Gas is Just Too D@*N High!
Dealing With Inflation as Prices Continue To Rise

The pain at the pump is real. For the first time in our lives, we are faced with $5 per gallon of gas, something we never thought we’d see. It would be different if gas was the only financial thorn we were dealing with these days, but unfortunately, inflation abounds in nearly every area of life. What’s worse, prices continue to rise with no relief in sight. Funds are already tight, and raises aren’t keeping pace with the rise in prices, so what’s a person to do?

In order to survive this season of inflation, we must get a handle on our spending like never before. This means biting the bullet and sacrificing some of the freedoms and luxuries to which many of us have grown accustomed. As hard as this reality is to swallow, unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. However, if we play our cards right, we can continue to live well as we ride out this (hopefully temporary) wave of high prices for gas, food, travel and nearly everything else we need.

Here are some tips to help you survive as prices continue to rise.

Hit “Unsubscribe.”
Few things are more tempting than one of your favorite stores shooting you an email advertising big discounts on your favorite things. Even the most disciplined person can fall prey to an “Everything 70% off” sale, blowing the budget for a chance to bag some of the things they’ve been wanting but unable to justify buying. Don’t be tricked into thinking you can say to yourself, “Let me just open this email and see what they’re talking about over here,” without buying anything. If it’s a store you love and it’s on sale, chances are, you’ll see something you can’t live without and add it to your cart.

To avoid this unnecessary impulse spending, simply hit “unsubscribe” on all of your favorite stores that try to sell to you via email.
Don’t worry: after this season of scrutinized spending ends, you can easily add them back to your inbox!

And by the way, stay out of the physical stores, too, unless absolutely necessary.

Pay with cash and leave the debit card at home.
Are you one of those shoppers who goes into the store for paper towels and comes out with $50 worth of things you “realized you needed once you got in the store?” These extra dollars add up with every trip to the store, resulting in hundreds of dollars in unplanned spending each month. Do yourself a favor and go old school: pay with cash.

After you pay your bills online, take out a set amount of cash to spend for food, groceries, etc. Then, each time you go into a store or restaurant, take only the amount of cash you have planned to spend, and leave the debit and credit cards at home. You’ll be surprised at how much less impulse spending you’ll do when you don’t have access to your debit or credit card.

Give every dollar a destination.
One of the greatest challenges that many people face is that they get to the end of the month and see an empty bank account. Then, the first question they ask is “Where did all of my money go?” This should never be a question that any of us asks, because it is a clear indication that a lot of unplanned spending occurred. To get a tighter rein in your finances, you need to ensure that every dollar has a destination.

If you plan to go on one date a week, decide where you will go and how much it will cost, and set it aside. If you determine that you will eat out for lunch three times a week, set a clear conservative budget per day, and set this amount aside. If hitting up the local coffee spot is your thing, decide how many times you can afford coffee for the week, and set aside the funds. Every dollar in your budget, even funds for discretionary spending, should have a destination.

Plan, budget, and record every penny you spend.

It goes without saying that you need to plan, budget and record how you spend your money. Just as it is true in every other area of life, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before your paycheck even hits your account, plan out how you will spend it – and don’t do it in your head! Write it down or type it out. Pledge to yourself not to touch a penny of your funds until you’ve exercised enough discipline to put a clear budget on paper. Then, as soon as you spend some money, go back and record where you spent each penny.

Put a pause on some of your privilege.
Once you’ve made your budget and planned out where your dollars will go, if there’s still a shortfall, it might be time to put a pause on some of your “privilege spending.” This might mean canceling the maid service and cleaning the house yourself. Skip a couple of barber or salon appointments and do your own hair. Mow your own lawn and clean your own pool for a couple of months. Grab a ride to work once a week with a coworker who lives nearby to save on gas, or take public transportation. Make some of your own meals at home to reduce the number of times you eat out each week.

These might seem like small, incidental amounts that you’re saving, but at the end of the month, they can really add up and help you to better make ends meet.

As prices continue to soar, these and other money-conserving methods will help you to stretch your dollars and make things work. You might even manage to save some dollars here and there, which you should be sure to save or invest, not spend. After all, just as sure as this costly season came upon us, another rainy day is coming. When it does, if you’re counting your pennies the right way, budgeting and saving, you’ll be ready.

Budgeting, saving and investing are only a few of the smart money mentality topics covered on The Black Money Tree podcast. The Black Money Tree is a personal finance philosophy delivered through a curriculum that empowers Black people with the education, support and resources they need to understand and build wealth and to achieve both individual and collective economic sufficiency for generations to come. The Black Money Tree is produced by Jerome Love in partnership with the Texas Black Expo. To listen, visit