1. The Sting of Inflation
Prices in 2021 rose at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years, and inflation looks like it’s going to be Americans’ biggest economic challenge in 2022. Consumer demand, supply chain problems and the spread of the Omicron variant threaten to keep prices rising sharply this year.
A lot of us are feeling the effects at the grocery store, but there are things you can do to save money there. Here are some of our favorite strategies you’re probably not using yet.
2. Rising Rent and Housing Costs
The rent is too high! Rents jumped up by 10, 20 or even 30% in some cities, while the cost of houses just keeps on rising.
Between inflation, stagnant wages and rising costs, a lot of us are looking for ways to pad our income. A free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play to win real money — up to $83 per win.
You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?
Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.
With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).
To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
3. The Return of Student Loan Payments
If you have federal student loans, you’ve been getting a break on making payments — so far. Millions of those owing money have not paid on their loans in nearly two years, since the pandemic began in March 2020.
As of this writing, the Biden Administration has extended the student loan payment pause to May 1, 2022.
But what about after that? Will you be ready to start making payments again? It would be smart to put away money for when the moratorium on payments is finally lifted.
With an Aspiration account, you can earn up to 20 times the average interest on your savings balance. Not only that, but you can earn up to 5% cash back on your debit card purchases, helping you to save more.
It takes five minutes to sign up. And don’t worry. Your digital account is FDIC-insured and protected by military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
4. The Unpredictable Stock Market
What will the stock market do in 2022? Who knows? If we knew this kind of thing for certain, we’d already be rich.
The stock market did well in 2021 despite COVID-19. For instance, the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all posted double-digit returns. Basically, all that jargon means investors made a lot of money.
We don’t know what 2022 will bring, but we do know that analysts don’t expect the stock market to crash. Which means that if you haven’t started investing yet, you should consider starting.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
5. Higher Car Insurance Premiums
Car insurance rates are expected to go up in 2022, according to a number of industry sources who have been quoted in the media.
Why? It’s because the overall cost of doing business is increasing for practically every company in the U.S., and that includes insurance companies. They’ll be passing on that cost to customers like you in the form of higher premiums.
When it comes to car insurance, you should shop around every six months or so anyway.But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
Mike Brassfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.