With inflation at its highest level in four decades, you can calculate how you and your family are affected. What you eat, how much you travel and other spending habits are among the factors that can make it vary widely. To figure out how inflation is affecting you, here’s how to calculate your personal inflation rate.
- Identify what you’ve spent on food, housing, gas, entertainment, apparel, education, and other items in April 2022, using credit card bills, receipts, and bank statements.
- Not sure what to include? Check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of expenditures that make up the Consumer Price Index. Eight major groups are included: food and beverage, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education and communication, and other goods and services.
- Total your spending for April 2022.
- Look back to this same month a year ago (April 2021) and total your spending for that month.
- Subtract your total spending for April 2021 from April 2022.
- Divide that difference by your monthly expenses for April 2021.
- The result is your personal inflation rate.
How does your personal inflation rate compare to the national average?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the inflation rate using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and publishes this data each month. CPI for “all urban consumers” increased 8.3% for the last 12 months ending in April. More specifically, the CPI increased 0.3% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 1.2% in March. Increases in the indexes for shelter, food, airline fares, and new vehicles were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase.
Depending on how you spend your money, your personal inflation rate may be better or worse than the current CPI number. Where you live can also play a factor in how inflation affects you. For example, real estate prices make it extremely expensive to purchase a home in some areas.
Tips for minimizing the impact of inflation
If inflation is hitting you hard, there are some things you can do to minimize the impact. Here are a few recommendations from Benchmark Federal Credit Union at BenchmarkFCU.org.
- Consolidate high-interest credit card debt with a low-rate balance transfer credit card. Benchmark Federal Credit Union is currently offering our VISA Platinum Credit Card, which features 0% APR* on purchases and balance transfers for up to 12 months. As an added benefit, borrowers will benefit from no Annual Card or Balance Transfer fees.
- Re-evaluate your budget to cut unnecessary expenses, as best you can.
- Postpone big-ticket purchases. Prices will eventually come down, so if your wallet is hurting right now, postponing a big purchase may help. If you do need to make a purchase and are strapped for cash, you may want to move quickly before interest rates rise any further. A low rate Personal Loan or fixed-rate Home Equity Loan from Benchmark FCU can provide you with a fixed monthly payment that can help you budget.
- Cut grocery costs with coupon apps, buy bulk on sale items and purchase generic brands.
- If it’s a good fit for you and your family, consider a side job to bring your income more in line with your expenses.
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate is subject to change and based on an individual’s credit history. 0% Intro Rate is valid for purchases & balances transferred from other institutions within 365 days from card opening. The 0% rate will be in effect for up to 12 months from card opening & after the 12 months, the rate on all unpaid balances will convert to the rate member qualified for at card opening; as low as 8.9% APR. 0% promotional rate is only valid for new VISA Platinum Cards & subject to expire without prior notice.
Rebecca Worthington is the Vice President of Community Relations at Benchmark Federal Credit Union. The only federal credit union to exclusively serve Chester County, Benchmark FCU has been serving the community for more than 80 years and is known for providing extraordinary service. To learn more about the products and services available at Benchmark FCU, visit our website at BenchmarkFCU.org. Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Chester County is eligible to join Benchmark Federal Credit Union.