Are inflation woes hurting your health?

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Too much stress can kill you.

 

New and old research agree that too much stress can hurt a person’s health. So far this year, inflation has been one of the top concerns for Americans.

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Many are struggling to afford life’s basic necessities and with that level of financial hardship, stress is sure to follow.

Debt.com found four financial studies that show how stress from inflation is beating up Americans’ mental and physical health:

Below, we break down the results further.

No medication for inflation

The rise in costs is so rapid that Americans are struggling to even make it to work.

 

DailyPay and Funding Our Future, both digital financial platforms, partnered together to survey hundreds of employees. They found that 81 percent of workers are having to reallocate their funds to transportation since gas has reached record high costs across the country. Many are having to spend a day’s worth of earnings just to fill up their gas tank.

 

More employees are also depending on payday loans in order to pay for utilities, groceries, and other living expenses. Despite these rising costs, many workers haven’t gotten a pay raise in the last year.

 

“Inflation and its after-effects can also be emotionally disempowering for workers,” DailyPay said. “It may cause them to lose agency over their own financial well-being.”

 

Because of the uptick in costs, 77 percent of workers said that their stress is starting to affect their physical health. Americans are getting stress-induced, fatigue, anxiety, muscle pains, appetite changes, and more.

 

Find out: Financial Stress is at an Eight-Year High

Can’t eat and keep a roof over their head

The cost of living isn’t only hurting workers’ physical health, but also their mental health.

 

LifeWorks is a human resources company that releases a Monthly Mental Health Index based on a survey of 5,000 people. They found that 20 percent of workers are struggling to afford food and housing.

 

Nearly 1 in 6 employees aren’t confident that they’ll still have secure housing by next year. Like DailyPay, LifeWorks found that this is taking a severe toll on mental health.

 

“Americans are now facing increased stress from the realities and fear of inflation,” LifeWorks said. “After years of dealing with pandemic related anxieties, more Americans are now dealing with a new looming fear of not being able to put food on their tables or have house security due to the sharp inflation increase.”

 

Workers who are struggling to meet their basic needs tended to score 16 points lower in mental wellbeing than those who felt secure.

Retirement when?

Right now, people are so stressed out about today that they can’t plan for tomorrow. And the plans that they do have are changing.

 

Principal Financial Group found that most Americans are less concerned about living lavishly in retirement than they used to be. The insurance group surveyed over a thousand workers and retirement plan sponsors. Most respondents (71 percent) just want to maintain their standard of living, even if that means they don’t get to splurge.

 

“For most Americans, living comfortably with the occasional splurge on their favorite activities or travel destinations is the ultimate goal in retirement,” the senior vice president, Sri Reddy, said. “In the current environment of high inflation and potentially lower investment returns, we are seeing something of a retirement reset among U.S. workers.”

 

Even though saving for retirement is the number one priority amongst employees, 40 percent fell behind on their retirement contributions because of their restricted budget.

 

Find out: 5 Retirement Account Changes for 2022

BIPOC, LGBTQ, and COVID: Symptoms still hurt the community’s finances

The number of Americans who were unable to contribute to their savings this past year nearly tripled and minority communities are being hit the hardest.

 

While Principal Financial Group found that most people are concerned about retirement, the life insurance group MassMutual found that the BIPOC community is most concerned about inflation.

 

Respondents within the LGBTQ community were struggling to save because of inflation. About 3 in 4 said that they haven’t been able to invest because of rising costs.

 

MassMutual also found that most workers have been exceeding their grocery and gas budgets over the past three months.

 

“In many cases,” says Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S., “inflation has exacerbated the already damaging financial effects of COVID and is extending many financial habits developed during the pandemic such as dining out less.”

 

Now that COVID quarantines have largely come to an end, most Americans are eager to eat out and enjoy fun experiences. But because of inflation, thousands will still be hunkering down at home.

 

Find out: How to Make Inflation Work for You

 

This article originally appeared on Debt.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

18 ways to stay ahead of inflation

 

No doubt, inflation is putting significant pressure on people’s budgets, and the future looks bleak when it comes to the potential of prices falling soon. The latest Consumer Price Index (May 11, 2022) revealed that consumer goods and services rose 8.3 percent (on average) over the last 12 months, noting shelter, food, airline fares, and new vehicles as the most significant contributors to this overall increase. And this isn’t just impacting lower-income families either—a recent study found that  31 percent of Americans making $100,000 and more struggle to afford their bills.

As prices continue to rise, here’s a look at beating inflation on everything from groceries to gas to household bills.

 

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Even if you’re not struggling to afford your bills, you can beat inflation by saving money on groceries. Doing so can free up some extra cash to put towards other things, like savings or investments. Here are a few tips for how to save money on groceries.

 

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Not only do you need to pay attention to grocery prices when shopping, but paying attention to how you shop can also result in significant savings at the food store. One study shows that shoppers who used self-checkout spent less on impulse than those who used the staffed lane. Another way to ditch impulse grocery buys is to use a handbasket rather than a cart. You don’t have as much space to toss in anything other than the necessities by doing this.

 

 

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Store brands have come a long way in the last decade, so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing taste and quality to save, and you’re looking at spending around 30% less. Many grocery stores and big-box retailers are also more likely to offer deals and coupons on their food brands, so there’s even more opportunity to save.

 

 

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Shoppers will often find fresh foods at up to a 70% discount when nearing their expiration date. These include meat, cheese, chicken, fish, and dairy. Ask your store manager where you can find these options and freeze what you don’t plan to eat right away.

 

 

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Saving money on restaurant meals is important for a number of reasons. For one, eating out is becoming increasingly more expensive as inflation continues to rise. Additionally, when you eat out, you’re not only paying for the food itself, but also for the service and oftentimes for the ambiance of the restaurant.

Here are some ways you can beat inflation by saving money on restaurant meals/takeout.

 

 

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Before heading out to eat, pick up a discount restaurant gift card. You can snag significant savings when buying bulk packs of gift cards from warehouse stores. For instance, you can get $25 off two $50 gift cards to Macaroni Grill and $20 off two $50 gift cards to California Pizza Kitchen, both available at Costco. If you don’t have a membership to one of these bulk stores, check out Restaurant.com for dining deals, as this site posts discounted certificates for restaurants based on zip code.

 

 

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Happy hour isn’t just for drinks, many bars and restaurants also offer deals on appetizers and select menu items, so this is a good time to dine out to save. Otherwise, look for early-bird or late-night dining deals as restaurants may discount meals when crowds die down. Meanwhile, families can save by searching for dining spots that offer free kids’ meals on certain days of the week. Download the Yelp app and tap on the Deals tab to look for dining and take-out specials nearby.

 

 

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Take the sting out of rising restaurant prices by using cashback tools to save money. Sites like CouponCabin.com offer cashback for food delivery services like $2.50 back at Uber Eats and $10 back at Postmates. Meanwhile, you can earn an extra 4% cashback when you pay for your food and drinks using the Slide app at participating restaurants and coffee shops, including The Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, etc.

 

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In these (high) inflationary times, it’s more important than ever to save money on gas for your car. Rising prices at the pump can quickly eat into your budget, leaving you with less money to spend on other things. Here are a few ways to beat inflation and save on gas to keep more money in your pocket.

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Fuel prices can fluctuate daily, making it tricky to determine which gas stations have the best rate. However, you can quickly compare current prices per gallon using the GasBuddy app. Enter your location or allow the GPS feature to pull up your location and notify you where the least expensive gas is in your area or along your route.

 

 

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Pay attention to where you shop for groceries, as some offer fuel reward programs, allowing you to redeem points for discounts at the pump. For instance, Kroger’s loyalty program provides one fuel point for every $1 spent on groceries which consumers can redeem for discounts at Kroger gas stations and participating Shell stations. Other grocery stores offer similar programs, so don’t let those rewards go to waste.

 

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Cash is king when saving on gas, as card paying customers can expect to spend 10 to 15-cents more per gallon when swiping plastic. If you don’t typically carry dollar bills on hand, look for a gas rebate card to earn more cashback on fuel purchases. You can even double up on cashback by uploading pictures of your gas receipts using Fetch Rewards. You’ll earn points good towards gift cards to stores like Amazon, Target, or Walmart, which you can use to offset future spending needs.

 

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Inflation can have a serious impact on your household budget, making it more important than ever to save money on household bills.

Here are a few ways you can beat inflation by reducing your monthly expenses and keeping more money in your pocket.

 

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You likely shopped around for the best insurance rates when first buying your car or home, but you could be leaving money on the table if you haven’t compared rates. Run a quick price comparison using insurance comparison sites like TheZebra.com to see if you could snag comparable coverage for less. Increasing your deductible and bundling policies are other ways to reduce your premium.

 

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A recent study found that 90% of mobile users waste money on unnecessary unlimited data plans as they use much less than their plan provides. Review your data use and move to a lower-tiered data plan or save by switching to an online-only carrier like Mint Mobile, which offers plans for as little as $15 per month. Considering the average American cell phone bill is $70 for a single user, according to JD Power, that’s an extra $660 a year extra you will have to put towards your debt.

 

 

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Carrying balances across multiple credit cards makes managing debt difficult and more expensive, especially for anyone with a variable-rate credit card. As rates increase, monthly interest fees will get more expensive, making it harder to pay down debt. While transferring balances to a zero-percent interest credit card is one option, consolidating multiple balances into one personal loan takes the stress out of managing several different payment dates and comes with lower interest rates. You can even find debt consolidation loans for bad credit by comparing offers at sites like BadCredit.org.

 

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Inflation can have a serious impact on your household budget, making it more important than ever to make smarter choices when shopping.

Here are some ways to beat inflation when it comes to shopping.

 

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You may have already started to limit impulse purchases and unnecessary shopping, but when it comes to buying stuff you need, think outside the traditional retail shop. Instead, join Buy-Nothing Groups on Facebook to pick up free things and trade kid’s clothing at SwoondleSociety.com. Otherwise, look for gently used options online.

You can find secondhand home goods and furniture through:

  • Local listing sites like Mercari or OfferUp,
  • Previously-owned fashion at Poshmark or Thredup.com,
  • Gently-used sports gear at SwapMeSports, and
  • Refurbished gadgets at eBay or Best Buy to save anywhere from 30 to 70% compared to regular retail prices.

 

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While marketers want you to believe you need something new for the upcoming or current season, chances are you can wait. And holding off on making the purchase can result in considerable savings. Many consumer goods like clothing, holiday decorations, power tools, and even sporting gear have a season it’s most needed, like swimsuits for summer and snowblowers for winter. Hence, prices peak when the item is in demand. Buying toward the end of the season (i.e. after the December global holidays) may offer less selection, but you can reap bigger 50 to 70% off discounts.

 

 

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While hunting down coupons and comparing prices are two essential steps to finding the best deal on any purchase, don’t forget to track prices even after you buy. Many retailers offer price adjustments for recent purchases that go on sale for more money off within a week or two from the original date of purchase. While monitoring these price changes can be tedious, some tools work for you. For example, Edison Mail’s Price Alert feature will notify you when they detect a price drop for recent purchases. Also, they provide tips on how to request money back for stuff you already bought. This way, you never overpay.

 

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When it comes to booking travel, the best rates are often not the first ones to get displayed. Indeed, these days, one must hunt for the best deals. Here are some ways to beat inflation, and travel at the same time.

 

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When and where you go will ultimately impact your vacation spending, so be flexible about your destination and travel dates to save. Choose a destination experiencing its off-peak season to enjoy hotel, airfare, and entertainment deals. Traveling midweek will also offer deeper discounts on flights and accommodation. Set airfare and hotel price alerts using sites like Hopper and Trivago, and take a holiday where you find the deals.

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.

 

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Airfare and hotel will account for a significant portion of your overall travel budget, but even those daily activities and entertainment can add. Save yourself some serious dough by picking a destination that offers plenty of free things to do. For instance, the beach will keep your kids happy for hours, while a mountain getaway gives you plenty of options to play outdoors, including hiking, bike riding, fishing, star gazing, and more.

 

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You don’t have to dish out hundreds of dollars on a hotel or home rental— a little creativity can go a long way to help you save on accommodation.

For instance, you can get a free or deeply discounted overnight stay by:

  • Swapping homes via HomeExchange.com,
  • Renting a room rather than a whole house through VRBO or Airbnb; or,
  • Tackling chores or office duties in exchange for free stays at hostels via WorkPackers.com.

 

 

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While inflation is something you can’t change, there are still ways to beat it. The key is to be mindful of your spending and make strategic choices that allow you to save money. From automating your finances to taking advantage of freebies, these tips will help you keep more of your hard-earned cash.

 

This article originally appeared on RickOrford.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

 

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Featured Image Credit: Yelizaveta Tomashevska/ istockphoto.

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