We did not get good news from the Consumer Price Index in May. Inflation went up 8.6% from last year, the highest rate in over 40 years. Washington has promised to do something about inflation, but we do not know when we will see positive results. In the meantime, consumers must deal with the rising cost of nearly everything.
It means that pay raises and promotions, which ordinarily provide more spending income, can barely cover the rising costs. That causes considerable stress and aggravation. Unfortunately, we do not have any magic spell or potion to cure inflation, but we will give you a few tips on how to do some due diligence on your budget.
- Get personal finance software. Quicken comes to mind immediately, and there are other vendors to help you better understand where your money is going. Looking at a monthly or quarterly report of your spending will help you make worthwhile adjustments instead of simply slashing expenses.
- Take a close look at your phone plan. You may have accepted a plan that gives you more than you need. The extra bells and whistles look nice, but unless you use them, you are spending the money you need elsewhere. Only have the phone plan that you can use.
- Do an energy audit. Air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter will cut deeply into your monthly income. Cleaning and servicing your HVAC system can cut costs during peak season. Maintaining properly inflated automobile tires saves gas mileage. Energy-efficient appliances such as dishwashers or refrigerators are great money-savers, and Energy Star products are the best for efficiency.
- Take a close look at your automobile insurance. You can save money on premiums by raising your deductible. Moreover, switching from a monthly to a quarterly or biannual payment plan will save on administrative costs,
- Get help from a financial counselor. Those professionals are experts at dealing with common money issues. Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services has a financial wellness benefit that organizations may use to help their employees.
Getting the Best Counseling
There is a certified counselor in every community where there is a Countrywide financial wellness client. That person can sit down with a plan member and discuss the personal budget. There are some suggestions that the counselor has that the plan member may know nothing about. Those little tips can save a lot of dollars, making sense for any budget-conscious person. Ideas on how to reallocate money, trim some expenses, and save for the future are some of the benefits that one of our financial wellness counselors provides. Those professionals, by the way, are also recruited for their sensitivity and empathy. Everyone feels valued when they deal with a Countrywide financial wellness counselor.
The Client Is There
We have several services that can benefit employees. We ask our clients to help develop a great plan. We explain all our options to the decision-makers of a prospective client. Those people will, in turn, decide which benefit options will be part of their plan. We answer questions but will not try to emphasize one financial wellness benefit over another. The choices that are made will be part of the final plan document. Countrywide gives excellent member services and streamlined administration.
No one knows when the inflation situation will improve. People need to look at their budgets in the meantime and make allocation decisions. Our financial wellness counselors will select the best strategies for managing the personal budget. We give the extra due diligence that employees need in these uncertain times. As a result, we can lower the stress and concern that diligent people must deal with now.
If you have any questions about our benefits, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We are here to help you and your staff get through difficult financial times and prepare for the best times.