What Causes Inflation? | How to Prepare for Inflation
Inflation refers to the increase in the prices of goods and services that corresponds with a decrease in the value of money. Since it impacts how much everything costs, it’s important to understand what causes inflation and what you can do to prepare for it. Let’s dive deeper into what inflation is, how it’s measured, what causes it, and how you can combat inflation.
What is inflation?
Put simply, inflation is the rate at which the cost of goods and services rise. Due to inflation, your hard-earned money may buy you less groceries, gas, medical services, or other expenses than it did in the past.
Since inflation has benefits and drawbacks, it’s important to understand its potential effects. By doing so, you can maximize its positives while reducing the effect of its negatives.
How is inflation measured?
The consumer price index or CPI by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is used to measure inflation. Through the CPI, the bureau monitors the average change in prices paid for various items across eight groups: food, housing, apparel, medical care, recreation, transportation, education and communication, and other goods and services.
Causes of inflation
There are several major causes of inflation, including:
Cost-push inflation is when the costs to produce goods and services increase and lead to higher prices. This typically occurs when raw materials and labor become more expensive.
Demand-pull inflation happens when the demand for goods and services exceeds what can be produced at the time, causing prices to go up.
Built-in inflation refers to the idea that workers expect their wages to increase when prices of goods and services rise to maintain their standard of living.
What are the effects of inflation?
The most apparent effect of inflation is that it increases the cost of living. When the prices of goods and services go up, you must spend more money on your overall expenses. If you work, inflation may drive up your wages. And if you’re in debt, the dollars you use to pay it off will be worth less than when you originally borrowed money.
Tips to prepare for and combat inflation
While inflation is unavoidable, there are steps you can take to reduce its impact on your financial situation:
Create a budget
A budget is a spending plan that considers your income and expenses. It can help you ensure you have enough money for your needs and wants. The most common types of budgets you might want to consider include the pay-yourself-first budget, zero-based budget, and 50/30/20 budget.
Eliminate unnecessary expenses
There’s a good chance you may be spending some money on goods and services that you don't really need or want. These may include a gym membership you never use, daily trips to the coffee shop, and cable television. Get rid of some unnecessary expenses to free up your budget.
Reduce or pay off debts
Debt can make it difficult for you to meet short and long-term financial goals. The faster you lower or repay your debts, the sooner you’ll be able to save for a house, buy a new car, build an emergency fund, or contribute to your retirement accounts.
Take on debt when rates are lower
The interest rates you lock in may determine the overall cost of your loans and credit cards. Ideally, you’d only take on debt when rates are lower. This way you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Save and invest money
There are many ways to save money. If you need to put more gas in your car, for example, take advantage of gas station rewards. To lower your grocery costs, buy in bulk or turn to local farmers. You can also cook most of your meals instead of dining out. In addition to saving your money, invest it in accounts like 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, and 529s so you can retire, pay for college, and achieve other long-term goals.
Pros and cons of inflation
The greatest benefits of inflation are higher employment rates, steady paychecks, and higher wages. Inflation can also contribute to continued economic growth and a cost of living adjustment if you have Social Security benefits.
When it comes to drawbacks, the most noteworthy one is that you’ll pay more for goods and services. You may also see a lower return on your investments, or may face unemployment if your employer lays you off due to increasing overhead costs.
What to do if you need money due to inflation
Advance America offers quick and easy loans that can help you out if you’re negatively affected by inflation and need extra cash. These include payday loans, installment loans to title loans and lines of credit.
You can fill out an application online or in store in just a few minutes. Upon approval, you may receive the funds you need as quickly as the same day you apply. Visit Advance America today to learn more about the loans we offer.