5 apps I use to save money while inflation rages
- I used to be able to fill my gas tank for $40. Now it costs $90.
- I’m Worried About Inflation, But These 5 Apps Are Helping Me Control My Spending.
- I set a 10-minute time limit for food delivery apps like Postmates to reduce on-the-go expenses.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an inflation rate of 9.1% from June 2021 to June 2022, the fastest rate of increase since 1981.
Like any other brunch-loving millennial, I freak out about inflation. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 2020, I could fill my gas tank with $40 – now it’s $90. My food scarcity fears are triggered when I see the rising cost of groceries at the store.
Even though I feel helpless in the face of the rising cost of living in Los Angeles, these five apps are helping me control my spending.
GasBuddy compares gas prices in your area so you can fill up at the cheapest gas station. GasBuddy users update gas prices on the app, and you can even see when the price was last updated. At some stations, gas is $7 a gallon. Filling up at the cheapest gas stations in my area gives me a little slice of peace.
Having lived in New York for five years, there are two things I absolutely hate in LA: looking for a parking spot and paying for a parking spot. Some parking spots in this city cost $20 per hour, which is $4 more than the minimum wage of $15.96 per hour in this city.
SpotHero lets me scour the area for the cheapest parking spots so I don’t waste gas looking for parking.
I owe $96,000 in student loans and my monthly private student loan payments are $637. When federal student loan payments come back in September, I will owe an additional $302 per month. My biggest worry about inflation is how I will be able to pay my student loan repayments in September.
Chipper is a free app that deposits your loose change directly into your student loan account. Unlike online platforms from Navient and NelNet, Chipper makes it easy to track your debt repayment journey. Thanks to Chipper, I feel like I understand my student loans for the first time since I started taking them in 2010.
Obviously my spare change isn’t going to make all my student loan debt go away, but having all the information I need about my student loans and repayment options at my fingertips in one app gives me the peace of mind.
When my friends reimburse me for coffee, lunch, or dinner, I keep the money in my Venmo account and treat it like another savings account or sinking fund specifically designed for hanging out with my friends. It’s a habit I started earlier in the pandemic when I was barely able to make ends meet.
It helps me save money by not having to dip into my checking account every time I want to spend money with friends. It’s also easier to decide if I actually have the money to go out. Instead of doing the mental math and checking what automatic payments are still going to come out of my checking account, I just need to look at my Venmo balance to see if I can afford to get out.
5. Screen time limits for food delivery apps
On iPhones, there’s a setting that lets you limit your time on certain apps, like social media. You’ll find the feature under Settings > Screen Time > App Limits. I’ve set time limits for food delivery apps like GrubHub, Postmates, and DoorDash.
I noticed that most of my time ordering food was spent indecisively scrolling through takeout options. Usually after spending 30-45 minutes trying to decide what to eat I’m not happy with what I’m getting because I skimped and chose a cheaper restaurant, or a fancier option didn’t provide a satisfying portion.
Instead of fighting over my takeout choices, I decided to nip the whole process in the bud and set a 10-minute time limit for food delivery apps. That way when I order food it’s because I’m craving something specific – not because I’m bored or too lazy to cook.
I used to get takeout once or twice a week, but now I only order takeout once or twice a month because my timer method is so effective. Instead of wasting another 45 minutes finding the best deal among apps, I’d rather spend that time cooking a meal with what I already have at home.