Surviving Summer's Cost of Living

In light of the Department of Labor's data on the rise in cost of living, here are our tips for how Hudson Valley residents can save a few bucks.


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PHOTO: FLICKR/CHAZZVID

In a new report from the Department of Labor (DOL), consumer prices saw an increase last month of 0.4 percent from March's numbers, the highest such month-to-month spike in more than three years. And with summer right around the comer, it's an unfortunate time for prices at the grocery store and gas pump to rise, especially when you’re trying to do some last-minute saving up for big summer getaways and barbecues. 

According to the DOL, and coming as little surprise, gas prices were largely to blame. The national average has gone up 50 cents in the past 12 weeks after reaching record lows across the country this past winter, when parts of the Hudson Valley saw gas prices dip below two dollars a gallon. But don’t let that trend scare you into re-planning the family road trip just yet. On the whole, gas prices are still pretty low, with the current the national average sitting at $2.26 per gallon, compared to the $4-per-gallon gouging some areas endured a few years back.

But If you’re still worried, there's plenty you can do to avoid feeling the heat of day-to-day expenses this coming season, and here are a few common-sense suggestions to get you started, with links to some helpful elaboration from wallet-slimming experts. 

Have a Garage Sale
If you’re looking for a good way to make some quick cash or clear out some of that cluttered space, a weekend minimizing could provide your budget with the boost it needs.

Hold Off On That AC
Even though it is getting warmer outside, resist resorting to your air conditioner for as long as possible. Besides, now’s the perfect time of year to crack a window and let the cool breeze in.

Change Your Routine
Do you stop for coffee every morning or grab a bagel from the store on your way to work in the morning? If you do, it can add up fast. Eliminating unnecessary costs is the best way to balance your budget. Try making your breakfast at home for a few days, and re-appropriate that a.m. deli stop into a well-earned, end-of-week treat. 

Hit the Lights
The days are getting longer, so open up those shades and let the sunlight in. Turn off any unused lights in the house and take advantage of summer’s longer days. AC notwithstanding, this the best time of year to otherwise pare down that electric bill.

Plan your week: Setting short-term budget goals are a great way to avoid overspending and eliminate unnecessary daily costs. Try planning out trips to the grocery store and writing out your “needs” list ahead of time. This is a great way to avoid any unnecessary return visits and cut back on last-minute impulse buys. 

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