Dealing With Inflation

It’s not going away soon. We all need to be careful about how we spend our food and beverage dollars and cents. Here are a few ideas for dealing with inflation.

  1. Indulge selectively. If you enjoy a Starbucks caramel macchiato, have one. Just not every day. Maybe every other day. If you want to dine out at a favorite restaurant, do it. Just maybe a bit less often. Instead of every week, maybe twice a month.
  2. Drink and eat less. Do you really need that second or third margarita or glass of wine or pint of beer? Do you really need EVERYTHING on that burger? Upgrade those French fries to onion rings or sweet potato fries? Nah.
  3. Try something different. Instead of that $30 seafood entrée (which may soon be a $32 entrée), go for the $24 pasta dish. Instead of that $65 bottle of wine, check out that $40 bottle that you may be curious about.
  4. Eat more fruit and veggies, less meat. Not that all veggies are cheap and not all meat is expensive, but careful choosing in the grocery store and in restaurants can stretch your budget and most likely provide you with a healthier diet.
  5. If you’re in a group, pay your fair share of the bill but only your fair share. Don’t always just split it down the middle. If you don’t drink and you’re with someone who has a couple or three cocktails, an even split just ain’t fair. Yes, this is nickels-and-dimes pettiness but nickels and dimes add up.
  6. Don’t give your restaurant server or the checkout clerk at the grocer a hard time about the prices. They are not the ones setting the prices. They are dealing with inflation challenges in their own lives.
  7. Similarly, don’t be chintzy with your tips. If your restaurant meal for two cost $80 in 2021, your 20% tip amount would be $16, right? If that meal costs $100 today, your tip amount goes up too, to $20. 
  8. Take note of the sales taxes being charged. If it’s 9% in your neck of the woods but 13.25% in other areas, that can add up over time. That money, remember, does not go to the restaurant owner or the grocer but to governments or taxing districts.
  9. Keep your eyes out for specials. Half price appetizers during happy hours. All you can eat specials on certain days of the week.
  10. Learn to love leftovers. Last night’s cold pizza, pasta, etc makes a pretty good lunch today. Just don’t warm up fish in the workplace microwave.
  11. Take note of shrinkflation. That’s where the price stays the same but the portion size shrinks. In some cases, it may be a deal breaker. In others, something you can live with.
  12. Eat at Taco Bell (or similar fast food joint) every now and then. You can get a filling lunch or late night snack cheap at many such places.