1. The Sting of Inflation
Prices in 2021 rose at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years, and inflation looks like it’s going to be Americans’ biggest economic challenge in 2022. Consumer demand, supply chain problems and the spread of the Omicron variant threaten to keep prices rising sharply this year.
A lot of us are feeling the effects at the grocery store, but there are things you can do to save money there. A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards.
Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.
2. Rising Rent and Housing Costs
The rent is too high! Rents jumped up by 10, 20 or even 30% in some cities, while the cost of houses just keeps on rising.
Are you thinking about buying? Then there’s something you need to start thinking about right now: Your credit score. We know that sounds boring, but it’s actually super important, if you’re going to be signing up for a mortgage sometime in the future.
The higher your score is, the better deal you’ll likely get on your loan. So a good credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
If you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or if you just want to bump it up some more — check out what actually matters with your credit score.
3. The Return of Student Loan Payments
If you have federal student loans, you’ve been getting a break on making payments — so far. Millions of those owing money have not paid on their loans in nearly two years, since the pandemic began in March 2020.
As of this writing, the Biden Administration has extended the student loan payment pause to May 1, 2022.
But what about after that? Will you be ready to start making payments again? It would be smart to put away money for when the moratorium on payments is finally lifted.
With an Aspiration account, you can earn up to 20 times the average interest on your savings balance. Not only that, but you can earn up to 5% cash back on your debit card purchases, helping you to save more.
It takes five minutes to sign up. And don’t worry. Your digital account is FDIC-insured and protected by military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
4. The Unpredictable Stock Market
What will the stock market do in 2022? Who knows? If we knew this kind of thing for certain, we’d already be rich.
The stock market did well in 2021 despite COVID-19. For instance, the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all posted double-digit returns. Basically, all that jargon means investors made a lot of money.
We don’t know what 2022 will bring, but we do know that analysts don’t expect the stock market to crash. Which means that if you haven’t started investing yet, you should consider starting.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
5. Higher Car Insurance Premiums
Car insurance rates are expected to go up in 2022, according to a number of industry sources who have been quoted in the media.
Why? It’s because the overall cost of doing business is increasing for practically every company in the U.S., and that includes insurance companies. They’ll be passing on that cost to customers like you in the form of higher premiums.
When it comes to car insurance, you should shop around every six months or so anyway. A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $540 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.