HOUSTON - Inflation rose to 7.9% in February, a new 40-year high. Gas prices reached their highest recorded national average Thursday at $4.31 a gallon. And the Fed is expected to raise interest rates this month.
That means now is the time to make a few smart money moves to help you fight inflation.
If you're planning to travel this Spring or Summer, travel experts recommend booking sooner than later, because rising fuel prices could drive up airfares.
"Start looking at prices now and plan to book before mid-May. That’s when prices will be the lowest, especially for those big summer vacation trips," said Hayley Berg with Hopper.
To save on travel during inflation, Berg suggests flying on less popular days, such as Thursday instead of Friday, and checking nearby regional airports, such as Providence rather than flying into a hub like Boston.
"Start tracking prices now, so if you see a great deal today, definitely book it today. Or use a price tracking tool like Hopper, so you’ll get notified if prices start to rise sooner than you’re ready to book," said Berg.
Use frequent flier miles, credit card points, or travel vouchers you may have received during the pandemic.
Another money move to make now is to pay down credit card debt, as most cards are variable rate interest, which could start rising in March.
"The Fed raises the rate. The banks raise their rate, and we pay the price," said Paul Oster with credit repair firm Better Qualified.
Oster recommends paying down credit card debit and Buy Now Pay Later bills to free up cash for other expenses.
Or transfer credit card balances to 0% interest card offers before they could go away. But he warns to watch the date the 0% offer ends.
"Most of them are 18 to 24-month terms. If you don’t pay them off in full, you’re going to get hit with all the deferred interest rate plus the transfer fee at that point," explained Oster.
And he suggests cutting down on subscriptions.
"Netflix, Spotify, radio, all of these $14.99 fees add up. A family of four to five people, you could be at a $100 a month easy," said Oster.