Money-saving expert, Andrea Woroch says that 2022 could be a challenging year for our wallets with several monthly bills going up, but she has some easy tips on how to save.

1. Food: Groceries + Take Out.

Food prices have been on the rise but the latest BLS report indicates that some items are seeing the biggest cost increases including steak which has risen 25 percent. Saving on groceries is rather simple — plan out weekly meals and shop with a list to keep what you buy to just what you need and eliminate food waste.  In addition to grocery prices rising, food away from home is getting more expensive–fast food rose by 10% since before the pandemic according to a recent study.

Purchase restaurant gift cards in bulk from Costco (around 20% off) to save on dinners out and look for coupons to cut delivery fees like $20 off your first order of $35 at Instacart, 15% off orders at Kroger grocery stores and $25 off Uber Eats via CouponFollow.com. You can even get cash back for online grocery purchases which can take the sting out of rising prices!!

2. Energy.

U.S. Energy Information Administration says consumers can expect costs to jump as much as 54% compared to last winter. To save, use a programmable thermostat and adjust temps when you leave your home. Look around your home for potential drafts and plug duct leaks to ensure your system is running efficiently.

3. Car Insurance.

We know car prices are up, but did you know insurance is costing you more? As drivers return to the roads, reckless driving behaviors, car-related thefts, and claims filed due to extreme weather events have contributed to the 3% increase in national car insurance rates, according to the 2022 State of Auto Insurance Report. This may not be huge, but compared to 5 years ago, it’s a big jump!

If you haven’t checked the price of your policy or compared rates in a few years, you are likely leaving money on the table. Gather quotes quickly using TheZebra.com to see if you can find cheaper coverage. Bundling homeowner’s + auto insurance and increasing your deductible are other ways to reduce your monthly premium.

4. Loans.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts rates will rise this year with the Fed expected to hike rates at least 2 times later in the year which will make borrowing money to buy a home, car or personal/business reasons more expensive.  There are ways to lower the cost of interest though. The more you put down on a purchase, the less you have to borrow and the less you will pay in interest with these rising rates. Always shop around for interest rates can vary from lender to lender and work on improving your credit score which will determine how much you pay to borrow money in the first place.

5. Medical Care.

According to the 2021 Milliman Medical Index, health costs are up 8.4% from 2020.  The best way to save on healthcare costs is to sign up for tax advantage accounts such as a HSA or FSA — contributions to these accounts grow tax free and can be used for a number of approved expenses that go beyond just co-pays and prescriptions. If you’re in need of a procedure, ask your provider if there’s an outpatient surgery center or radiology center to help you save. They can even compare prices for you at different facilities to help you find a cheaper option.