays arguing why one video game is better than another. My favorite way to use ChatGPT is to ask it technology questions. It’s not perfect; it’s about 80% accurate. But when was the last time Google was any better? I now know how to wirelessly transfer files from my computer to my phone, encode music in the format I want and with the directory structure I want, and can rest easy knowing that most of my Facebook Messenger conversations have end-to-end encryption. Ask it anything!
Combating Inflation: Use Mint.com
I hate to sound like a corporate shill. I avoid doing so at all costs. But my friend from many moons ago taught me about Mint.com. I thought it was pretty cool back in the day. To explain what Mint.com is, It’s probably the most advanced free tool there is for managing personal finance. I must have been having a late night chat-a-thon with my new friend, ChatGPT, and the robot taught me that Mint.com still exists, and it’s still free. I now balance a budget so that every month, I have a net positive earnings for the month in the bank, after making some investments. You just have to put up with some cleverly integrated ads on the site.
Life Hack: Treat yourself to something nice every once in a while
Despite having less purchasing power than I used to, some things are still worth the impulse buy. I bought a five dollar video game on Steam a few days ago because it reviewed well, and also because it was five dollars. In addition, I bought a modular power supply cable online today that will allow me to increase my computer storage by a multiple of 4x with drives that I just have lying around the house. It was an inexpensive purchase, but it will add a ton of value to my computer. Just because the dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things.
Happy New Year!