How to spend less when everything costs more

Consumer Prices
Gasoline prices are displayed at a station in Philadelphia on Nov. 17, 2021. Overall prices for U.S. consumers went up 7 percent in 2021 as surging costs for food, energy, housing and other items left Americans enduring their highest annual inflation rate since 1982.
Matt Rourke | AP 2021

If you’ve recently filled a gas tank, shopped for ground beef or paid your electric bill, you’ve noticed that prices have gone up. Inflation jumped 7 percent last year — the biggest increase in almost four decades. 

Many of the price increases are directly related to COVID-19 supply chain bottlenecks. Some economists predict inflation will peak in a few months. But that still leaves many people on lower and fixed incomes trying to manage the price hikes. 

There are also some signs that people are spending more money than they have. Credit card debt has surged back up after dropping earlier in the pandemic. And more people are using “buy now pay later” options that allow them to pay for goods in monthly installments. 

Host Angela Davis talks with two financial educators about setting financial goals and finding ways to save at a time when almost everything costs more. 

Plus, MPR News senior economic contributor Chris Farrell explains how inflation works and how today’s price increases compare to the 1970s.

Guests:

  • Tonia Brinston is a certified financial educator with University of Minnesota Extension, based in north Minneapolis

  • Kim Miller is a certified financial counselor with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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