Make Your Money Go Further This Summer

Inflation – that silent, stealthy robber of wealth – is still a problem for the U.S. economy and it’s likely a problem for many Nassau County residents as well. According to the Consumer Price Index maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for a broad range of goods increased 0.3 percent in April 2024, after rising 0.4 percent in March. That puts inflation at an annual rate of 3.4 percent – well above the “acceptable” range of 1 to 2 percent.

Inflation reduces the purchasing power of every dollar you have. While it’s tempting to think that there’s nothing that you can do to stop it, we can all take steps to make our money go further. (And naturally, grieving your property taxes with Maidenbaum is one of the best ways to take a bite out of inflation).

This article will explore some helpful and proven strategies to maximize the power of the dollars in your wallet.

Shop Smart

Buying in bulk is one of the easiest ways to maximize the power of your purchasing power, and there are plenty of membership-only retail warehouse clubs in Nassau County that will let you do this. Costco has locations in Oceanside, Lawrence, and Westbury, and you can find Sam’s Clubs in Garden City, Valley Stream, and Freeport. These bulk-buying stores offer much more than groceries, including pharmacies, optical centers, automotive supplies, and food courts offering great deals to members. While you must pay a yearly membership fee to these warehouse clubs (Costco’s fee ranges from $60 to $120, Sam’s Club ranges from $45 to $100), you’ll quickly recover these costs after a couple of trips.

Cook at Home

While it’s always a good thing to support one’s local community restaurants, there’s no question that you can save a significant amount of money by cooking at home. For example, let’s say you spend $30 per person per meal when dining out (including tax and tip) and you eat out twice a week. That’s $60 per week or $240 per month. If you estimate that the ingredients for a typical homemade meal cost $5 per serving, and you cook at home five times a week, that’s $25 per week or $100 per month. So, by cooking at home instead of dining out, you could potentially save $140 per month ($240 – $100) – equivalent to $1,680 per year. A good money-saving tactic is to batch cook meals on weekends and freeze portions for easy weekday dinners. Using a slow cooker or pressure cooker will help you prepare cost-effective meals with less expensive cuts of meat.

Grow Your Own Food

Many of us already enjoy gardening, so why not plant something that you can eat later? Even if you only have a few square yards of land to work on, you can use methods like container gardening, raised beds, or becoming part of a community garden. Utilizing vertical space and choosing crops suited to Nassau County’s climate and season will increase your food yield. Beginners can use starter plants for a head start on healthy, productive gardens. By starting small and gradually expanding, Nassau County residents can enjoy fresh, organic, homegrown produce right from their backyard.

Pare Down Those Online Subscriptions

With video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium, and Apple TV vying for our subscription dollars, it’s hard to resist the temptation to subscribe to more than just one service, which means that monthly costs will quickly add up. According to Deloitte, the average American will spend $61 a month on streaming video services in 2024  – a $5 increase over last year. Fortunately, many of these services offer free trial periods, typically ranging from 5 to 30 days, which you can use to see specific sports events or movies you can’t resist viewing. Just make sure to disable the service before the next billing cycle kicks in!

Take Advantage of Discounts for Seniors

Are you a senior citizen? If so, you’re in luck! In Nassau County, senior citizens can take advantage of various discounts and special offers. These include transportation discounts on buses, trains, and ferries, as well as retail discounts at grocery stores, clothing outlets, and home goods stores. Many restaurants offer discounted meals for seniors, while entertainment venues like museums and theaters often provide reduced admission prices. Additionally, seniors may access discounts on prescription medications, medical supplies, and wellness services, along with reduced utility rates. Community programs and senior centers offer further opportunities for discounted or free recreational activities and social events. It’s advisable for seniors to inquire directly with businesses and organizations about available discounts, and membership in senior advocacy groups like AARP may unlock additional benefits.

We hope these tips come in handy for your upcoming summer; and remember, Maidenbaum is always here to help you save your hard earned dollars!