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A customer pumps gas into their car at a gas station on May 18, 2022 in Petaluma, California.Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Soaring inflation and record gas prices are wreaking havoc with many people's wallets.

The percentage of Americans feeling the effects of inflation to a high degree has ticked up, according to a recent poll by consumer research platform Attest, with those describing the effects as "very high" rising 5.

6 percentage points in June to 30.5% from a month earlier.

This should not come as a surprise with the average price for all items rising more than 11% in the last two years, according to the moving review company Prices for all varieties of gasoline rose 48% in the past year, while rent prices have gone up 10.75% in the last two years, the company said.

Consumers can't control inflation, but they can make money decisions that help to limit negative repercussions of higher prices. Here are five tips to lessen the sting of inflation now and in the future.

1. Get a handle on your expenses

People don't often keep up-to-date with their expenses when manually entering them on an Excel or Google spreadsheet. That's why Rob Stevens, retirement income specialist at TIAA, recommends using a free smartphone app that syncs to your bank accounts and credit cards. This way you can be cognizant of your spending on a real-time basis and make adjustments as needed, he said. There are multiple free apps to choose from, including Mint and NerdWallet.

2. Cut spending where you can

Even small cuts can make a big difference overall. Try to buy generic products, which tend to be less expensive than name brands, and purchase items on sale, when possible, Stevens said. You might also consider cancelling some streaming services purchased during quarantine, he said. That's something 35% of Americans told CNBC they were thinking about doing in an April survey conducted by Invest in You. And even the wealthy are more likely to make this move now, according to the recent CNBC Millionaire Survey, especially younger millionaires.

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Another money-saving option could be to buy the car you're leasing. This could be especially appealing for someone whose lease is coming due shortly, since the buyout price — determined when the lease was taken — is likely to be significantly less than the cost of a new or used car, he said.

Another expense-saving move could be to ask your current credit card issuer for a lower interest rate. Issuers grant such a request more often than consumers might thing, according to Matt Schulz, LendingTree's chief credit analyst.

3. Tackle variable-rate debt

The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates and is likely to do so again, meaning the cost of variable-rate debt will continue to increase. Paying it down, or paying it off, or consolidating this debt into lower fixed-rate debt is a way to deflect the blow of inflation, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at "It's one less area of the household budget in which you'll see cost increases," he said.

4. Think long-term investmentsVIDEO7:1407:14Personal finance expert Suze Orman's number one investment right nowPower Lunch

In order to beat inflation, your total return has to be greater than the total increase in cost of living. One way to achieve this outcome is to make long-term investments, said John Campbell, east region head of wealth planning for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.

While many stocks have been decimated this year, if you can purchase shares of quality companies at a lower price over time, say by taking a dollar-cost-averaging approach, you could keep pace with, if not exceed, inflation. That's because historically, over time, the stock market's overall performance has outpaced inflation rates, Campbell said.

Also make sure to fully take advantage of any company matching that may be available in your company-offered retirement plan, Campbell said.

5. Invest in career and income potential

Now's a good time to think about what can you do to grow your earnings power, McBride said. Are there skills you can learn, certifications you can obtain, or trainings you can register for that will lead to higher pay down the road? While it may not be an immediate payoff, these steps can eventually lead to higher wages, which is a way to offset the rising costs brought about by inflation, and benefit you for the long-term.

With wages rising, it could also be a good time to ask for a raise, Stevens said. Wages and salaries in the private sector rose 5% in the first quarter of 2022 relative to a year earlier, on track with last year's fourth quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It's also advisable to keep track of growth opportunities within your company. Be sure to update your resume so you can take advantage of opportunities that may arise, he said.

VIDEO3:2603:26Here are tips for growing a booming Amazon businessInvest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

News Source: CNBC

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Change Ad Consent Do not sell my data 10 Quick and Easy Ways You Can Help the Planet Today!

We are currently in a defining moment in history. Climate change is affecting all aspects of life all over the globe. You may be wondering what you can do as an individual to make a difference. The reality is there are many things you can do every day to help reduce your carbon footprint. We all have a responsibility to help the planet, and lucky for you, we’ve put together a 10-step guide.

Here are 10 simple ways you can help the planet today!

1. Bike More

In 2022, transportation (Cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, and railroads) accounted for the largest portion (27 percent) of total U.S. GHG emissions. By choosing to bike places instead of driving just once a day, you can reduce your average carbon emissions from transport by 67 percent! Even if you can stay off the road for a couple of days out of the week, you are still making a massive difference.

2. Plant Trees

Trees are some of the most valuable resources on earth. They help combat some of the worst effects of human-induced climate change by absorbing large amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. Since 2010, the UN FAO estimates that 10 million hectares of forest have been cut down each year. The systematic destruction of trees has taken a toll on our planet. To help, you can plant trees in your yard or property, volunteer with local organizations, and encourage others to do the same.

Being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content.Click here to Support Us 3. Reduce Waste

Every year a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste is dumped on the planet. Shockingly, this is enough waste to travel around the world 24 times! A lot of waste, especially plastic, never truly goes away. To reduce waste in your life, consider making the switch to sustainable alternatives. By ditching the plastic, avoiding single-use packaging, repurposing old items, composting food scraps, and avoiding fast fashion, you can help be a part of the change!

4. Eat Veggies

Moving to a plant-based diet is perhaps the most powerful personal weapon in our fight against climate change while also reducing animal suffering and risks to public health and improving individual health. Research has shown that by simply removing animal products from our diet, we can reduce our individual carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent. It could also cut our water footprint by about half. Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.

Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting 

5. Save Energy

As conscious consumers, transitioning into greener ways of living and reducing your energy consumption is a must. Luckily, there are many ways you can help accomplish this at home. Washing full laundry loads, using cold water, air-drying clothes, buying second-hand, and supporting eco-friendly brands are just a few of the ways you can reduce your energy consumption.

6. Vote Smart

As consumers, you can make your voice heard. From the food you eat to the clothes you buy, you are casting your vote all day long, whether you realize it to not. Part of being a conscious consumer entails making informed decisions and being proud of the choices you are making. One of the greatest actions you can take to make your voice heard is by electing representatives who are committed to the green initiative and accelerating real action-based initiatives against climate change to make lasting changes. By choosing to only support climate action-oriented politicians, you are reinforcing those making the right choices for people and the planet and applying pressure on those who stay quiet. You can learn more here about how to support political candidates who are leading the environmental movement.

7. Buy Eco

In 2022, simply knowing about the environmental crisis is not enough. Luckily, innovative brands are promoting a sustainable future. Tiny Rescue is a mission-based sustainable fashion line raising awareness surrounding the devastating effects of fast fashion and paving the way with recycled zero-waste products designed to be returned, reprocessed, respun, and remade repeatedly. Their clothes can be sent back and remade into brand new products, thus, helping maintain a waste-free planet!

8. Go Plastic-Free

In the United States, it is estimated that only 5-6 percent of plastic waste gets recycled. The plastic materials that don’t end up recycled typically get sent to landfills, where they may take as many as 1,000 years to decompose. For something that is supposed to be quick and convenient, there is nothing quick or convenient about the complete lifecycle of a plastic object. To help make a difference, make the switch and go plastic-free!

9. Reuse Stuff

For those of us looking to care for the planet, we need to get back to reuse. And, when items can’t be reused, we need to find ways to repurpose them. As an added benefit,  you’ll begin to realize that simply throwing items away and buying new items isn’t sustainable, and you’ll start to be inclined to buy something of higher quality, something that will last, and something we need.

10. Make Some Noise

Source: Tiny Rescue Climate Collection 

We need to be the voice for our planet, so let’s make some noise with this Make some Noise sweatshirt. All orders are fulfilled in real time using renewable energy across the entire supply chain, and the whole process is completely circular, meaning all products are made to be sent back and turned into something new! This amazing sweatshirt is made from recycled materials and is completely plastic-free as well! Available in men’s and women’s sizes in both tees and sweatshirts!

Being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content.Click here to Support Us Related Content:
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More Ways to Help the Planet:
  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
  • Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
  • Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products

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